Predictions for 2005

I’m taking a shot at this a little earlier last year’s, where I wrote my predictions on January 1st, but I’ve got a bunch of things to work on coming up, and I don’t want to ruin the tradition. Yes, folks, it’s that time of year again where I look back at the predictions I made last year for 2004, see how right or wrong I was, then take a stab at what I think might (or might not) happen for 2005.

First, a look back; for 2004, I predicted….

    .NET will gain in acceptance. This time, I admit it–I have a definite reason for wanting this to happen, but I can’t say anything concrete until the 13th of this month. Keep your eyes (and blog aggregatrs) peeled….
    Java adoption rates will hold steady. As I said above, between the J2EE 1.4 release and the J2SE 1.5 release forthcoming (we hope), and the gradual restoration of our economy (assuming our Fearless Leadership in Washington doesn’t screw it up somehow), Java should once again start to see some serious work happening.
    J2EE/.NET Interoperability will rise. Hey, if neither platform is going away anytime soon….
    Peer-to-peer will finally go away. I hate to break it to you, but peer-to-peer technologies are basically all about "discovery" as a lookup technique–once you have that, you’re back to plain vanilla communications options. Can we just let the term die in peace, please? It’s not going to democratize the world, folks….
    XML will start to lose its luster. People are finally beginning to see the object-hierarchical impedance mismatch, and realize that "objects" and "XML" don’t, in fact, go together like peanut butter and chocolate. More like apple cider and wine, if you ask me. XML will continue to be in demand, but on its own, as a data format, rather than as "another way to express an object".
    Microsoft will get sued again. Hey, it’s as certain as the sun rising on a hung-over nation tomorrow.

So let’s see how the year in review looks:

    .NET will gain in acceptance. I don’t have any numbers to back this (and you shouldn’t trust numbers unless you know the source, anyway), but anecdotally it certainly feels this way. More importantly, my comment about the 13th of 2004 was of course related to the official launch of TheServerSide.NET, and I’d like to think that in a very small way we had an effect on bringing .NET to the world. (Note I said "very small way"; I sincerely mean that. Very, very small. But still something.)
    Java adoption rates will hold steady. Again, no hard numbers, but I haven’t heard of companies abandoning Java in droves, so I’m guessing this was also right. Where did all the .NET growth come from, then? Mostly people migrating from legacy COM projects up to .NET, I believe. There was a few situations where Java folks "crossed over" to .NET, but those folks were looking for Java-on-Windows solutions in the first place anyway. And, for what it’s worth, there were a few .NET-to-Java "crossovers", as well, so thus far I think it’s been something of a push in the long term.
    J2EE/.NET Interop will rise. Not substantially, but people are starting to talk about it. I got a lot of requests (about 60/40 from .NET and Java groups, respectively) to talk about this, and more than just the Web services story.
    Peer-to-peer will finally go away. Napster who? Oh, by the way, did anybody pay attention when Napster relaunched? Turns out that sharing music really isn’t about p2p, after all…
    XML will start to lose its luster. People are coming around to hate XSD Schema. Critics are popping up everywhere. Dave Megginson has a new book out, in fact, that basically takes everybody in the WS-* stack to task over creating specs before seeing if they’ll actually work. In fact, the only successful application of XML thus far that anybody but a developer feels is weblogs and RSS, which obeys none of the classic rules of an XML spec. (Read his book, by the way–it’s an eye-opener, particularly if you’re one of the XML faithful, or if you’ve been thinking that XML will somehow make the computer world a safer, saner place. I’ll put the Amazon link in here when I get a chance, but it’s his latest from Addison-Wesley; shouldn’t be too hard to find.) XML is useful, but we’re starting to see the warts, and behave accordingly.
    Microsoft will get sued again. Hey, there’s only 10 more days left, but there’s been no major lawsuit thus far, so I guess I missed this one pretty badly. (Of course, the April 2nd agreement pretty much took away Microsoft’s major aggressor out of the picture, so unless IBM files suit over something….)

Overall, I guess I did pretty well, but then again, these weren’t exactly eye-popping predictions, either. I’m certainly no Nostradamus.

In fact, I think I’m going to hold off posting my 2005 predictions for now; I think I need some good meditation time (and a couple more cups of heavily-spiked eggnog) to figure out what 2005 holds in store for us, and what that might mean for us all.

In the meantime, I wish all of you a very happy–and safe–holiday season. May you find in this week and next the happiness and relaxation and spiritual/soulful fulfillment we all need to get through the next 365 days. (And maybe a cool present or two, too.) 🙂