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Java, .NET, SOA, Web Services, Linux, XML, Open Source and AJAX Predictions for 2006
SYS-CON Media's Annual Roundup of i-Technology Predictions from Around the Web

This is traditionally the time of year for SYS-CON Media's roundup of i-Technology predictions from around the Web and the year's harvest of thoughts and viewpoints. According to our worldwide network of software development activists, evangelists, and executives, 2006 promises to be a vintage year for software development...

Take Microsoft, for example: A new client OS is on the way, Microsoft Vista, due late in 2006, giving rise to the obvious question: Will the new cool 3D user interface be enough to move the user to upgrade? We'll see. Maybe the new built-in security, performance features, and integrated search will be enough to convince users - after all, why go to the Web if built-in Web-enabled services and integrated information search allow the Web to come to you?

Or consider the world of PDA devices. Everyone is looking for the next killer Palm or BlackBerry. But are they looking in the right direction for the next killer PDA? What about unexpected places - for example, Nintendo? Check out the new Nintendo DS: Could you imagine it running Pocket PC or Palm OS? That would make a very cool gadget. What about the iPod? Have you seen the new iTunes-enabled Cingular Phone? It could be closer than you think.

On the pages that follow you'll find the collected wisdom of some of the most acute prognosticators in the industry. As always with JDJ and SYS-CON Media, we don't ask pundits and sideline commentators but activists, folks whose connection with software development and/or the software industry is daily, intense, and driven by real-world concerns of ROI and the business case for innovation, not just innovation for innovation's sake.

As ever, please don't hesitate send us your own thoughts. "None of us is as smart as all of us," they say, a philosophy that has even spawned a book (The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki,). We will publish a roundup of readers' predictions in the February issue of Java Developer's Journal.

Let's begin this year's roundup with the predictions for 2006 of Mitchell Kertzman, now at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners but still famous for having been the founder and CEO of Powersoft, which merged with Sybase in February 1995. When someone with over 30 years of experience as a CEO of public and private software companies tips LAMP, for example, it lends a certain credence to an already strong trend that we have sought to cover in SYS-CON Media's various publications such as LinuxWorld Magazine and over at OpenSourceEnterprise.com.

MITCHELL KERTZMAN
AJAX, LAMP, Virtualization, SaaS, Open Source

Since I'm in venture capital now, I try to put my (and others') money where my mouth is, so my predictions will tend to match up with my portfolio.

In no particular order:

  1. Rich application interfaces, including (but not exclusively) AJAX. Enterprise developers/IT managers have finally realized that the browser interface was a step backward to the 3270 and forms mode. That was good enough for a while, but not anymore.
  2. LAMP in the enterprise. If you follow my portfolio company, ActiveGrid, you'll find one of the leaders of the J2EE app server market now offering a far easier-to-build and less-expensive-to-deploy platform.
  3. Virtualization. With three strong virtualization platforms (VMWare, Microsoft Virtual Server, and XenSource) now available, there will be more and more software products built not on traditional hardware/software platforms but on virtualized platforms. Check out Akimbi Sys- tems, which provides a very exciting application for QA and testing in the enterprise.
  4. 2006 will be the year of acceptance of the importance of roles in the world of identity management and provisioning. Bridgestream is the leader in role management integrating with the leaders in identity management, directory services, and provisioning.
  5. The two trends that will not be new for 2006 but that will continue their growth are Software as a Service (SaaS) or on-demand software and open source, which continues to find acceptance in the enterprise.
Our next set of predictions comes from Jim Milbery, CTO for Chicago Growth Partners in Chicago with 30-plus companies under his wing (.NET, Java, ColdFusion, Python - "you name it," as he says). He also acts as the "virtual CTO" for a number of companies in his portfolio.

JIM MILBERY
SANs, AJAX, Web 2.0, Blog consolidation, InfoSec

  1. Data storage: The proliferation of blogs and the raw size of XML documents (and everything is XML these days) are going to drive us to a new emphasis on storage (SANs in particular).
  2. AJAX everywhere: IE gets new life out of the proliferation of AJAX. More high-profile sites are going to adopt AJAX as a means of extending the life of the browser in the near term. We may even see the return of some application-development tools around AJAX (something more than just component libraries).
  3. Dashboard apps: Even with the proliferation of AJAX we are going to see a serious rise in client-specific apps that are based on Web 2.0 technologies - think iTunes.
  4. Blogging acid-reflux: The massive interest in blogging continues to rise, but reliance and confidence in individual blogs sags; high-profile blogs that are industry-specific begin to dominate and provide a bit of "editing" to the process.
  5. William Strunk Jr. rolls over in his grave: The illustrious author of The Elements of Style officially rolls over in his grave. I thought that basic writing skills were bad as seen in e-mail documents, but blogging takes things to a whole new level of poor grammar and punctuation.
  6. Information security: We start to get serious about protecting applications during the coding process, not just as an afterthought.
Next up is Alan Williamson, technology evangelist for SpikeSource and distinguished former editor-in-chief of JDJ, as well as chief architect of BlueDragon.

ALAN WILLIAMSON
Java, BitTorrent, Googlecrash, Adobe, IE

Here are my modest predictions for 2006:

  1. Java has been in the dark for the past few years; its time to come back around again is here. Sun has some interesting initiatives in the pipeline.
  2. The movie industry will wake up to BitTorrent (and the likes) and actually figure out a way to utilize this revolution instead of trying to close it down. You can't push back the tide. The BBC is going to be launching BBC2 as the first broadband television channel in 2006.
  3. Google shares fall or even crash. Everything that goes up has to come down and, contrary to popular belief, they aren't the biggest player on the Internet and people will start distrusting them as Microsoft and Yahoo! crank up their offerings.
  4. In fear of Microsoft Vista (and AJAX), Adobe will offer all Flash development tools for free, which will result in a major surge in adoption.
  5. IE7 will probably more than likely eclipse Firefox again.
J.P. Morgenthal, managing partner for the IT consultancy Avorcor and the author of Enterprise Information Integration: A Pragmatic Approach, is as usual very forthright in his foresight.

J.P. MORGENTHAL
VPMNs, AJAX, VoIP Phones, SaaS, Semantic Technologies

  1. Private mail networks: With people getting slammed I believe we will see the rise of VPMN (Virtual Private Mail Networks). Essentially, these are analogous to VPNs, allowing private network traffic to run over the public backbone. They use common SMTP protocols to deliver mail, but unless you have permission to send mail to the recipient the mail will be rejected.
  2. AJAX: We will see the rise of even stronger support for more powerful portable client-based applications based on Web protocols.
  3. Composite applications: With the rise of SOA and BPM, it's going to get even easier to develop applications that require less low-level coding skills and that are more flexible and can respond faster to changes in business.
  4. VoIP phones: Advancements and growth in high bandwidth wireless networking means that wireless devices will be IP addressable, which means that the next wave of phones will leverage the public Internet for phone communications and common WAN/LAN. Windows CE and Palm devices will be able to provide voice services. Gone are the days of buying a phone dedicated to a single network provider.
  5. Self-publishing: Garth Brooks and Wal-Mart, LuLu, MusikMafia. These names all represent a rise in successful self-publishing. Books, magazines, and music are all media that are being self-published over the Internet. Soon, this will be expanding to software as Software as a Service (SaaS) becomes more popular.
  6. Metadata: Metadata is finally being recognized as a critical enterprise asset. It's now being managed properly and leveraged for its properties for automation.
  7. Semantic technologies: People and organizations are finally starting to see the value in being able to describe data in context and defining the relationships between data. Semantic technologies enhance and extend the basic power realized by relational database technologies to data anywhere in the world.
JDJ's enterprise editor, Yakov Fain, has 10 predictions, several of them directly involving Java.
About 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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