elmarschraml.com

Occasionally updated personal site and blog

Technology radar, fall 2011 edition

Rising stars:

iOS Development
The iphone is still hot, the iPad is hot and established by now, plus now the mac app store gets Joe Sixpack buying applications on the mac. What’s news is that due to the success of the iphone, even large conservative companies are really starting to realize they need to “do something with mobile”.

Android development
The phones still suck, but it gets used on tablets, ebookreaders,and all kinds of other devices. Two years ago it was “cool, we have an iphone app”, last year it was “of course we have an iphone app”, now it’s increasingly “of course we also have an android app”.

HTML5
Most people talking about HTML5 actually mean ajax web apps. Or “by now we can actually replace desktop apps with web apps”. The most important factor are probably not the new javascript and media APIs, but simply the fact that with IE9, MS finally mostly gets their shit together.

Amazon Web Services
Spot instances, cheaper S3, beanstalk, aws for government – it’s hard to even keep track of all the innovations coming out of amazon. Most enterprises are still extremely suspicious of cloud hosting, but for a start-up it seems almost more unusual not to run on EC2.

Javascript
Seriously. There’s a lot more to it than window.open, and libraries like jquery or extjs make it non-painful to use. It’s not like you have a choice when it comes to client-side scripting (except, more or less, for coffeescript). And the browser is only the most widely deployed platform in the world. Also: quasi-native mobile web apps. Also: node.js for js on the server. Also: Rhino, and, in Java7, invokedynamic, to run js on the JVM. Also: couchdb for js within databases.

Write-offs:

Silverlight
Even Microsoft says Html5 is the future.

Symbian
Duh. Kind of kept alive with government funds, but Nokia finally realized it’s dead.

Google Wave
Already pretty much killed by google by now. Too bad, I kinda liked it.
Flash
In the short run, not going anywhere. But what does the fact that Adobe published an animation tool for Html5 tell you about the long-term future chances of Flash?
Soap/Schema/WS-*
A very long way from dead, since it’s used everywhere in the enterprise. But very few people would willingly use it over REST, and new deployments or standardizations on SOAP are rare. Strange for me to say, since I do a lot of work with Soap, but good riddance.

Question marks:

Erlang
It looked like the next Rails for a moment in 2008 or so, then was not really heard from again. Rule of thumb: languages with weird-looking syntax rarely go mainstream (see also: Lisp). Also: really sucky string handling. But the concurrency stuff is still super neat.

Closure
Finally a Lisp that will spread beyond Lisp fans? I wouldn’t bet on it. Still too many parenthesis for my taste. But seems to gain a lot of traction lately.

Go
Finally a new systems language. Too bad there’s not a whole lot of new OSs being written right now. But seems to spread into non-system applications, like AppEngine web apps.

NoSQL
Is there any web startup that does not use it? But it’s not clear yet if a single one, and which one, and which kind, will dominate.

Git
By far the most prominent DVCS, and the most pure implementation of the DVCS concepts. There’s a lot of submarine projects, like single developers using it locally as a subverson proxy. But will a tool designed by and for kernel hackers go mainstream? I like Git, but it’s using up too much complexity-handling brainpower that I’d rather spend on the code itself.

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