The Future Trends of Sustainability in Programming Software

Cara spotlights the key programming sustainability trends of today, with a particular focus on aspects such as eco-friendly coding and sustainable software architecture.

8 min read

As sustainable programming practices continue to become the norm across the software development industry, we take a look at the future sustainability trends all businesses should be aware of.

Future sustainability changes are now impacting almost every sector worldwide, and both the wider tech sector and programming as a profession aren’t exempt from this trend. As everyone continues to work towards greener practices, a number of increasingly important trends in sustainable programming are emerging.
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most significant future sustainability trends to help programmers, and businesses reliant on new or existing software, better understand how coding with languages like Erlang will evolve in the coming years.

1. Increased Awareness of Sustainable Programming and Implementation of Greener Strategies

The first main future sustainability trend in programming is an important one, as it both cements and justifies the importance of all the following trends. Programmers are all now acutely aware of the impacts of their code on the environment, and sustainable strategies are no longer simply a consideration – they’re increasingly becoming a requirement for anyone working with tech or code.

Green coding is now promoted by major global institutions like IBM, who continue to push for the standardisation of these practices. Meanwhile, significant international regulatory bodies, like the IPSASB, whose standards govern public sector accounting practices worldwide, have begun to publish guidance on using sustainability programs to report future sustainability information. 

The below table hosted on MDPI also shows the huge increase in ScienceDirect publications focused on “sustainable development” in universities and other higher education institutions over the past decade. These are just three of hundreds of examples of sustainable programming becoming the norm.

It’s this increased awareness, driven by the ongoing climate crisis and significant environmental concerns across the planet, that means green programming goals aren’t just a future sustainability trend that will pass. They’re fast becoming the standard for the industry, and will continue to do so as both governments and private sectors work towards strict sustainability targets.

2. Clean, Lean and Efficient Coding: The 3 Green Coding Principles For Future Sustainability

A key shift towards future sustainability considerations in programming is what’s known as green coding. Green coding involves using reliable languages like Erlang in a way that considers the environmental impacts of processing code. 

This involves 3 key approaches: Lean Code, Clean Code and Efficient Code. Though they all share similarities, each can be defined in the following way:

Lean Code. This involves making sure that code doesn’t include unnecessary elements. Each line should be functional, as this minimalism reduces the processing power needed to run code effectively.

Clean Code. Clean code should be easy for other programmers to understand. This makes collaboration between several programmers easier, which can then allow for more sustainable development.

Efficient Code. This involves optimising code so that it operates as efficiently as possible, with minimal processing. Efficient code, as well as the other two main green coding principles, are possible in part thanks to concurrent programming languages like Erlang.

If you’d like to learn more about green coding, as well as the value and business sense behind it, have a read through our previous blog post.

3. More Sustainable Blockchain Technology

Blockchain has long been a talking point in sustainable programming, as in the past these networks consumed huge amounts of energy to operate effectively. Today, updates in sustainable blockchain technology have reduced this energy consumption significantly.

Innovations will likely continue to ensure blockchain becomes a greener and more efficient form of technology for businesses, particularly those in certain sectors like fintech. Blockchain will also play its own important role in creating more sustainable infrastructure, as well as in more detailed reporting. 

You can read more about these evolutions in blockchain’s future sustainability potential in our previous blog post.

4. Green Computing Tools

The following two major trends involve both the tools used by programmers, as well as the software they create. Green computing tools designed to monitor energy efficiency are becoming increasingly popular, as development teams need to create more efficient solutions for clients. 

These future sustainability tools are sometimes created with specific programming languages in mind, like this example designed to monitor Erlang software, whilst others target specific equipment, like data centres.

Tools like these have been in development for at least a decade, as shown by the 2014 book “Green Computing: Tools and Techniques for Saving Energy, Money, and Resources”. But the number of tools available today, as well as their progressively standardised usage by programmers, makes them an important future sustainability trend for programming as a whole.

5. Future Sustainability Through Software Design

Programmers are now using languages like Erlang to contribute towards a wider initiative known as the Greening of IT. This is a comprehensive approach to future sustainability in tech, and a large part of its mission involves creating green software.

The initiative was started by the Green Software Foundation, which has published and maintains a training program to encourage developers to adopt greener practices. 

This training also includes a list of green software engineering principles, taking into account energy efficiency, hardware efficiency and carbon awareness as well as other future sustainability concerns.

These climate considerations in programming play a key role in the profession, and will only continue to grow in importance in the years to come. With net zero by 2050 serving as a clear (and for some countries, legally binding) goal for global emissions reduction, green coding and software must continue to become more efficient.

Working Towards Future Sustainability Today With Erlang Solutions

Future sustainability isn’t tomorrow’s concern; programmers are adapting their processes right now to better support a greener future. 

At Erlang Solutions, our expert team of Erlang programmers continue to modify and create new ways of working that ensure more efficient green software solutions across multiple sectors.
Thanks to its versatility, Erlang is the ideal language to support the continued shift towards future sustainability goals. If you’d like to learn more about what our team’s doing for sustainable programming, or how our Erlang support could help your business, please consider contacting our team today.

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