In a recent survey of 65 000 developers, StackOverflow finds that Windows is still the most used application development platform. This, in part, is because Windows app development meets the four requirements users must consider before choosing a platform — reach, simplicity, speed, and future proof. This is quite reiterated in Microsoft’s Windows 11 launch publicity which focuses a lot on developers. If anything, this new version of Windows shows the direction of the development platform for the next several years. With innovative features like the new Microsoft Store, new distribution methods, WinUI3 controls, the Windows app SDK, etc., Microsoft is affirming its position as a dominant operating system.
With that being said, every software developer knows the importance of staying abreast of the latest industry trends. From rapid application development to low code solutions, application development trends change as fast as technology. To stay current, not only do you need to consider new platform features, but you must also pay attention to trends that can increase developer productivity.
This article discusses 7 trends in Windows program development you may have overlooked.
Is visual development making a come-back?
Visual application development can be said to have originated as far back as the 1960s and 70s when developers sought improvements on typing numerous lines of code into a terminal window. Early on, the term Visual programming was often associated with Visual Basic, an IDE launched by Microsoft in 1991. This tool allowed users to develop applications by dragging and dropping code blocks and flowcharts. Borland then took the development world by storm with their launch of Delphi in 1995. With a similar “draw the user interface with a WYSIWYG interface but with a vastly superior experience due to Delphi’s ability to compile code natively – with a blindingly-fast compiler – with no dependencies which had plagued Visual Basic it quickly became the development IDE of choice for all sorts of developer scenarios ranging from small indie developers to large, sprawling blue-chip corporates where the reliability of Delphi apps which ‘just worked’ and kept on working made an awful lot of sense.
In our fast-paced economy, developers are under increasing pressure to meet business needs. Demand to deploy new solutions faster, demand to deliver innovative and exciting features and a number of other competing requirements. Sometimes these expectations are unrealistic, but such has become the norm for developers today. Add to that the might of marketing muscles from organizations who were able to wield large advertising budgets to push and pull developer opinions things headed into all sorts of directions, not all of which were the best for the developer.
While there may be development methods that claim to speed up Windows program development, none quite does it, like visual development. Hence, we’re seeing developers move towards tools that enable them to incorporate visual development. One such tool is the Delphi IDE.
RAD Studio IDE, Embarcadero’s modern evolution of Borland’s phenomenally successful Delphi continues to pave the way for innovative Integrated Development Environments (IDEs), with what is surely the most advanced visual development toolset, an extensive array of unique features, shortcuts, and capabilities to improve development productivity significantly.
Is rapid application development coming back in fashion?
In 1991, James Martin, in his book, Applications Development Without Programmers, coined the term Rapid application development. He said,
‘Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a development lifecycle designed to give much faster development and higher-quality results than those achieved with the traditional lifecycle. It is designed to take the maximum advantage of powerful development software that has evolved recently.’
Introduced to replace the strict ‘waterfall’ model, RAD picked up momentum in the 90s during the internet revolution. However, it encountered some limitations as it focused less on requirements and more on an iterative approach. But some modifications have been made to account for these limitations. This way, it focuses on ensuring it can change according to changing requirements.
We live in a world where the only constant is change— market changes, technology changes, changes in customer expectations, etc. These factors mean that developers must adapt to meet the changing environment. This involves being able to add new functionalities to your applications without starting from scratch hence why rapid application development is coming back into vogue.
When it comes to Windows program development, only a few tools enable rapid application development. Again, Delphi is one. This solution helps developers write code faster and smarter through modern object-oriented programming (OOP) practices, coupled with robust frameworks and a feature-rich IDE. It’s absolutely packed to the gills with modern features and has kept pace with virtually every possible innovation and development in operating systems and device technology without piling on a load of complications or unnecessary difficulty.
Delphi’s component-based architecture and drag/drop methods to create the program’s user interface is still what it was when it first came out: the original low code solution. Couple that with things like the low-code wizard which creates a fully-working cross-platform app which can run on Windows, iOS, Android and macOS with just a few clicks and it’s arguably easier than ever to produce professional apps without huge amounts of effort. It can connect to any database you can think of, talk to IoT devices, draw graphs and graphics in any way you can imagine, control on-device hardware such as GPS locators, accelerometers, cameras, show alerts, talk REST to online services, create, render and manage dynamic web apps and cloud technologies and it does all of this with a shockingly fast compiler which produces native apps which require no memory-heavy runtime frameworks, interpolating interpreters or huge 1gb+ downloads before it will even run. It. Just. Works.
Are small EXEs (and single file deployments) becoming popular again?
There are numerous unnecessarily bloated applications out there that many just assume are the norm and have to use larger hard disks. Not to mention the increase in end-user requirements tied to this bloat. To create more efficient software and eliminate the bloat, developers are focusing on small EXEs and single file deployments. This way, developers can bundle each file into a single binary to deploy and distribute as a single file.
Again, Delphi produces compact and smaller executables for Windows program development. Don’t fooled, typically that exe contains everything it needs to run – unlike other technologies which appear to have a small executable but then proceeds to require you to download many additional ‘dependencies’ to actually get things running. That need to download additional layers of support also opens up those competing solutions to security risks, a runtime fragility and a reliance on a particular version of the supporting component infrastructure which Delphi generally does not have. It’s not uncommon for a Delphi program originally written for the long-defunct Windows XP to still run right out of the box on the latest version of Windows 11, automatically inheriting and making use of the newer operating systems’ look, feel and functionality without any changes whatsoever. I can tell you this is definitely not true of almost any other programming technology out there.
Are you ready to increase your Windows app development productivity?
The importance of increasing developer productivity cannot be overstated. For many of us, this means building efficient applications as fast as possible. To achieve this, your Windows program development toolchain must be made up of tools that boost productivity. Delphi IDE offers numerous features that enable you to build efficient applications 10x faster than other techniques.
To get a feel of how Delphi improves productivity, start a free trial.