Well, it’s been over a year since I’ve posted a blog entry, and to those who say you should never excuse yourself for long absences, I extend my apologies. And to those who say you should never apologize on your blogs, I must excuse myself for this indescression.
I am writing this blog post in my hotel room after one of the best conferences I have ever been to: CodeMash. Next year do yourself a favor and go. A word of warning though, they increased the conference by 200 seats this year and sold out in under four days. I expect it to not last even a day next year with open ticket sales. I personally intend to avoid that hassle altogether and speak again. Wish me luck.
This year I presented a talk entitled “Pry it from My Cold, Dead Hands: A Survival Guide for Swing Development in the Twenty Teens.” I’ll post the slides on slideshare when I retire the talk. This is, indeed, a prediction for the next year: that I will give this talk again.
Since it is only 15 days into the New Year I will take the liberty of also making a few more predictions. My first 2011 prediction is that Verizon will get the iPhone before apple fixes their problems with the white iPhone. Well, one down four to go.
Next I have a 1 year prediction, related to the content of my talk. Oracle will ship JavaFX 2.0 on time. Or heads will roll. One might give them until Halloween, but since Oracle OpenWorld/JavaOne is earlier that month then it will have to ship before Wal-Mart puts Christmas Trees up for sale. Wait, that’s too aggressive a schedule for anyone to make, so I give them until the JavaOne closing keynote.
Looking out into the 5 year timeframe, I see desktop computing as past its zenith. It is likely there now, but we won’t know because the first little while after the zenith of an arc feels like a steady state. You really cannot call it until things start really crashing down. The prediction to prove it? 2015 is the last year that NetBeans, IntelliJ, or JDeveloper will release an IDE based principally on Swing components. They will either switch to some other toolkit before then (like JavaFX, or HTML) or they will go into the bit bucket and cease being a product as we recognize them today. Swing development will die like COBOL died, living a long and fruitful life in business internal applications. And I’ll probably still be drawing a salary developing Swing UIs long after that.
Next for a 10 year prediction, I look to what is causing the desktop to be at its zenith. For that, it is handheld computing: specifically iPhones, iPads, and their non-apple counterparts. What differentiates desktop computing from handheld computing? The desk or lap, and the keyboard with tactile keys, and the single monitor attached to it and the CPU. Handheld computing does not require a keyboard or a lap/desk. The handheld space looks a lot to be like the desktop space was in the 1990s. Apple is playing the role of, well, Apple and Android is playing the role of the IBM PC Compatible. Apple’s previous incarnation was basically peaking around 1990 with perhaps a little more up to go. But the PC, even though more fragmented, uglier, and full of fighting vendors, wound up eating their lunch. Apple had a total near death experience because even though the walled garden they played in was a true paradise it resulted in inbreeding and stagnation. The PC land was survival of the fittest because of its diversity and was forced to evolve, rather than the sheer force of will that accompanies the birth of successful Apple products. Before 2020 Apple will experience another one of these near death experiences as competitors catch up and change the game. But Apple will survive. Half credit if they actually die.
And I close with a prediction with no timeframe. For this I look to the application market for handheld devices. It truly is a developers dream now. But don’t move into independent apps, it is a fleeting space that will assuredly disappear. The app market will look a lot like the record market of the mid to late 20th century. Publishers will become the pimps, err, I mean professional services managers, of the modern app store. The same techniques, legal and otherwise, that record companies used to get their songs on your radios and in your home stereo systems will be brought to bear on your smart phones and tablets. Individual acts like Rovio will quickly become the pawns that musicians and recording artists are now to the recording industry. While iTunes is helping break those shackles the App Store is starting to make new ones. It will appear to be good at first, but it will eventually suck the life out of the market like manufactured acts have killed CD sales. The good news is that producers and studio musicians still have steady work if they are really good at what they do.
Remember, fame has a price that quiet professionals never have to pay.