Cloud, mobile and open source to transform US$9bn app industry in 2012

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The global app development market will be worth US$9bn in 2012 and major shifts in the direction of mobile, agility, cloud computing and open source projects will transform the industry forever, a new report from Gartner claims.

Growth will be driven by evolving software delivery models, new development methodologies, emerging mobile application development (AD) and open source software.

“Application modernisation and increasing agility will continue to be a solid driver for AD spending, apart from other emerging dynamics of cloud, mobility and social computing,” said Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“These emerging trends are directing AD demand towards newer architectures, programming languages, business model and user skills.”

According to a new Gartner report, ‘Market Trends: Application Development Software, Worldwide, 2012-2016’, cloud is changing the way applications are designed, tested and deployed, resulting in a significant shift in AD priorities.

Cost is a major driver, but also agility, flexibility and speed to deploy new applications. 90pc of large, mainstream enterprises and government agencies will use some aspect of cloud computing by 2015.

“The trend is compelling enough to force traditional AD vendors to ‘cloud-enable’ their existing offerings and position them as a service to be delivered through the cloud,” said Raina.

“AD for cloud demands rapid deployment, a high focus on user experience and access to highly elastic resources for software testing, while requiring comparatively less underlying infrastructure for developing applications.”

Gartner also predicts that mobile AD projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4:1 by 2015.

Emerging mobile applications, systems and devices are transforming the AD space rapidly, and are one of the top three CIO priorities at the enterprise level. Gartner research found that CIOs expect more than 20pc of their employees to use tablets instead of laptops by 2013, hastening the process of change as AD tools and applications evolve to address the requirements of these new devices.

Open source software fuels major shift in app creation

Also driving the AD shift, Gartner expects open source software to continue to broaden its presence and create pressure on market leaders during the next three to five years, especially as open source becomes a key element of the software quality landscape beyond the developer level. It predicts that at least 70pc of new enterprise Java applications will be deployed on an open source Java application server by the end of 2017.

“Open source software tools will continue to erode revenue for some AD categories in design, testing and Web development,” Raina explained.

“This is being driven primarily by the success of Eclipse and NetBeans, as well as by overall revitalization of the market by new small software providers looking for technical and market disruptive approaches for offering products.

“Limited budgets and economic conditions compelling enough to focus on cost reduction, also fuel the use of open-source software in various development projects.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com