Ray PloskiAs Stan Lee once wrote, “With great power comes great responsibility.” For application developers, this responsibility includes managing an ever-changing IT landscape.

Opportunities and challenges will be out in force. Technology advances will shift developers’ targeted platforms and daily tasks, giving developers higher profiles within the enterprise.  Simultaneously, the advent of cloud computing and Platform-as-a-Service, as well as the explosion of mobile devices and economic demands, will directly impact the role of the developer.  

In 2011, PaaS came into its own, bringing greater levels of abstraction and lower barriers to entry. More developers, even those with less experience, were able to accomplish tasks, such as the creation of complex e-commerce sites, with the aid of PaaS and modern frameworks and standards.  

This year, PaaS offerings are evolving from the sandbox of early adopters into mainstream services. These platforms now offer Java EE services, Ruby, Python and PHP, providing various language choices.  

The ease of deployment associated with PaaS continues to have a much larger impact on developers’ everyday tasks in 2012. Developers now have the ability to deploy to platforms directly from their IDEs, test their applications, and quickly modify and patch. As such, developers are becoming increasingly empowered within the enterprise, have a higher profile than ever before, and are far more efficient. It is likely we will see a large growth of Software-as-a-Service offerings provided by individual developers as a correlation of PaaS innovations.

Agile promise realized
But PaaS is not just a target for deployment. Realizing the promise of the agile development movement, providers are also offering complimentary services such as databases, Maven and continuous integration technologies.  

Traditionally, agile development, with its incremental and evolutionary approach of delivering value to businesses, has been impeded by handoffs between developers and operations staff. Historically, IT organizations were filled with ceremony and documentation when passing applications from developers to administrators. This is beginning to fade, giving rise to the DevOps movement.  

DevOps entails direct collaboration among everyone involved in the development of a solution, including developers working hand-in-hand with IT managers, testers, operations personnel, and especially the business stakeholders. This convergence will continue, leading to greater agility and faster deployment for the organization, as well as a larger role for developers  that organization.