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Study advocates mobile-first & analytics

ThoughtWorks, a maker of custom software, has announced the availability of its Technology Radar for October 2012. According to a press release, the material within was created out of "lively debates held among ThoughtWorks' Technology Advisory Board, comprised of senior technology leaders from across the globe", and intends to report on and highlight emerging trends that should form the core of web and app development strategy over the coming months.

This latest study identified 'mobile design and testing', 'readily accessible analytics', 'the need for simple architectures', 'cloud driving reproducible environments' and 'data persistence done right' as the five main trends the industry should focus on, and particularly noted that "significant shifts are taking place within mobile", which is becoming the "primary way of accessing the internet".

ThoughtWorks consultant James Lewis told .net that the company works in a wide context, and believes in "software's liberating capacity for society, attacking the most pressing problems of our time", including social and economic inequality, the environment, energy, healthcare, participatory democracy, and more. In terms of the Technology Radar, he said he believes we're "rapidly heading towards a world where the majority of consumer interactions are from mobile devices", and strongly recommended the concept of mobile-first design and responsive websites, ensuring sites are always tailored to a user's device.

Beyond mobile design, Lewis noted other technologies had rapidly evolved, not least analytics: "Advanced analytics such as machine learning, semantic analysis, text mining and quantitative analytics have matured in the past 15 years. But now they offer incredible power for predicting, forecasting, identifying repeatable patterns, and analysing unstructured data like audio, video, and imagery content." Historically, he said, our ability to store and rapidly analyse such data was severely limited: "We had to take very small samples of this type of data to build analytical models – and the models we built took a long time to validate and put into production." Now, things have changed: "Using a spectrum of new technologies like NoSQL, data harvesters, MapReduce frameworks, and clusters of share-nothing commodity servers, we have the horsepower to make truly effective use of these techniques. Combine mobile devices, social media, and so on, and we have an opportunity to do amazing things."