Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Article

Coach Wei's "Direct From Web 2.0" Blog: The Converging Developer Community

"Of course, the community is shifting towards Ajax!"

At the AJAXWorld Conference & Expo and OpenAjax Alliance back to back meetings in Santa Clara, CA this week, it has been hard not to think about the developer community and how Web 2.0 is impacting it today.

Web development can be roughly divided into two camps:

  1. Website development;
  2. Web application development;

"Website development" is more concerned about content: presenting content, linking pages, delivering documents, and simple form-based interactions. The typical websites would fall into this category. "Web application development" is more about “application", the role of which is to provide and present data, interact with users and other systems, all governed by certain business logic. Though there is no clear-cut boundary between the two, there are distinct differences between them.

In the web development community, there are roughly four different categories of people:

  1. Web Architects: Architects are the gurus. They know object-oriented programming, EJB, database connection pooling, SOAP... and how different pieces/jargon can fit together. Architects go to conferences. In fact, I think most folks at AjaxWorld Conference are architects. Architects speak probably quite a few languages (Java, C#, PHP, for example) and use tools like Eclipse or VI to write code. Architects are hard to find and afford, but you do want to find and retain them. You don't want to offshore the responsibility of architects. In any large projects, there is only a very small percentage of people are architects, but they are the leading influencers and crucial to the success of projects.
  2. Web Developers: These are the developers who code JSP, Servlet, CSS and JavaScript etc. Actually, on the server side, most likely they are using PHP, Ruby, etc. The typical tools used are Eclipse (code development), Dreamweaver, text editor, etc. My estimate of the number of web developers worldwide is about 10 million people.
  3. Web Designers: These are the "creative professionals". They code HTML, DHTML, CSS, Flash and probably a little bit JavaScript. Their tools are DreamWeaver, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, etc. Most of the Flash developers belong to this category.
  4. Content Developers: these are the folks that provide content. They typically use word processors etc to produce the content and their technical involvement stops at HTML.

The web development community can be visualized in Figure 1. Web application development and site development typically require a different mix of people. Web application development requires considerable technical skills. Web site development projects require more resources on design and content development and may not even need architects.

Looking from an enterprise perspective, there is an enterprise application development community that has been historically different from the web community.

In the enterprise developer community:

  1. Architects: same as architects in the web community. In fact, these are typically the same group of people who are architects in the web community. My estimate of the total number of architects worldwide is in the order of a few hundred thousand people.
  2. Application Developers: these are the folks that deliver your typical desktop applications. They are the Visual Basic developers, J2SE developers, PowerBuilder developers, WinForm developers...The total number of application developers is about 10 million people.
  3. Business Analysts: different from application developers, business analysts are less technical but have a much higher level understanding of the specific business issues. Their job is to convert business needs into IT requirements and help facilitate the development of IT projects from the business user perspective. They use tools like Excel to do analysis and PowerPoint/Word to communicate. They also use tools like requirement management software to communicate with developers. My estimate of the total number of business analysts is in the order of tens of millions of people.
  4. UI Designers: UI designers are different from web designers because UI designers focus on desktop UI instead of web UI, though the two groups are converging into one.

The Convergence of Enterprise Development and Web Development

As the web becomes more entrenched in our daily life and business operations, enterprise application development is moving more and more onto the web environment. Historically, the technical limitation of the Web has limited the scope of web adoption for enterprise applications. For example, Forrester Research conducted a survey that shows 50%-60% of new application development projects are still being developed as Client/Server applications in 2003.  The rise of Web 2.0 technologies (Ajax, Enterprise Mashup Server, Universal Client Framework, Internet Messaging Bus,  Rich Internet Application, etc) finally removing these technical barriers.

With Web 2.0 technologies, the Web is capable of supporting all kinds of applications. As a result, the enterprise development community and the web community are converging into one - let's just call it the "developer community".

The Shifting Landscape: Open Web Technologies Win

Quite a few recent surveys have demonstrated the significant impact of Web 2.0 technologies on the developer community. Beyond the convergence of enterprise application development and web development, these surveys show significant trends in the growing adoption of open standards-based web technologies in lieu of technologies that are proprietary and not web-compatible.

Ajax Adoption and Server Side Platform Trends

Richard Monson-Hafael from the Burton Group conducted a survey (The raw results are here) on client side and server side toolkit/platform for Ajax. On the client side (the charts are generated by Ajaxian.com):

I must say that I was a little surprised that Dojo is not more popular than Script.aculo.us. I talked to Richard Monson-Hafael at AjaxWorld Conference 2006 about this. He said it could be the result of the sample pool not being big enough (865 participants).

Apache XAP (http://incubator.apache.org/xap) is not listed in the survey. XAP has not reached a production quality yet. I think XAP will have some significant impact on the web developer community after XAP reaches the next quality level.

On the server side, I am not surprised that PHP is the most popular one. Most Ajax adoption so far is for web site enhancement, where PHP is the most popular platform. Ajax adoption for web applications and enterprise applications are happening but significant adoption will not come until probably 2007.

I am actually fairly encouraged that Java is the 2nd most popular platform. First of all, it shows that Ajax is being adopted in web applications and enterprise applications, beyond being used in web sites, given that Java is typically used for powering interactive applications rather than the more content oriented web sites.  Secondly, Java's popularity is well above .NET. This shows that the developer community is embracing open, standards-based solutions.

Ajax to Overtake Flash in Web Projects

Ektron and SitePoint did a survey of 5,000 web developers and release a report entitled The State of Web Development 2006/2007. It is a great survey that contains lots of useful data. In particular, the following two charts demonstrate some significant trends, showing which web technologies developers and organizations are using now - and plan to use in future.

.

Interestingly, Ajax is actually fairly widely used today in web projects today. Wait until you see the next chart when asked the question "What technologies do you plan to use in 2007":

Note that the survey is more targeted at web site developers and less on web application developers (of course, much less on enterprise developers). Given that Website developers are the traditional strong base for Flash, it is extremely revealing how developers are moving away from Flash to Ajax. I believe if you were to survey application developers, the gap between Ajax and Flash-based technologies would be significantly bigger.

There is good converage on this worth oaking a look at:

InfoWorld: http://weblog.infoworld.com/techwatch/archives/008259.html

ReadWriteWeb: Ajax set to surpass Flash in '07 

I am not too surprised at the result and the trend. Ajax is open, standard-based and web-native. Flash is not open standards-based. Flash content is not native web content and has a lot of interoperability issues with other web technologies. Of course, the community is shifting towards Ajax!

More Stories By Coach Wei

Coach Wei is founder and CEO of Yottaa, a web performance optimization company. He is also founder and Chairman of Nexaweb, an enterprise application modernization software company. Coding, running, magic, robot, big data, speed...are among his favorite list of things (not necessarily in that order. His coding capability is really at PowerPoint level right now). Caffeine, doing something entrepreneurial and getting out of sleeping are three reasons that he gets up in the morning and gets really excited.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Dirt-Cheap-Web-Design.com 10/11/06 01:13:24 AM EDT

Trackback Added: The Impact of Web 2.0 - Developers Merge to One Web Community; I came across this interesting article from Coach Wei about the AJAXWorld Conference & Expo which was held last week in Santa Clara, CA. Coach was describing how the website developers and web application developers were moving onto a web environm...

Blog Monkey 10/07/06 09:09:18 PM EDT

Where do mainframe developers fit? How about QA/Testing folks? Further, how about the developers from software vendors?

queZZtion 10/07/06 03:29:28 PM EDT

If enterprise development and regular web development are converging, then what will be the effect on that trend so far as Microsoft is concerened. Is it good or bad for Redmond?

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...