Mobile compatibility has become a key innovation driver for developers. Software developers must now enable their software to be accessible on a variety of platforms.
In May 2015 Google recorded more searches taking place on a mobile device than on desktop computers in 10 countries. Consumers are increasingly demanding their software, such as Google, be mobile friendly.
Accordingly, Google has modified its search algorithms to increase the weight on search results towards those that are more ‘mobile friendly’.
Consumers are demanding their experience move with them to any device they use. This increases the pressure for all software services to be compatible across platforms. To stay relevant in the forever updating digital world,
the Software industry is responding to consumers and mitigating losses of market share to their competitors who have adopted the more modern approach to their digital services.
These drivers are leading developers down the path of responsive or adaptive design solutions for websites.Both design methods change the appearance of the site based on the browser environment they are being
viewed on. Responsive design is said to be more flexible as it can adjust to any size browser. Adaptive design has
pre-set browsers sizes it can conform to, but not custom sizes.
The ATO website is already accessible across different device platforms, including both iOS and Android, with MyGov following suit. In order to guarantee mobile and tablet access for all ATO staff utilising Bring Your Own
Device (BYOD) and virtual desktop platform (VDP) policies, cross-platform integration of most, if not all, future software initiatives would be advisable. This may then have the added benefit of an improved client experience and a more user friendly interaction resulting in increased customer confidence.
Single page apps are loaded as a single HTML page in the browser and upon interaction with the app’s relevant parts of the page are dynamically updated. Facebook is a good example that most people can relate to, that uses single page app design. Web design has moved towards these more flexible web-page apps and is championed by the lack of page reloads. Single page apps eliminate the need for page reloads when navigating through the app or performing app’s tasks.
The ATO already utilises responsive/adaptive designs in its website and should continue to consider incorporating this, if appropriate, into any future public facing websites. The ATO has already started
transitioning to a cross platform internal software infrastructure to support the BYOD policy, and responsive/adaptive design could be considered for tablet or mobile access to enterprise software, again where appropriate.
DevOps and Agile development
DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service
lifecycle, from design through the development process to productions support. This practice has been
increasingly used internationally.
DevOps has been developed as a reaction against the silos and inflexibility that existed in the relationship
between consumer and product/service provider. Agile product development has been growing in the Software
industry in recent years. Agile has been a key driver behind the shift towards DevOps. It helps teams to respond
to unpredictability through incremental, iterative work cadences, known as sprints. According to the Manifesto
for Agile Software Development, its core values focus on:
· Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
· Working software over comprehensive documentation
· Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
· Responding to change over following a plan.
Another interconnected emerging trend is an understanding of the value added when collaboration between
development and operations staff throughout all stages of the development lifecycle occurs. Collaboration
between development and operations staff is more of an extension of the agile work principles to include
external stakeholders who will be receiving the product into the development process.
DevOps fosters an environment of continuous improvement and sustainable pace for all stakeholders.
Commonly this includes implementing Infrastructure as Code which provides the ability to design, implement
and deploy app’s infrastructure with known software best practices. This appeals to developers as it supports
the adoption of cloud computing and Everything as a Service (XaaS) and allows developers to rapidly deploy.
Adobe is a good example of this new way of doing things. After deploying CloudMunch DevOps platform Adobe
has increased the pace of application development by as much as 60 percent. Major benefits include cost
reduction, faster execution and improved error detection and troubleshooting. Product development teams
have been able to pare delivery time by 50% or more via this development method.
The ATO has adopted the agile methodology and has implemented Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as an
organised way of introducing agile work principles into the office. The ATO is beginning to take advantage of
Software developers and their DevOps environment by now engaging with Software developers through teams
like the Software Industry Partnership Office (SIPO).