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Where's i-Technology Headed in 2007?

Annual Poll of Industry Prognosticators

At the end of each year, when SYS-CON informally polls its globe-girdling network of software developers, industry executives, commentators, investors, writers, and editors, our question is always the same: where's the industry going next year?

Every time, the answers are surprisingly different from the year before, and of course throw 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 - all that good stuff.

Enjoy!

Ruby on Rails . JRuby . AJAX . Rules-Based Programming

JASON BELL
Enterprise Developer, Editorial Board Member, Java Developer's Journal

My predictions for 2006....

1.  Incremental mainstream adoption of Ruby on Rails
It's going to happen, isn't it? Keep an eye out for Sun's offering of JRuby. Whether this is the death of other open source scripting languages like Groovy remains to be seen. Ruby has been a wake-up call and has now drawn the line dividing serious scripting languages from "hobby" languages (ones that wouldn't see enterprise adoption). For me, my job just got a whole lot easier, a whole lot quicker.

2.  A slowdown in the AJAX hype
I think the shine has worn off. There are some nice applications about but at the end of the day it's a Web page with some very fancy JavaScript.

3.  2007 is the year of the business rule
Rules-based programming will be big business. With the likes of JBoss acquiring Drools it's certainly an area to keep an eye on.

LAMP . REST . ATOM . Apple

DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON
Creator of (Ruby on) Rails

1.  2007 will be the year where LAMPers finally decide to stop being neutral about the WS-* mess and pick the side of REST: the next wave of Web APIs will stop supplying both a SOAP and REST API and just go with the latter.

2.  On the leading edge, we'll see the same for RSS vs ATOM. For techies in the know, ATOM will become the assumed default syndication format and that'll mark the slow decline of RSS (though more as a technology than as a brand, RSS will remain synonymous with feeds).

3.  Apple will continue to trounce everyone else for the preferred geek platform. The stigma of being a Web programmer still using Windows will increase.

Vista . Office 2007 . Zune . AJAX . Ruby . Java . Ruby on Rails . Flash Memory

GARY CORNELL
Founder & Publisher, Apress

In no particular order:

  1. IE 7 will have a fast adoption curve and so Firefox will cease gaining market share.
  2. Vista will have a slow adoption curve.
  3. Office 2007 will have a slower adoption curve.
  4. Oh, the Zune will have no adoption curve.
  5. The AJAX bandwagon will gain even more speed.
  6. Ruby's momentum will slow down as Python and PHP frameworks to combat Rails grow in popularity.
  7. The open-sourcing of Java will have no effect whatsoever on Java's slow decline in favor of dynamic languages (Ruby, Python) and C#.
  8. Sales of high powered desktop will slow.
  9. Apple will no longer gain market share for its desktops and will stabilize at its current meaningless level.
  10. Ultra lightweight notebooks based on flash memory with instant on/off will start coming out in large numbers.
SOA & Web 2.0 . "Outside-In SOA" . Semantic Web . AJAX

DAVID S. LINTHICUM
CEO, The Linthicum Group

1.  The worlds of SOA and the Web 2.0 blur together. While many who think SOA don't think Web 2.0, and many who think Web 2.0 don't think SOA, those days will come to a fast end in 2007. So, what does this mean to those standing up SOAs today? It's clear that many of the services we consume and mange going forward will be services that exist outside of the enterprise, such as subscription services from guys like Salesforce.com, or perhaps emerging Web services marketplaces from guys like StrikeIron, Google, Amazon, and others. This is outside-in SOA, in essence reusing a service in an enterprise not created by that enterprise, much as we do today with information on the Web. Thus, those services outside of the enterprise existing on the Internet create a Universal SOA, ready to connect to your enterprise SOA, perhaps providing more value.

2.  The rise of the Semantic Web. The Semantic Web is the abstract representation of data on the World Wide Web, based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF) standards and other standards. Although this notion has been around for some time, in 2007 it will greatly affect how we design, build, and deploy Web 2.0 applications and SOAs, providing a mechanism to track and leverage application semantics, local and remote.

3.  Enterprise applications continue to move outside the enterprise. With the success of Salesforce.com and many others, we'll continue to see applications move to the Web including accounting, CRM, HR management, logistics, inventory management, etc. While many Global 2000 companies will fight this trend, the success of the younger and more nimble up-starts will drive this movement quickly.

4.  The success of AJAX drives traditional software back to the drawing boards. With the ability to finally provide dynamic rich content and applications over the Web, traditional software vendors will find that they need new products to play in this new world. Indeed, as Google Mail is giving Microsoft fits, so will other more innovative Web-delivered applications leveraging rich client technology such as AJAX. Entire interfaces will have to be rewritten to support AJAX, and end users will demand that we move away from traditional pump-and-pull HTTP programming.

Mobile AJAX . "Mobile Web 2.0" . SMS . LBS Flash Lite . On-Device Portals

LUCA PASSANI
Wireless Guru & Technology Evangelist, Openwave

Here are my predictions for 2007:

1.  AJAX will still be hyped, but we will still see no mobile AJAX-based killer apps, only proofs of concept.

2.  JAVA ME will not gain much more ground. Too fragmented. Games and some other apps. No killer apps though.

3.  What people call "Mobile Web 2.0" is not Web browsing. Saying that mobile and Web will converge is trendy in some environments these days. This is wrong and that's hardly surprising: people buy phones to make calls, not to browse the Web, so why should we expect phones to get so much better at browsing the Web?

4.  SMS will still represent 80% or more of data traffic. The rest will be downloads: ringtones, wallpapers and games. WAP will be mostly used as a discovery mechanism to get to those contents. Reformatting proxies to adapt Web content for mobile will be implemented by most operators. They will increase browsing a bit, but nothing earth-shattering.

5.  Not sure about Location-Based Services. LBS have been on the verge of explosion for some time now.

6.  Flash Lite will make significant progress in Europe and North America, also on operator portals.

7.  On-Device Portals are an interesting development: content gets pushed to devices while the user isn't watching and they may decide later to buy it or not. This will be trendy next here. It will be interesting to see which actual implementations of the concept deliver.

8.  More people will realize that device fragmentation is one of the main hurdles for mobile.

Flash Memory . AJAX Productivity . Red Hat . Vista Notebooks . Ubuntu

MARK HINKLE
Editor-in-Chief, Enterprise Open Source Magazine

Here are my predictions:

1.  Flash-bootable PCs - It's been a long-time coming but laptop PCs will start booting from flash memory. This will make a huge difference in battery life. Intel will lead the way pushing their NAND flash boot memory on a new laptop platform and Apple will be among the first to adopt. The One Laptop per Child initiative will also provide a demonstration of the first zero disk drive PCs albeit small. Devices like this will inspire creativity on higher end models especially as the price of non-volatile memory continues to drop.

2.  New Crop of AJAX Productivity Applications - While the buzz around AJAX may fade, the number of robust new AJAX-enabled applications will increase. These applications will be built on evolving AJAX frameworks like Dojo and Rico and commercially backed platforms like OpenLazlo. Of course every new start-up will be secretly hoping for Google to make a bid and join the family that has been expanded this year by Writely and Jotspot.

3.  Red Hat Will Become an Acquisition Target - Someone will make a bid on the #1 Linux vendor. Maybe Oracle who has done a number on the leading Linux vendor with Unbreakable Linux will take advantage of Red Hat's near 52-week low. Uncertainty and ambiguity in the enterprise Linux market will send Red Hat looking for another partner to avoid being swallowed by the DB maker. Maybe IBM will become Red Hat's white knight.

4.  Open Source Everywhere - More and more companies will open source legacy products and launch new ones under open source licenses. Database vendor Ingres is going to set the standard that other more conservative infrastructure vendors will follow. Look for new open source initiatives from major infrastructure vendors like BMC, VMware, and even Microsoft.

5.  Microsoft Vista Launch Will Boost Sales of Other OSes - Microsoft's launch of Vista will start to prompt hardware refreshes which can be nothing but good for Apple. Apple already has momentum, Intel hardware, dropping prices and all the tumblers are becoming aligned for it to creep above its measly 5% market share. Linux desktop vendors will likely see a few defectors from the Redmond camp, though big ships turn slowly. Look for Ubuntu to be the Linux desktop distribution of choice.

6.  Half of All New PCs Will Be Notebooks - PC buyers are buying more notebooks every quarter and sometime in 2007 the number of shipping notebooks will match the number of desktop PCs or come very close.

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Enterprise Open Source News Desk trawls the fast-growing world of Professional Open Source for business-relevant items of news, opinion, and insight.

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