Technology commentators and analysts love to try and predict which pieces of technology terminology are going to become extinct. They revel in theorizing over which elements of our tech vocabulary are going to become so subsumed and absorbed into the fabric of the way systems work that we no longer talk about them.
A prime candidate for this sentence to "death by absorption" is cloud computing.
Tech vendors like to talk about the "commoditization of cloud computing" where cloud becomes an integral part of all computer systems and devices to the same degree as the CPU, the operating system kernel and other "assumed" elements of architecture.
In truth, this is the cloud hosting vendors and database firms trying to simply normalize our perception of cloud such that we don't even question its use at the central hub of our technology architectures.
Redundancy & Extinction
It is in fact pretty tough to work out which technology term will truly be made redundant next. Any search for "tech term redundancy" simply gives you an explanation of where redundancy is used (in a good way) in system design to explain where a component (such as a server or processor) is duplicated so if it fails there will always be a backup.
The only really redundant terms that have already come to pass are perhaps web surfing, PDA, weblog, long distance call, Internet-based telephony and/or even (heaven forbid) anyone who chooses to utter the phrase ‘world wide web' in full.
In truth, the next technology term that could be about to become redundant (once again, in a good way) is Agile.
We refer to Agile in the sense of the highly iterative people-centric approach to software application development and delivery. Agile computing as decreed in the Agile manifesto back in 2001 focuses on simple programming code with lots of testing and the imperative to deliver any functional parts of a piece of software as soon as they are ready.
In recent years, Agile has been extending outward from simply being a term used by programmers to applying to all so-called "stakeholders," i.e., a rather contrived marketing style term simply meaning "people with an interest" it would appear.
Everyone has to be Agile (we're still using CAPS, yes we know) and that means technical project staff at all levels but also external stakeholders (gosh, yes, there is more than one kind of stakeholder) including management, customers, users, subject matter experts and even other development teams.
The theory then goes, once everyone is Agile, then there is no other way and we don't need to call it out as a specific work practice or discipline.
Is the Agile Way the Only Way?
Is the Agile way the only way? Every major vendor worth its space has an Agile offering or component of some form. Agility is all about real-time information from our systems being fed back into the development process via the use of analytics, which are very often presented in the form of dashboards. A good Agile management solution is in and of itself Agile and on-demand in the first place, i.e., delivered via the cloud (remember those?) in a Software-as-a-Service framework that is eminently controllable.
Making predictions conjecture in this arena is always an enjoyable pursuit, but we need to be careful not to write off any single term as extinct, legacy or redundant in any way before its time. We might be on the cusp of getting used to contactless credit cards, but cash registers still exist today in 2013 pretty much just as they did back in 1879 when they first arrived.
Agile isn't really going away or becoming extinct or even "commoditized" if you will. It may now become that much more normalized though and this could see it become more engrained into the fabric of our technology and our wider business systems. If you really want to kill something off today, try fax machines, record turntables and CB radios and leave it at that.
© 2008 SYS-CON Media Inc.