The rise of the lightweight languages in enterprise mobile development


More than one quarter of respondents in the latest Red Hat and Vanson Bourne survey say they will primarily use Node.js as their language of choice for back-end development within the next two years.

According to the research, which polled 200 IT decision makers from private sector firms with at least 2,500 employees across the US and Western Europe, 71% of respondents are primarily using Java while 56% use .NET. In two years, this will fall to 15% and 19% respectively.

85% of respondents argue open source software is important to their app development strategy, while mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) is used by almost one third (31%) of those polled, and is expected to grow to 36% in two years’ time.

The key theme from the research was that, as organisations mature, mobile will be a key element of it. More than one in three (35%) of those polled argued mobile apps change the way they do business by reinventing business processes, while 37% argue mobile apps are used primarily to automate existing processes.

One other may in which mobility is maturing is through organisational change. More than a third of those polled said they have instituted a mobile centre of excellence, a number which rises to 55% in firms who have a fully implemented mobile app strategy.

This has been an axe which Red Hat – and in particular FeedHenry, the MBaaS provider hoovered up by the enterprise tech giant last year – has been grinding for some time. Speaking to this reporter in September 2014, before the Red Hat acquisition, then FeedHenry CEO Cathal McGloin explained: “People understand that mobility is not a separate thing. So you see a trend towards mobile centres of excellence [and] traditional IT emerge, rather than appointing somebody to be mobile, and having that somebody separate from your head of IT, your marketing officer, and so on.”

Equally, the rise of Node.js is further vindication of Red Hat’s strategy going forward. Red Hat recently became a platinum member of the Node.js Foundation, alongside the likes of IBM, Intel, and Microsoft, and this is again a trend which has been spotted from long range. McGloin said last year: “What was originally a very lightweight, second rate thing has emerged as a fast way of doing things.” That ‘thing’ was JavaScript, which of course has close ties to Node.js. JavaScript was named as TIOBE’s top programming language of 2014 despite its humble beginnings, so it would seem all signs point to north.

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