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i-Technology 2008 Predictions: Where's RIAs, AJAX, SOA and Virtualization Headed in 2008?

SYS-CON's Annual i-Technology Predictions Round-Up

2007 was undoubtedly the year of Social Networking, but what of 2008? Will '08 be the year of "Unified Communications" or the year when CMS comes to stand for "Community Management System" - or even "Collaboration Management System"? Or will it be the year of a giga-merger, to beat the mere mega-mergers of 2007?

As usual at the end of each year, SYS-CON has been informally polling its globe-girdling network of software developers, industry executives, commentators, investors, writers, and editors. As always, the range and depth of their answers is fascinating, throwing light not just on where the industry is going but also how it's going to get there, why, because of who, within what kind of time-scale.

Enjoy!
RIAs versus AJAX . Ruby on Rails . PHP . Facebook Competitors 

TIM BRAY
Director of Web Technologies, Sun

Tim Bray managed the Oxford English Dictionary project at the University of Waterloo in 1987-1989, co-founded Open Text Corporation (Nasdaq:OTEX) in 1989, launched one of the first public web search engines in 1995, co-invented XML 1.0 and co-edited "Namespaces in XML" between 1996 and 1999, founded Antarctica Systems (antarctica.net) in 1999, and served as a Tim Berners-Lee appointee on the W3C Technical Architecture Group in 2002-2004.

My predictions for 2008....

1. There's a major struggle going on between "RIAs" (Rich Internet Applications) and AJAX, which tries to do everything in the browser using just what the browser ships with. RIA frameworks are AIR ("Flash, the Next Generation"), Silverlight ("Microsoft wants in") and JavaFX ("Isn't open-source better?") I'm not brave enough to predict who wins, but I do predict that 2008 will be a crucial year; either RIAs enter the mainstream, or they start to smell like a red herring left in the sun.

2. The strain due to the fact that most business desktops are locked into the Microsoft platform, at a time when both the Apple and GNU/Linux alternatives are qualitatively safer, better, and cheaper to operate, will start to become impossible to ignore.

3. Rails will continue to grow at a dizzying speed, and Ruby will in consequence inevitably become one of the top two or three strategic choices for software developers. But at the same time, other frameworks and toolsets are learning its lessons, so Rails will get some serious competition.

4. PHP will remain popular but its growth will slow, as people get nervous about its maintainability and security stories.

5. There will be massive, newsworthy, churn in the social-networking space, as Facebook creaks under the strain of its own size and growth, and nimbler competitors find chinks in its armor.

See next pages for predictions from: Joshua Allen, Microsoft; Dr Adam Kolawa, Parasoft; Eric Newcomer, IONA Technologies; Bill Roth, BEA Systems; Brad Abrams, Microsoft; Kevin Hoffman, iPhone Developer's Journal; Ian Thain, Sybase; Yakov Fain, Farata Systems.

AJAXWorld - March 18-20, 2008, New York City
The first one of the upcoming SYS-CON conferences is AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008 East, which will take place March 18-20, in New York City. Last year more than 70 companies sponsored it, including 3Tera, Addison-Wesley, Adobe, Apress, Backbase, Bindows, Conference Guru, Cynergy Systems, Dynamic Toolbar, Extension Media, Farata Systems, Flash Goddess, FrogLogic, GoingToMeet.com, Google, Helmi Technologies, IBM, ICEsoft, ILOG, IT Mill, Ittoolbox, JackBe, JetBrains, Kaazing, Krugle, Laszlo Systems, Lightstreamer, Manning Publications, Methods & Tools, Microsoft, Nexaweb, OpenSpot, OpSource, Oracle, Parasoft, Passport Corporation, PushToTest, Quasar Technologies, Rearden Commerce, Servoy, SmartClient / Isomorphic Software, SnapLogic, Sun Microsystems, TechTracker Media, Tele Atlas, The Thomson Corporation, ThinWire, TIBCO Software, TileStack, Universal Mind, Vertex Logic, Web Spiders, and Webtide.

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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