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The Shape of i-Technology To Come: Predictions for 2006

Software Development Activists, Evangelists, Gurus, and Executives Speak Out

According to SYS-CON Media's worldwide network of software development activists, evangelists and executives - including the creator of Ruby on Rails, David Heinemeier Hansson  - 2006 promises to be a vintage year for software development...

Take Microsoft, for example: A new client OS is on the way, Microsoft Vista, due late in 2006, giving rise to the obvious question: will the new cool 3D user interface be enough to move user to upgrade? We’ll see. Maybe the new built-in security, performance features, and integrated search will be enough to convince users – after all, why go to the Web if built-in web-enabled services and integrated information search allow the Web to come to you?

Or consider the world of PDA Devices. Everyone is looking for the next killer Palm or BlackBerry.  But are they looking in the right direction for the next killer PDA? What about unexpected places – for example Nintendo?  Check out the new Nintendo DS: could you imagine it running Pocket PC or Palm OS? That would make a very cool gadget. And what about iPod, have you seen the new iTunes-enabled Cingular Phone? It could be closer than you think.

On the pages which follow you will find the collected wisdom of some of the most acute prognosticators in the industry. As always with JDJ and SYS-CON Media, we ask not pundits and sideline commentators but activists, folks whose connection with software development and/or the software industry is daily, intense, and driven by real-world concerns of ROI and the business case for innovation, not just innovation for innovation’s sake.

As ever, please don’t hesitate let us have your own thoughts. “None of us is as smart as all of us,” they say, a philosophy that has even spawned a book*. We will publish a round-up of Readers’ Predictions in the February issue of Java Developer's Journal.

Let’s begin this year’s round-up with the predictions for 2006 of Mitchell Kertzman, now at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners but still famous for having been the founder and CEO of Powersoft, which merged with Sybase in February 1995. When someone with over 30 years of experience as a CEO of public and private software companies tips LAMP, for example,  it lends a certain credence to an already strong trend that we have sought to cover in SYS-CON Media’s various publications such as LinuxWorld Magazine and over at OpenSourceEnterprise.com.

 
MITCHELL KERTZMAN: AJAX, LAMP, Virtualization, SaaS, Open Source

Since I’m in venture capital now, I try to put my (and others’) money where my mouth is, so my predictions will tend to match up with my portfolio.
 
In no particular order:
 
1.  Rich application interfaces, including (but not exclusively) AJAX.  Enterprise developers/IT managers have finally realized that the browser interface was a step backward to the 3270 and forms mode. That was good enough for a while, but not anymore.
 
2.  LAMP in the enterprise. If you follow my portfolio company, ActiveGrid, you’ll find one of the leaders of the J2EE app server market now offering a far easier to build and less-expensive to deploy platform.
 
3.  Virtualization. With three strong virtualization platforms (VMWare, Microsoft Virtual Server and XenSource) now available, there will be more and more software products built not on traditional hardware/software platforms, but on virtualized platforms. Check out Akimbi Systems, which provides a very exciting application for QA and test in the enterprise.
 
4.  2006 will be the year of acceptance of the importance of roles in the whole world of identity management and provisioning. Bridgestream is the leader in role management integrating with the leaders in identity management, directory services and provisioning.
 
5.  The two trends that will not be new for 2006 but which will continue their growth are Software as a Service (SaaS) or on-demand software and Open Source, which continues to find acceptance in the enterprise.
 

Our second prognosticator is David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Rails a.k.a. Ruby on Rails, who will be joining Jesse James Garrett on the faculty of SYS-CON's pioneering "Real-World AJAX" One-Day Seminar on March 13, 2006 in New York City. Just like Kertzman, Heinemeier put AJAX center-stage in his predictions, which culminate with a No. 5 reflecting a lively sense of end-of-year humor.


DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON:

1. The most important business applications will be hosted. Companies with more leg in the 21st than the 20th century will be running their most important applications online. The business won’t identify with Office or Windows, but with applications like Basecamp and GMail. It’ll become a legitimate question to ask why non-tech companies would bother running their own infrastructure.

2. AJAX becomes the rule, not the exception. Most new web-applications will launch with varying degrees of AJAX usage. Those that doesn’t will be berated for it and quickly scramble to do it by version 1.1. This will put more pressure on development environments to support AJAXdevelopment in their core. Those that doesn’t will lose mindshare.

3. Tags will shed cool, but gain prevalence. We will stop to notice the use of tagging by its presence and start being annoyed by its absence. All new collaboration, organization, and management tools will employ tags as a standard part of how things are done.

4. “Enterprise” follows “legacy” to the standard dictionary of insults favored by software creators and users. Enterprise software vendors’ costs will continue to rise while the quality of their software continues to drop. There will be a revolt by the people who use the software (they want simple, slim, easy-to-use tools) against the people who buy the software (they want a fat feature list that’s dressed to impress). This will cause Enterprise vendors to begin hemorrhaging customers to simpler, lower-cost solutions that do 80% of what their customers really need (the remaining 20% won’t justify the 10x -100x cost of the higher priced enterprise software “solutions”). By the end of 2006 it will be written that Enterprise means bulky, expensive, dated, and golf.

5. Ruby on Rails achieves world-wide mindshare domination. Ruby book sales jumps another 500%, half the new Web 2.0’ish companies launch using Rails, RailsConf sells 400 seats in record time, three major companies announce baked-in support or services for Rails, and all major vendors dealing with web-technology starts talking about how they will either work with Rails or put their own stack “on Rails.”

Register here for SYS-CON's "Real-World AJAX" One-Day Seminar in New York City, March 13, 2006, Featuring Jesse James Garrett, David Heinemeier Hansson, Rob Gonda, and others.
 



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* James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations

 

Turn to Next Page for 2006 Predictions from Jim Milbery, Eric Newcomer, Alan Williamson, Danny Ayers, and JP Morgenthal...

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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