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i-Technology Predictions for 2007: Where's It All Headed?

SYS-CON Media's 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 2007....

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.

IT Enabled Services . Web TV . Visual AJAX IDE Microsoft Atlas . Apache XAP

COACH WEI
Founder, Chairman, & CTO, NexaWeb

Here are my submissions:

  1. IT Enabled Services is going to fly high in 2007. As a result, we will see:
    a.  A lot more venture capital investments into IT Enabled Services;
    b.  Of course, a lot of startup activities in IT Enabled Services (new company creation, merger and acquisition);
    c.  There will be some significant moves made by "traditional, big companies" into IT Enabled Services too. For example, some of the possibilities are:
    i.  Massive reality shows on the Web, instead of being on TV. Can you imagine "American Idol" on the Web? Speaking of this, I think highly of Yahoo's initiative into this area, including its recent acquisition of Bix.
    ii.  A major entertainment company (NBC, ABC, etc.) fully embracing Web TV.

  2. AJAX grows up - which means the following are available and useable:
    a.  Visual AJAX IDE (solving the ease-of-development issue. Most likely based on Eclipse ATF);
    b.  Declarative AJAX Framework (solving the ease-of-development issue. Most likely based on Microsoft Atlas and Apache XAP);
    c.  Adoption of AJAX within less leading-edge enterprises.
    d.  AJAXWorld Conference overtakes JavaOne conference. JavaOne is being renamed as JavaScriptOne Conference.

  3. Growing adoption of Web 2.0 technologies within the enterprise
    a.  Enterprise Mashup Server emerges as a product category.
    b.  Less leading-edge companies start to adoption Web 2.0 technologies.

  4. The IPO market shows signs of opening up
    a.  One or two Web 2.0 companies go public, the majority of the exits are acquisitions.
    b.  An increase of IPO filings and going public.




    See next page for 2007 predictions from:

    • Microsoft's JOHN EVDEMON
    • BILL DUDNEY of Eclipse Developer's Journal
    • Parasoft Co-Founder & CEO, ADAM KOLAWA
    • BOB ZUREK, Director of Advanced Technologies with IBM Information Integration Solutions
    • TONY WASSERMAN, Professor of Software Engineering Practice at Carnegie Mellon West
    • RICHARD MONSON-HAEFEL, Award-Winning Author & Senior Analyst, Burton Group

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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Most Recent Comments
Emilio Bernabei 01/02/07 12:08:46 PM EST

I think Brandon Harper touched on a very important trend that was not covered enough. What will the "multicore arms race" do to the Java development process? Esp when looking at building data-intensive applications (non-OLTP; non-J2EE).

2007 is the age of Java on multicore and I suggest we all start using frameworks that leverage parallelism, enabling very efficient and fast-running data processing Java apps to be created more easily.

http://www.pervasivedatarush.com is just one example of such a NEW framework for 2007.

Googlified 12/31/06 01:39:06 AM EST

get your Google 2007 Predictions here: http://googlified.com/2006google-2007-predictions-part-ii/

Whoswrong 12/31/06 01:16:21 AM EST

While we're talking IT predictions let's not forget the famous one by Thomas Watson, the
Former Chairman of IBM:

'I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.'

Viceroy Potatohead 12/31/06 01:13:39 AM EST

Ugh. A couple of other predictions for 2007:

1. Entertainment writers will spend the last week of 2007 wracking their brains for meaningless, top-ten-list, fluff pieces in order to receive their next paychecks.

2. The apparent MS astroturfing campaign will continue on /. unabated.

3. Apologists for the upcoming Vista horrorshow will continue to denounce MS critics as zealots.

4. A new branch of mathematics (VERIZONMATH) will dominate industry calculations, leading to much hijinx, and ultimately, total economic collapse.

5. Richard Stallman will learn to levitate, leading to much hijinx, and ultimately, total economic collapse.

symbolset 12/31/06 01:08:56 AM EST

Here's my set of predictions.

Lots of folks will make money -- in old realiable and new creative ways. Some of them will go to jail for it eventually. Most will not.

Transcoding video is the killer app for multicore and beyond. The studios aren't coming to market fast enough to deliver the universally playable content that users want, and users are ready to pay thousands for a pc that converts the media they already have.

Linux and OSX will continue to take share from the Borg, slowly. More slowly than they should.

Vista will be revealed to be as buggy and spyware prone as every other MS OS, for the same reason -- it's developed by the same braindamaged marketdroids who brought us all the others. Microsoft is lucky most of us have no other choice.

A great many flackalysts will comment on the invincibility of Vista, Microsoft, IBM, Sun and every other major vendor, and their paid commentary is worth exactly what the company's glossy fliers are -- not even useful as toilet paper.

The winner in the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD wars will be... Monitor makers. Your powerpoint never looked so lovely as it does in 1080p

Nova Express 12/31/06 01:07:13 AM EST

1. Apple will release several cool new products.
2. A Windows security hole will be discovered.
3. Internet use will increase.
4. Zune will not overtake the iPod.
5. The prices of hard drives and DRAM will continue to fall.
6. The circulation of print newspapers will continue to decline.
7. Interest groups will raise a stink over violence in video games.
8. A major technology company will introduce a new form of DRM...which will fail miserably.
9. The next version of Mac OS X will be visually and technically superior to Windows Vista.
10. Duke Nukem Forever will not be released.

I know I'm going out on a limb here, but trust me. I'm a science fiction writer. I *can* see the future!

Mike Peat 12/19/06 06:48:26 AM EST

Richard Monson-Haefel has it right!

JDJ News Desk 12/15/06 12:05:10 PM EST

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?

Jason 12/15/06 07:09:55 AM EST

I have some predictions as to the technologies that may finally make it market.

1 Terabyte Hard Drives

With perpendicular storage tech already in use for 750 GB hard drives, we're only a platter or two away from the terabyte mark. If you want braggin' rights around the watercooler, this is up there.

2 Mainstream Quad Core Processors

Speaking of impressing the coworkers, quad cores are THE new chip to have. While the Q6700 is out from Intel, it's hardly commonplace. This will change as new, more affordable quad cores get released from Intel. I'm also sure that AMD will release their own quads as well. Start saving up for the new build, these will be sweet systems with power to spare (at least for a week or two).

3 Windows Vista (Finally!)

After more delays than anyone can keep track of, a new version of Windows is imminent. "Start me up!" and get ready to download a whole new set of patches and service packs. 2007 will be the year that Vista comes to market. Really.

4 Direct X 10 Graphics Cards

I'm no gamer, but I see magazines and sites all abuzz of the new cards supporting Direct X 10. This will be the new standard, with all the other stuff going out of date. For us nongamers, it might be a good time to pick up a bargain on a Direct X 9 card…

5 Wireless N Gear

After pre-N gear, followed by draft-N, the only thing left is, we...real N. Is this the year we finally get it? Your guess is as good as mine, but don't count on today's stuff being upgradeable. In the meantime, avoid paying top dollar for "draft 2.0" interim products which use manufacturer specific technologies that won't eventually conform to "the standard" leaving us out in the cold, and a specification behind.

6 True Video iPod

We've all seen the images and discussions of what has been dubbed the "true video iPod." The most recent interim update of the iPod has only made us want it even more. I'm not sure if we're getting the True Video iPod this year, but the Zune might just hasten things a wee bit (iPods were on a holiday special on Black Friday which would have been a ridiculous thought a year or two ago).

7 iPhone

This is another long anticipated product that hasn't hit the market - yet. It looks like there is enough demand that a shiny white phone with a scroll wheel just might be ringing with your number soon.

8 Wireless USB

The promise of short wireless connections is quite alluring. For whatever reasons, Bluetooth is limited to cell phones and a few other devices. Anything that will get rid of at least some of the spaghetti of wires under my desk (which often spills onto the desk), with the reliability and speed of USB is welcome. I'm not holding my breath on this one, but it would be very cool, and keep the clumsy among us from tripping so much.

9 Linux Palm

The Palm T/X is over a year old, and there is no replacement as of now for the holidays. The new Palm is rumored to abandon the Palm OS for a custom version of Linux. This is sure to make it even easier to hack the open source OS. I doubt they're going to let the current Palm go beyond two years without a replacement, so look for this in the second half of '07.

Daniel Lemire 12/15/06 06:43:16 AM EST

We will see something like Google Games.

We will see something like Google Slides/PowerPoint. Google will offer a full office suite on the Web and it will be pretty good for 80% of the office tasks.

Governments will take tougher measures to stop spam and other illegal online behavior. We will see a lot more cybercops around.
Television will become more irrelevant than ever.

Apple will continue to grow and gain mindshare.

Since all machines will be connected all the time on the Web, OS-agnostic Web-based office software will be a big deal by the end of 2007 and it will start to make a dent in Microsoft's monopoly to the point where Microsoft will have to acknowledge it and start reacting, in some way. We will come to see this as the end of an era: the operating system and office software will become secondary.

The Open Document Format will gain some real mindshare, mostly in Europe.

Ontologies, queries by natural language processing, Semantic Web, all these things will fail to make a dent in Google's monopoly.

Blogging will still be popular. Maybe the number of blogs will go down, but the quality of the remaining blogs will be good and the technology will improve. There will be tricks beyond ping/talkback to network the various blogs.

Occidental universities will increasingly focus on continuing education. We will see more and more quality offers to complete ones education with a master degree or certificate taken online. While it has been a secondary, and not so interesting, cash cow so far, it will become a vital issue in many universities as the number of foreign students starts to diminish.

Video blogging will be common: I'll be subscribed to at least two video blogs.

Videoconferencing will be mainstream. My wife, my colleagues will be using it regularly. We will finally have phones with pictures though we will be using our computers to get the desired effect.

Within academia, posting talks on the web using digital video will become common.

The WS-* SOA stack will still go nowhere.

For less than $4000, I will be able to buy a PC or the equivalent, with 10 TB of storage.

Carrying a laptop will be out. People will carry tiny computers, as cell phones are, but laptops are too large to be convenient. With most of our data and applications on the Web, we will stop breaking our backs.

Hotels will start offering nice computers you use to do real work.

Tom Muphy 12/15/06 06:20:34 AM EST

"My doctor has advised me to cut back on predictions."

Conor Cruise O'Brien (1917 - )

InOtherNews 12/15/06 03:32:05 AM EST

One of Gartner's top 10 predictions for 2007 is that the number of bloggers will level off in the first half of next year at roughly 100 million worldwide.

Bulls-eye! 12/14/06 06:40:28 PM EST

Bill Dudney is spot on [from the article]: "AJAX will continue to gain momentum as folks continue to have the epiphany that Web 1.0 UI is not good for users. Overuse of the technology will be a real problem. JSF will finally start to become a de facto as well as actual standard due to its ease of integration with AJAX."

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