Tech Radar Summer 2021

  • Friso - Chief Technology Officer
    Friso Geerlings
    Chief Technology Officer

Time for the first 2021 update of our Technology Radar, showing the state-of-the-union from a tech perspective. Spring 2021 and the first days of summer brought interesting times as we continued to work mostly from home, but we know that this will change over the holidays. The constant videocalls didn’t block technology innovation at ISAAC though, as we managed to accelerate out pivot to more iPaaS in the cloud.

Azure and AWS

We rapidly accelerated our Azure adoption next to our existing and strong AWS practice, and included the following Azure services in out radar as ‘adopt’: Azure App Service, Azure DevOps, Azure Integration Services, Azure Functions and Azure API Management. The workflow and integration offering Azure Logic Apps is still in trial; we use it in some scenarios, but still have to do more battle testing on the service to make it a default part of our toolbox.

On the AWS side, good ol’ Beanstalk was used a lot, as it makes deploying Java workloads (e.g. Spring and Red Hat Quarkus based) so easy. Nice to see how a service that has been around for quite some time is now getting a lot of focus again as it ‘just works’ in many scenarios. Aurora, Amazon’s Serverless database powerhouse, is switched to ‘adopt’ as we make use of it in a number of demanding production situations where it certainly seems to do its job very well.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

In the SSO area, AWS Cognito and Okta were used in a number of high-profile projects, and are thus switched to ‘adopt’ in this edition of the Radar. Other platforms like Ping and Red Hat SSO / Keycloak remain reliable workhorses that we just continued to use a lot in 2021 as well.

The commerce area was updated by adding Bynder as a SaaS DAM platform that we really like, and Shopware is becoming more important for us, both here in Eindhoven and elsewhere in our group through mutual projects.

State of Front-end

The front-end and JavaScript area brought Deno as a NodeJS successor or alternative (we’ll see how this develops) that we are trialing. We also see a very strong uptake of React Native, and have fully embraced it for cross-platform mobile app development. In the Android-specific mobile environment, we’re assessing Android Jetpack as a library to help developers follow best practices, reduce boilerplate code, and write code that works consistently across Android versions and devices. We’re also using Microsoft App Center now in a number of app-consultancy tracks.

It’s only a matter of time before the browser is the primary runtime for a lot of software, so we’re keeping an eye out for technologies that will make that a reality. 2021 saw the birth of WebContainers, a WebAssembly based technology, currently on the assess list, that allows node.js applications to run in a browser with millisecond boot times. Since WebAssembly will power part of the “browser as the universal runtime”-push, assessing that as well makes sense. ES Modules give the browser its own module system which makes developing more complex applications less cumbersome. Browser support is good enough at this point to fully adopt it. Container queries will allow us to define layouts of UI components based on the space its container can offer. This will make these components more reusable in different contexts without the need for JavaScript trickery, so well worth our assessment.

MASA

Finally, OpenTelemetry caught our attention in the metrics collection and monitoring sphere, and we’re taking a closer look at ‘MASA’ (Mesh App and Service Architecture) for our architecture practice as a ‘word’ that makes sense to describe how we would approach certain architectures for larger projects. Our adoption of DefectDojo as a central consolidation point for tracking vulnerabilities in applications has accelerated, and we are highly involved in the open source community around the project to make it even better.

All in all, a strong update of the Radar, and enough food-for-thought to help us bridge the holidays!

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