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Tech CEOs: Article

Where's i-Technology Headed in 2008?

Where's i-Technology Headed in 2008?

RIAs Versus AJAX o Ruby on Rails o PHP o Facebook Competitors
Tim Bray
Director of Web Technologies

Tim Bray managed the Oxford English Dictionary project at the University of Waterloo from 1987-1989, co-founded Open Text Corporation 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 ( 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. 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.

HTML5 • Atom • MySpace & Facebook • Net Neutrality
Joshua Allen
Microsoft Senior

Joshua Allen is a senior evangelist at Microsoft, helping large consumer-facing Web sites adopt Microsoft's user experience technologies. In his 9 years at Microsoft, he's shipped several products including APIs for XML and services for MSN, as well as worked with many of the large Websites during the first dot-com era.

1.  Web standards will matter more than ever, as more development shifts to the Web. HTML5 will eclipse XHTML. Atom Publishing Protocol will emerge as a key component of the programmable Web, as will Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE). Interest in using pure Web standards for mobile development will increase and will become more practical by the end of 2008.

2.  MySpace and Facebook will remain the dominant social networking sites. All social networking sites will have platforms, but interop will be spotty as the players compete to "value-add" services beyond the interop profile.

3.  Ad agencies will be more important, not less, by the end of 2008.

4.  Disparity between bandwidth haves and have-nots will grow. Net neutrality will take an even worse beating in 2008 than 2007.

Managing Web Services • Governance • Web Service Servers • BPEL
Dr Adam Kolawa
CEO & Co-Founder

Considered to be a visionary in his field, Dr Kolawa's years of experience with various software development processes has resulted in a unique insight into the high-tech industry and the uncanny ability to successfully identify technology trends. As a result, he has orchestrated the development of numerous successful commercial software products to meet growing industry needs to improve software quality - often before the trends have been widely accepted. Kolawa has been granted 10 patents for the technologies behind these innovative products.

1.  I expect that the industry will recognize that managing Web services is much more complicated than initially anticipated. People are finding that the systems being built nowadays are strangely interconnected to the rest of the world...and every time they touch those systems, something else is impacted. I predict that this will lead to growing interest in Web service governance.

2.  As more and more people expose their existing systems as Web service servers, I think we will see a lot of situations where service consumers try to use these applications in ways that the original designers did not anticipate. This is a classic case of missing requirements and miscommunication. I expect that this will also lead to tighter governance.

3.  I think that BPEL will continue to advance and people will find new applications for BPEL. Eventually, it will sink in that:

  • Anything can be a Web service.
  • Everything is a business process.

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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