Leaf (EST. 1987) – 30 Year Technology Retrospective

30 Year Technology Retrospective
Matt Moberly – Internship 1997

Leaf Software Solutions is proud to be celebrating our 30th anniversary providing technology solutions to our clients. With major changes happening on a constant basis, it is easy to lose sight at how much technology has grown over the course of multiple decades. We decided to take this opportunity to revisit some of the major shifts that have happened within our industry over the past 30 years, how Leaf has adapted to these changes, and trends we see emerging now in 2017.

The story of Joseph Graves Associates starts in the heyday of the original IBM PC. The PC AT shown above was driven by a 286 CPU that contained 134,000 transistors and performed an average of 2.66 million instructions per second. Compare this to a modern Intel i7 Haswell processor at 1.4 billion transistors that performs around 238,000 million instructions per second. That means that an average desktop computer is 90,000 times faster than the PCs used when Leaf began.

From a project perspective, our company launched as the industry was shifting from centralized, mainframe-based computing to distributed PC-based computing. As the 80s rolled over to the 90s, employees at Joseph Graves Associates were providing services across a wide variety of client sizes ranging from accounting services, staff augmentation, and custom development.

The next major shift happened in the early to mid nineties as the Internet became widespread. When Leaf began, the standard for business communications was a 2400 baud modem. In 1995, a typical business might have a 1.5 megabit connection, 685 times faster than the modem. A standard internet connection of 1 gigabit today is 500,000 times faster than network speeds prevalent when Leaf was founded.

As the Internet became a household name, Leaf began providing web development services to adapt to the needs of its clients. Microsoft Visual Basic was a popular platform, and many of Leaf’s clients included traditional companies that were realizing the potential of the efficiencies gained by incorporating computers and networks into their everyday business processes.

2007 saw the release of the first smartphones from companies such as Blackberry and the Apple iPhone. Smartphones have changed many aspects of our business and personal communications. From a technology perspective, many of us are carrying around phones in our pocket that have roughly the processing power of a Cray supercomputer that filled an entire room in 1987.

As mobile and cloud technologies have matured in the past decade, Leaf has made this transition as well. Many of the large-scale custom development projects that Leaf undertakes contain elements of cloud and/or mobile development. We have active projects being built with single-page app (SPA) frameworks and cloud-native architectures using technologies such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). The variety of technologies in our portfolio is continuously growing, from Microsoft .NET to open-source technologies such as JavaScript, Ruby and Python.

Leaf has been around to participate in some amazing technology enhancements over the past 30 years. Many other industry shifts are underway, and we plan to post about them on Leaf’s brand new technical blog.

Expect to see a wide variety of topics including:

  • Cloud-native and serverless applications
  • Continuous build and deployment automation
  • Rapid prototyping practices
  • Internet of things