The current state and progression point of enterprise software has changed the business models of countless industries from banking and food delivery to taxi services.
In response, the UK has nearly doubled the number of software development professionals it employs to 408 thousand and this upward trend continues. With developers in chronically short supply yet essential to today’s digital transformation imperatives, companies understand the need to make the role easier, more efficient, and more strategic.
That’s why focus on DX (Developer eXperience) is on the rise.
One important way to improve DX is to apply AI to improve automation for repetitive and time-consuming programming tasks. It’s especially important to do this in areas that don’t fall into the typical core competencies of developers.
Cloudinary enables users to upload, store, manage, manipulate and deliver images and video for websites and application work in image and video.
“For example, managing the deluge of images, videos and 3D-models that appear on today’s visual websites. I know this from experience. Back when I was a consultant, my colleagues and I had to manually solve the same exact image and video management related requests over and over again. Not a great DX for us for sure,” said Nadav Soferman in his position as co-founder and chief product officer at Cloudinary — a company known for its cloud-based image and video management services.
Soferman and team thought of ways to automate these manual coding processes related to processing, manipulating, optimising, and transforming these visual media assets. These automations were the beginning of the business and technology proposition.
How AI boosts DX
Since Soferman started out in 2012, its dev team has been using AI to simplify image and video management; specifically to do things like identify, vet and automate as many processes related to image and video management as possible.
The team say they’re seeing more software companies and developer teams use these types of ‘hyperautomation’ technologies including robotic process automation (RPA) and low-code/no-code (LCNC) tools.
“One of the most common ways that web developers use the AI in our tools is to intelligently crop thousands or even millions of product images and videos, fast. This saves developers having to manually manipulate and optimise each video or image to display correctly on the many different sized and oriented viewing windows of various devices and browsers; the algorithms take care of all this,” he said.
Algorithms also efficiently optimise the quality compression, striking the best balance between file size and visual quality. Other highly repetitive, but essential tasks that AI automates include categorizing and tagging image and video content and the tedious work of background removal.
Automating automation integration
But DX isn’t just about automation.
It’s also about integrating with the tools, frameworks and programming languages developers work with. Failing this, developers could waste a lot of time doing manual integration work before they even start doing their day jobs.
A big part of DX is about APIs, SDKs and user-friendly interfaces. An API-first approach, which supports integration with the most popular environments and technologies your developer community regularly uses, is a good starting point for DX efforts.
“The same is true for SDKs. If you operate in web development, SDKs should be available for most popular frontend, backend, and mobile programming languages. Extensive documentation, including code samples, tutorials, user guides, API references also helps to make developers’ lives easier. An important part of DX is developer relations and this should integrate activities like meetups, hackathons and training,” said Soferman.
As technology evolves, new tools and approaches arise that improve DX. For example, low-code no-code technology benefits developers by streamlining workflows, shortening engineering cycles, and saving time and manpower — they are especially helpful for developers working in areas they haven’t been trained for.
The theory here is that when developers have a great experience, this almost invariably translates into a great UX for a website.
According to Forrester, a better UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400 percent.
AI clearly has some role here to enhance the automation that eatstedious but important software tasks.