Speculations and Resolutions for 2009
By Jonathan Goodyear
I must be getting old, because I just can t believe that 2008 is coming to a close as I m writing this column (of course, by the time you read this, it will be 2009). At the end of every year, most people are primarily talking about two major themes: what they think will happen in the next year (speculation) and what they themselves plan to do differently in the next year (resolutions). Because I have the floor, I thought I d chime in on what I think is coming in 2009 (for ASP.NET developers, anyway), along with a couple of my own New Year s resolutions.
I think Silverlight is going to continue to gain momentum. I realize this is not an earth-shattering prediction, but recent validations regarding Silverlight s amazing performance and the downsizing economy s influence on many to cut costs may accelerate Silverlight s expansion (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/11/netflix_silverlight_windows_media_player/). Microsoft has done a great job with pushing new versions of Silverlight out the door, and 2009 will see yet another release that has even greater capabilities. This magical third version from Microsoft will be the catalyst for market-wide adoption.
Silverlight for mobile will burst on to the scene some time in 2009. Given that nearly half a billion mobile phone subscribers are now on 3G networks (or better), the demand for useful mobile applications will continue to increase. Users of your applications are coming to expect mobile compatibility, and Silverlight for mobile will enable you to reach devices with Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that previously were only accessible using primitive and proprietary mobile phone browsers. This is a huge win that will make viable the value proposition of mobile versions of your applications.
I would expect Apple to devise an iPhone Safari browser plug-in model in 2009 that will enable both Flash and Silverlight to play ball on the device. However, I doubt that the model will be open to anyone who wants to build a browser plug-in. Even though there are financial implications, and some loss of control for Apple by such a move, the market is going to demand it and Apple will want to maintain its newfound dominance in the smartphone landscape. If Silverlight arrives on the iPhone, expect another surge in iPhone sales among corporate users.
Also in 2009, expect companies to begin hosting both their applications and data in the cloud as a money-saving strategy that allows applications to affordably scale. Microsoft is working on a full suite of technologies to support and promote this trend, including Mesh (http://www.mesh.com), Live (http://dev.live.com), and Azure (http://www.microsoft.com/azure/). This also will change the Web development landscape a bit, as you will be plugging in to external resources more and more. Of particular interest is the Windows Live ID identity management service. This is a continuation of the software-as-a-service vision that has been forming over the past few years.
No end-of-year column would be complete without a resolution or two for the coming year. My personal resolution (if you care) is to get outdoors more. I love the software development profession, but it tends to keep me indoors way too much. I happen to live in beautiful Orlando, FL, so I m going to try to take advantage of that more in 2009. Technology-wise, I resolve to do my best to sort through the morass of new technology coming out of Microsoft and make sense of it all. With that information, I hope to help both you and myself make wise software development decisions. As we are all well aware, not everything that comes out of Redmond smells like a rose. Hopefully we all can stay on the path together.
Here s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009!
Jonathan Goodyear is president of ASPSOFT (http:// www.aspsoft.com), an Internet consulting firm based in Orlando, FL. Jonathan is Microsoft Regional Director for Florida, an ASP.NET MVP, a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), and co-author of ASP.NET 2.0 MVP Hacks (Wrox). Jonathan also is a contributing editor for asp.netPRO. E-mail him at mailto: [email protected] or through his angryCoder eZine at http:// www.angryCoder.com.