This is a four part piece feature story on my Windows Development journey; the good, bad and ugly. This is the final Part 4 of my Windows development journey which focuses on how Windows app development has changed, and what I would do differently today.
How Windows app development changed
Windows app development has changed from a desktop PC centric environment to a mobile first, cloud first world in the world of global servers and online consumption. Traditional app development has peaked, the most popular app category gaming has peaked, business model has changed on how apps are monetised.
App development models has changed from desktop oriented to some lightweight web based, cloud backend PWA apps that is popularised under Microsoft competitors such as Chromebooks which is now being considered to be part of the “New Windows” under Windows 10X platform. This shift of mobile first and cloud first has accelerated further during covid-19 where quarantines and lockdowns has affected many during the crisis. Therefore, app developers have had to adjust. This is to accommodate the changing ties as well to support the users in different app categories that has shifted from the traditional dominated social media apps and gaming to essential and emergency apps for mostly health, basic needs and vital supplies.
Adjustments were pretty quick in coming. Websites and app developers had taken note and adapted to the changing situation. Such as up to date covid-19 news for students, workers and small business owners making adjustments to changing environment in the workplace. Larger emphasis on e-commerce for online shopping to virtual classrooms in time of lockdowns and quarantines.
The boom in contact tracing apps that has emphasis of the phone, where most users use as a communication and information tool today rather than a Pager device, PDAs or a Pocket PC from 20 years ago. These types of mobile focused apps leaves traditional desktop PCs and tablets in the dust with no mobile first world use. Education apps on the rise due to staying indoors which has been the call of the medical community. Because of this, some schools have chosen to close their doors. This is to due to the amount of socializing involved inside campus.
Fortunately for students, education centric apps have been around for while. Apps like Microsoft Teams for virtual classrooms, Canvas for homework projects etc. have been serving the education sector for a while now. The diversity of learning modes and styles allows for more innovation due to students having different learning styles.
Food and beverage delivery apps has increased in consumption with people staying indoors. Have forced establishments to adjust that depended on foot traffic. Now, that has shifted leading them to create online app services that cater to their customers. Since, stores have now increased priority with online presence. Food delivery demands have allowed some of the more fortunate establishments to survive. Some of the establishments in the market have even grown during the crisis.
The necessity of delivery and logistics industries have allowed industry to survive. With social distancing rules implemented, the necessity of delivery services became more obvious for more people. Utilising delivery apps allow business establishments to even smaller brick mortar retail businesses with shorter hours to stay active for longer. Meaning they can maintain a higher rate of sales compared to physical presence. Peer-to-peer delivery also allows small online businesses to survive. These are businesses that depend on online traffic to make sales.
What I would do differently today with Windows app development
I would focus on creating not only a hobby for myself. I would create a tool that people would mostly likely use in situations such as covid-19 that could have a huge impact on many industries to reverse businesses that were put on hold during the crisis.
Because app developers essentially develop tools. Due to the crisis, people are more dependent and more appreciative on these tools. Be it for their everyday needs or the future of their children.
Have a long term mindset with these apps because the long term effects of these apps mean that their utility does not end with the pandemic. Things under app development will change post covid-19 and would not go back to where it was pre-covid 19.
Windows app developers need to specifically focus on education where it comes at a great responsibility when access to schools is limited for many. To fill that role, Windows app developers have to consider the needs of both students and teachers.
App development model has changed too where data, analytics will play a role in a more inter-connected environment with the world of cloud and servers. This is where web based lightweight apps comes to play such as PWA in harnessing data, people’s behaviour and interaction with the app that is useful for teachers monitoring students, doctors monitoring their patients etc.
At the end of the day, having a robust application that is data driven, contextually aware, basic in nature and lightweight for the changing data driven web based app world such as PWA. Bring opportunities for new developers with new tools and some tools that mostly stayed the same in native. However, the most fundamental changes of Windows app development, and app development in general is the end users needs whether it is a student, patient, doctor, teacher, worker or parents etc.
This is the area and opportunity as a Windows developer should focus on building tools people need from education to logistics that can have an impact and can change how things are done in changing times under covid-19.
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