Green software engineering refers to the development of sustainable solutions with minimal environmental impact. It involves employing green practices and technologies throughout the entire software lifecycle, including design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance.
According to McKinsey, taking immediate action to improve the sustainability of software and data could result in a reduction of approximately 5% in CO2 emissions by 2030.
Green software engineering aims to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions, and waste production. This is achieved through various strategies such as:
Application development can have both direct and indirect effects on the environment. Direct impacts include the energy consumption from running software programs and data centres, leading to greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the exchange of data over networks and the cloud can also have an environmental impact due to the energy required for transmission and storage.
On the other hand, indirect impacts refer to the production and disposal of hardware. It includes servers, mobile devices, and other computer equipment, which generate electronic waste and contribute to pollution.
However, by applying green software engineering practices, developers may be able to reduce the environmental impact of app development and make their apps more sustainable.
Developing a greener app can be achieved through custom app development as it provides the flexibility to customise the solution according to specific requirements.
Let's explore some practical examples of actions that can be implemented during the app development process to enhance its sustainability and minimise its environmental impact:
After the introduction of eight green software engineering principles, they have been widely accepted as fundamental pillars ensuring software development's sustainability, functionality, and environmental friendliness.
Companies can significantly benefit from adhering to these principles as they provide a framework for creating environmentally responsible software applications. Here is a brief overview of what these principles entail:
The ecoCode plugin aims to reveal bad code practices, such as poor optimisation and memory leaks. It is compatible with Java 11 and higher and operates on docker. The plugin is already available for Android, iOS, Java, Python, and PHP.
You can check the list of Android/iOS best practices that the ecoCode development team refer to. Here is an extract of the rules for Android:
Here are the rules that have already been brought to Android:
There are more rules registered in the candidate rules list and not implemented yet.
At ELEKS, we decided to put the ecoCode plugin to the test on one of our projects.
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.WAKE_LOCK" /> turning on the screen that drains the battery.
Based on our experience with ecoCode, we can say that ecoCode is at the initial stage of development and still requires fine-tuning and expanding the code analysis rules. But from the results we received, you can already see what goals it sets for itself.
As the world strives to become more sustainable, green software engineering is emerging as a key player in developing solutions with minimal ecological footprints.
Companies have several options to ensure a greener solution, including taking actionable steps such as optimising code, integrating energy-efficient libraries, implementing power-saving features, etc.
Following eight green software engineering standards can also help establish a framework for environmentally responsible software development. Additionally, companies can opt for external tools that help ensure the code's eco-friendliness. Our investigation has shown that even though the ecoCode plugin is still in its early stages of development, it has the potential to help develop more sustainable applications.
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