Are applications coming of age? On technical debt and its consequences

Posted: 2023-10-11

A business ecosystem cannot be complete without applications in today’s technologically-advanced world. They serve our (and your!) customers – easing their daily lives, dealing with finances, and providing entertainment. Our primary responsibility as application providers is to ensure security, reliability, and a positive user experience, all of which can be achieved through continuous maintenance that specialists perform. A system that no longer gets developed will eventually cause problems or may even pose a security risk to users. In this article, we will answer why application maintenance and upkeep is vital to the IT strategy of anyone who owns such software.

Technical/technology debt

Market demands and time pressure often shape business decisions, pushing technical issues into the background. Thus, the solutions are short-term and solve immediate problems, but in doing so, they come with risks on various levels. Essentially, technical debt refers to the actual implementation of solutions, whose cost will grow in proportion to the time it takes before it is paid off. These could be unoptimized queries that, with more data, will be inefficient and make the application cumbersome. It could also be code written in a monolithic fashion, with many interdependent elements, making it difficult to maintain such applications and apply even minor changes. By changing one piece, you end up affecting the entirety of the puzzle. As a matter of fact, a monolith is simpler to implement and more difficult to maintain and scale.

If you encounter a potential technical debt in your application, it is imperative to determine exactly what consequences it may entail. It is also worth answering the following questions:

  • What is the current load on the application, and what are the long-term forecasts?
  • Do we plan to introduce some additional functionality?
  • Are we planning on expanding into new markets?
  • Is the app going to remain on the market for a long time?
  • Is it possible to find someone in the market who can develop/maintain the app?
  • How does the cost of maintaining the app evolve over time? How soon will maintenance costs equal rewrites for newer technologies?
  • Do the manufacturers still support the technologies used in the project?

No matter how many times you say YES, reducing technology debt is worth the effort. Not only will the users thank you for it, but also the developers who will develop the application.


IT security has long been a background requirement. Recent years have seen a 180-degree turnaround – IT service security has grown in importance and is now among the main pillars of successful projects. Keeping software secure is a basic requirement for software developers and owners.

Such verification is essential when an application is left unattended and unsupervised by specialists who could identify potential vulnerabilities. Updating the application’s frameworks is worth it, as older versions may have exploited vulnerabilities. It may be worthwhile to rewrite the application using new technologies and frameworks. Achieving better performance, better security, and a more organized code goes hand in hand with such an action.

As for security itself, it’s also a good idea to review the code and make sure there are no leftovers that could leak information, such as:

  • authentication data
  • API keys
  • detailed system logs.

It is worth bearing in mind to prioritize security in your applications and prevent incidents by carefully creating functionality and updating frameworks.

Refactoring and optimization

It is not just about security that technologies and frameworks are being updated, but also about efficiency. Years ago, developers could use technologies and techniques that were utterly different from those available today. At the same time, writing code makes a world of difference when you already know all the solutions and have seen how the program works in practice than when designing a solution from scratch. Indeed, we can predict the number of users and the direction of the application, but choosing the right tool can be an evolving issue.

For instance, if the load on an application increases due to its popularity, the number of users, or the processing of more data, it is worth considering Kubernetes as a management and scaling tool to distribute traffic across multiple machines and relieve application workloads. Moreover, Kubernetes will enable smooth application updates on production servers through zero downtime deployment. This will prevent users from experiencing non-functional applications in a given period, instead maintaining constant access to their data.

It is worthwhile considering tools to assist in monitoring the performance and operation of applications with increasing requirements. Using Sentry as an example, the developer is alerted faster about errors and exceptions encountered in the application. In other words, the developer will be instantly informed when an error occurs on the production server. As a result, they will have a time advantage to prevent the error from occurring when other users run the application. Keeping the application up-to-date with new technologies or wrapping it in tools that enhance performance and support developers are critical steps in maintaining it.

Summing it up

A technology solution’s design must take into account the conditions of the project, industry, or business. In the absence of regular maintenance and development, even the best-conceived and written application may require weighty changes. The pace of technological change is breakneck fast, and better solutions emerge almost overnight. An application that continues to grow in popularity will need more and more supervision. Hence, it makes sense to maintain and develop your applications regularly – to avoid technical problems and security vulnerabilities.

Want to create a mobile app, web app, or custom system but need an experienced technology partner? Explore the dedicated bespoke software projects we’ve completed for clients. If you have a roadmap and description of the application ready, we can prepare a quote in as little as 24 hours from the time you send us the specifications. If not, no worries, either. Get in touch and set up a free consultation to work out the next steps together.

About the author:

Mateusz Rędzia – a web application developer well versed in Python, he works daily on projects for small and large companies. Passionate about technology, exploring software development, and cyber security, and an avid fan of volleyball and traveling.

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