Software developers should be thrilled with the potential this year. The introduction of modern tools, innovations, and frameworks will provide opportunities for greater efficiency and more fun as a programmer in 2023.

Yoav Abrahami, chief architect at Wix Code and head of Velo, discussed with TechNewsWorld why he sees such great potential for 2023.

“I see the best year yet but can’t guarantee there won’t be better years ahead,” he said. “I think a lot of exciting things are changing in the world in the way we code.”

To that end, Abrahami credits a few things for coming together. There has been a long-standing trend of moving to major platforms that continues in full force. Another innovation is taking place by including designers as part of the developer team. He said that it is important to bridge the gap between the designer and the developer.

6 developer predictions for 2023

Looking ahead through his software developer eyes, Abraham sees a great year to be a developer. Here are his six predictions for what to expect:

  1. Developers will be able to tackle more complex projects at scale.
  2. Collaboration between developers and designers will be more effective and inspiring.
  3. The cloud platform and low-code tools will integrate, introducing a range of new products including websites, web apps and mobile apps.
  4. The move to more managed environments will continue, offering new and better-managed services.
  5. AI will clean up the code and free up developers for more creative work.
  6. Dev talent will be more decentralized than ever, which translates into greater diversity and wider-reaching end products.

If predictions have a compelling force Why? And how Read on for Abrahami’s in-depth explanations of his vision for you, the developer community.

DevOps closes the gap

This history of the developer community is marked by ongoing friction between “systems people” and software developers. Too often developers shipped software that failed to meet expectations, and then it was the system people’s job to make it work, which led to more friction.

“We resolved that friction by introducing the idea of ​​DevOps. This shifted the responsibility for failure due to system changes back to the developers becoming a team,” observed Abrahami.

He suggested that another approach that is helping to foster better opportunities for developers is to keep both elements within the same working environment. His company follows this method of team building for software development.

Wix’s solution: let the designer take responsibility for the design and create a team that includes both a designer and a developer. Everyone involved gets the same equipment.

“In the same environment, the designer designs the UI, and the developers write the code to work with the UI. The reality is that 99.9% of teams will opt for more modern tools, as happened with DevOps – and this revolution It is happening now, and we see that simply because projects are being sent at a velocity that we never imagined. It is so amazing to see,” he said.

Digging Deeper into the Developer Environment

With this Q&A my conversation with Yoav Abrahami continues.

TechNewsWorld: What makes it possible for devs to tackle more complex projects at scale?

Yoav Abrahami: No one brought into the team is opposed to developers and designers working together. This means you can work much faster and be more productive. But more than that, we will continue to move towards more managed environments. This means that you are going to be much more efficient in terms of all your software.

Yoav Abrahami
Yoav Abrahami, Chief Architect and Head of Velo at Wix Code

What’s changing in the developer community?

Abrahami: You must remember what managed software really is. It’s always a trade off. You’re trading your freedom to choose, such as which service works right now.

Years ago, you would be working on your own machines, and you would choose your OS. Today you don’t even do that. Years ago, you would build servers and try to figure out which framework to use. Today, you can use multiple lists, and you don’t really care what’s happening below them.

Looking at what we have today, we are taking another step forward. You don’t even choose your front-end framework. We provide you an out-of-the-box solution where your ID, development environment, database, back end and front end all work together.

How widespread is this innovation? Is Wix in the minority with these viewpoints?

Abrahami: We are not the only ones doing this. This is happening across the industry. You can see more and more solutions with online development environments with zero configuration of the platform required.

To understand what I’m talking about, consider how long it would take to build a call center where thousands of volunteers can sign in, go through the process of verifying who they are, and then Be able to call people to ask if they need help with medicine or food or anything during covid. It will probably take months, even two years, to become normal.

We made one in two weeks. Within a month, we had 700 volunteers using that system. It used Twilio for telephony, a ready-made solution available for the UI for two separate applications. That’s where we’re moving very quickly.

I would say that if today you are struggling to make products for months, then you are doing something wrong.

How much of an impact is using cloud platforms and low-code/no-code tools?

Abrahami: The idea of ​​low-code is to make it very fast in the context of what you’re building. You don’t need to write all the code and bring it to the main platform. You just add a little bit, a few lines of code here and there – and we have a solution.

But then again, even less code can fail when you want to do something, like comparing 600 steps of coding, and you want to change something. How do you test this? How do you test that change? How do you know the effect? How do you see the changes between one version and another?

How does artificial intelligence factor into what’s happening now within the dev community?

Abrahami: To be honest, no one knows. But we know it’s going to disrupt everything. This is the reality.

Let’s say you ask the best AI to write code for you, and that code is a piece of software to drive your train. Who do you blame when a train crashes due to a bug? Is it AI’s fault? Is it the AI ​​vendor’s fault? Is it the fault of the person who wrote the code with the bug the AI ​​trained?

All of those questions lead to one big issue: How will it work? We don’t know! But we do recognize that AI coding has potential.

Do you have hope for AI as a benevolent tool for developers?

Abrahami: I see huge potential in AI. We look at quality, and quality has two things we don’t know how to measure. We don’t know how to measure usability, and we don’t know how to measure correctness. Now, AI may be able to give us the answer there, and I may be able to create an AI that will give me that.

Where do you see all this potential heading?

Abrahami: Think utility for Application Programming Interface (API). This is much easier to do than to measure whether it can attempt to write code that solves your next big problem. Now, this is just one example. Another example you can think of involves AI.

When should I increase, or when should I decrease? When should I do failover? When should I stop a service because it causes problems for other services? And so on.

Maybe all those things can be automated using AI. Automating can prevent shipping faulty software through early bug detection. So many possibilities exist. There are a lot of things we can do with AI today to change the way we work as developers. The things we trust about AI, like the tools to help you do what you’re doing.

Another example is semantic search. Too often, you move into a category, especially in larger organizations. You’re pretty sure someone in the company has done what you’re looking for, but you don’t know how to find it because you lack the exact syntax.

I was lucky enough to have a chance to spend some time with Amazon’s new robotic sidekick, Astro, over the past week.

Possibly named Astro because of Amazon’s fondness for the beloved dog on the 1960s cartoon series “The Jetsons,” it’s now available on an invitation-only basis for $1,000. However, the price will eventually climb to $1,450 when it is open to the public.

Seven days is too short a time to assess the new technology, but I think it’s enough to form some early opinions about this ambitious piece of hardware.

After spending a week with the product, I’ve concluded that it largely succeeds as a luxury item, especially for consumers who have the disposable income to test out the latest bleeding-edge robotics technology. Although the usage models are limited.

To be clear, this is not a slam against the Astros. Such products pave the way for more compelling future solutions with broader mainstream appeal to eventually hit the market. Astro is an attractive solution with significant potential. Still, given its premium price point, it won’t get enough audience and most importantly, what it can be used for in limited cases.

What is Amazon Astro?

If someone didn’t know better, they could mistake the new Amazon Astro with the Echo Show 10 Smart Display on oversized wheels. From a side view, it looks like a reduced-sized non-passenger version of the iconic Segway personal transporter equipment commonly seen in airports or shopping malls.

The Astro features a motorized 10.1″ screen and a 5MP camera that facilitates video chat and video/image capture. Two 55mm speakers embedded in the front deliver surprisingly good audio with excellent bass. There is some weight, which weighs in at 20.6 pounds and is roughly the size of a footstool.

Like the popular Echo Show model, the Astro TV Show is fully Alexa-compliant with the ability to stream content, play music, answer questions about almost any topic, and control Alexa-based smart home devices .

The Astro is equipped with several highly sensitive array-based microphones, and its listening skills are exceptional. This is notable because array microphones have traditionally been used to measure and detect noise sources, a feature important to its home security monitoring capabilities.

However, what separates the Astro from a stationary Echo Show is its ability to move and change its viewing perspective. The Astro features a periscope design that rises from its pivoting head and provides additional 12MP camera support.

The obvious usefulness of the cameras is that the Astro can travel through your home when you’re out and about to capture video and images. The Periscope also includes manual mute and volume buttons, though you’re unlikely to use them as it can respond to voice commands like any Alexa-class speaker.

The navigation performance of the Astro is one of the things that the Amazon engineering team deserves to be congratulated for.

While the out-of-the-box setup process is surprisingly easy, it takes the Astro about 30 minutes to do its initial run to learn all the rooms on your ground floor.

After setup was complete, the Astro could easily travel to any room I specified via voice commands. The Astro never collided with anything in its path, and it never hit the lovely miniature pinscher I live in my house. Its large wheels allow the Astro to travel on both rugs and hardwood floors without apparent difficulty.

Amazon Astro

Carmel was never threatened by the Astros while traveling through my house. (image credit: SmartTech Research)

Last month, Amazon announced that Astro would finally acquire pet monitoring capability and check your doors and windows to notify you if they’re not safe. Amazon supplies many colleges with Astro Software Development Kits to create even more automated processes.

Something to keep in mind: The Astro exhibits bizarre behavior, even when docked in its charging station and appears to be asleep. Although thankfully it didn’t do it late at night, Astro used two animated eyes and lively beeps, I guess, to make sure you know it’s on your back and on call.

This might sound ludicrous to some, but it’s clear that Amazon wants the Astro to have a distinct personality that separates it from its family of smart displays.

Does Astro provide useful functions?

The $64,000 question that mainstream users want to answer is about the usefulness of the Astro. As mentioned above, the setup process was remarkably smooth with on-screen directions, and it took just a few seconds to connect to my home network.

Although having an astro is undoubtedly one of the more interesting conversation topics an owner will have a cocktail party in their home, what can it really do?

The Astro has a dual cup holder that allows you to carry drinks from room to room, though I can’t imagine being so lazy I’d use that feature. Sure, it’s easy to give the Astro a voice command to get to the kitchen, but it can’t get drinks out of the refrigerator. It’s the kind of Jetsons-like feature that will be a game changer.

Amazon Astro Cup Holder, Top View

Astro’s dual cup holders (Image credit: SmartTech Research)

The most serious use model of the Astro is its ability to function as a mobile sentry in your home. A camera-enabled robot that can travel throughout your home and work synergistically with Ring smart door locks and external cameras via Alexa Guard.

I believe many mainstream consumers will love taking advantage of the Astro’s remote-control camera functionality. When the Live Feed feature is enabled through its app, Astro sets up a ring to notify others nearby that they are about to be on camera.

The periscope extends out from the Astro to provide a clear and vibrant view of the house. The app also provides manual support for controlling the robot’s movement in different directions for different views – even sliding the periscope up or down for different perspectives.

Astro really excels as a security tool when you are away from home. When paired with a Ring Protect Pro subscription, the Astro can patrol your home and send notifications to your smartphone when it detects strangers or hears loud noises like breaking glass.

There’s also the ability to enable a siren on Astro to scare away intruders from afar. I successfully simulated someone making a loud noise to throw a tennis ball through a nearby window, and Astro dutifully traveled to what he believed to be the location of the noise.

It turned on the siren and sent an alert to my phone. My testing wasn’t scientific, and I can’t confirm that Astro will function flawlessly in comparable security scenarios, but the use case is promising.

closing thoughts

Aside from having a mobile security platform inside your home—and that, in itself, may be enough for many people to buy one—its other use cases are limited and few.

After all, the Astro can’t take out the trash, and it doesn’t function as a robot vacuum. Amazon touts the Astro as a device that kids can play with, as it can sing and dance, but $1,500 is a premium price for a novelty that wears off quickly with kids. Will go

A strong case can be made for the Astro’s entertainment and video conferencing features, as it’s intriguing to have a mobile device for video chatting with other Echo Show owners. In addition, speakers with great sound can be valuable at parties as the Astro can follow you to play music in your home.

The bottom line is that the Astro is a fascinating device that Amazon has a lot to be proud of. Here’s a short video I made from Astro in action:

Even in the case of limited security use, the Astro has significant potential. It would be misleading to see other use cases being developed (perhaps by parties outside Amazon) not currently considered.

Its navigation capability is superb, and the Astro’s overall quality and construction materials are excellent, convincing for such a high-priced device.

In the end, Amazon deserves recourse for doing a remarkable job of protecting your privacy with Astro. Given Amazon’s spotty record on privacy, it’s a step in the right direction given that Astro stores and processes most of its navigation and facial recognition data locally, on the device itself.

In line with other Alexa-based smart speakers and displays, users can also delete query history via the Alexa app. This capability is important because video equipment, which is increasingly visible inside people’s domiciles, has the potential to record highly personal and intimate moments. For this new category to gain mainstream traction, eliminating the privacy concerns that many consumers have is non-negotiable.

Still, $1,500 is quite a discretionary spend for a large portion of the population, especially with sky-high gasoline prices and inflation running close to 9%.

It’s hard to recommend the Astro at this price point until its usefulness outweighs that of an indoor mobile security platform.

Astro is an exciting solution that showcases Amazon’s significant technical chops in the budding consumer robotics sector. At the very least, early adopters who get one will be the talk of their neighborhood.