In modern software development, we are accustomed to seeing the term "continuous" used in expressions such as continuous integration and continuous delivery. Curiously, in neither context does the word carry its regular non-technical meaning of uninterrupted activity.
When continuous integration (CI) first appeared on the scene, the "continuous" adjective was hyperbolic and meant to emphasize that integration (also a misnomer, meaning assembly and build) would be done several times a day rather than once or twice a week. Continuous delivery reflects a similar view of an activity done "several times a day," although some organizations certainly deliver more frequently than that.
So far, these are the two primary applications of the word. However, an upcoming sea change in the fabric of software development suggests that programmers will soon be truly developing continuously. More specifically, continuously working on completed apps.
That sea change is the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to networking and smarts embedded into almost every item sold. In the IoT scenario, which seems to be only a few years off, you'll be able to check the temperature inside your refrigerator, whether the lights are on at your home, how full your hot water heater is -- all from the dashboard display of your car. Everything will be wired and give you access to far more data than you ever needed.
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— Andrew Binstock Prior to joining Dr. Dobb's Journal, Andrew Binstock worked as a technology analyst, as well as a columnist for SD Times, a reviewer for InfoWorld, and the editor of UNIX Review. Before that, he was a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers.