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What Is The "Next Big Thing" In Development?

Right now the "hot new thing" is .NET.  And Longhorn is coming.  Woo-hoo.

But where do you see the software development buisness goin in, say, 10 years?  What will the profession of development look like in a decade?  What new concepts will be have to be embraced?  What breakthroughs do you think will come about?

Friday, February 27, 2004

We will have robots in our kitchens to wash the dishes!

And in elevators to operate the elevator controls!

Instead of tellers in banks, there will be rows of ultra-modern computers that dispense stacks of crisp, new dollar bills (although in the future even common laborers will make enough money to take out ten, twenty, or even forty dollars each time they go to the bank!)

Flying machines will whisk us in comfortable pressurized air from city to city. Perhaps you might even be served a simple hot meal, high above the clouds!

The world's largest encyclopedia, bigger, indeed, than a school library, will be instantly available in homes by means of pneumatic tubes or perhaps electrical wires.

A special telephotograph-machine will enable the spread of education throughout the world, giving even the poorest dustbin-cleaner an opportunity to better themselves by learning the classics, eliminating hunger and suffering.

Oh, and C# will have anonymous methods, allowing the code associated with a delegate to be written in-line where the delegate is used, conveniently tying the code directly to the delegate instance.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Friday, February 27, 2004

re: C# and anonymous methods ... Not to start a religious war, but like Java and anonymous interface implementations at the site where it's needed. I've been through this with a number of delegate-lovers, and they don't seem to get it. But I was in love with anonymous interface implementations for purposes beyond what delegates exist for and before delegates (in .NET) were introduced.

Donnie Hale
Friday, February 27, 2004

"Oh, and C# will have anonymous methods, allowing the code associated with a delegate to be written in-line where the delegate is used, conveniently tying the code directly to the delegate instance."

...and annoying the crap out of the guy who has to maintain the code because now he wants the action associated with another object located in another part of the program, and so has to hunt through GUI code to find the action associated with the delegate instead of the just insantiating a new class. :)

I'm not bitter.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Considering the amount of $$$ Uncle Bill is putting into voice recognition, hopefully his company will find something useful to do with it...and share it with us peons.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Two words: robot butlers.

Jimmy Jojo
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Personal helipacks like on the Sleeper.

Matthew Lock
Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Orgasmatron. 'nuff said.

Justin Johnson
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Geez guys, just watch "The Jetsons" reruns ... everything is right there.

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Reading the outsourcing thread, I had an idea for the next big thing: learn to speak Hindi and Urdu fluently, and set up a consultancy the specializes in managing outsourced relationships.  Be the guy who takes an English spec and explain it to the coders in their native tongue.

Justin Johnson
Saturday, February 28, 2004

Uh, indian software engineers already speak english.

 me again
Saturday, February 28, 2004

One of the points made in the outsourcing thread is that Indians don't speak English natively (not often, at any rate), and so the already noticeable margin of communication that's inherent in specs is made larger by that gap.

As I work with Japanese programmers who are conversationally fluent in English, but still have problems fully understanding specs because they miss nuances in the language (or think they haven't missed), I can confirm that even a small language barrier can cause great difficulties.  You have to develop very specific communication patterns to overcome this.

Thus, the Americans who profit on the off-shoring trend will be the ones who bridge that gap.

(If the off-shoring trend were going to Japan, I'd be sooooooo set...)

Justin Johnson
Saturday, February 28, 2004

The penetration of software development knowledge to higher levels of society.

Managers making policy and even day to day decisions are hampered when the process they need to tweak is implemented in software.  Think insurance companies, computer controlled manufacturing, and any company with a big computerized back office, like a brokerage.

A specialized interface for managers that enables instant  tweaking of organizational rules and procedures will require highly "Technical" managers.

This highly specialized interface will also have to be able to generate bug free systems that don't require much testing.  So maybe it will be a while...

Sunday, February 29, 2004

I work with several people who appear completely bilingual, french and english.  never the less they often like to demande things.

I often comply as long as they let the hostages go.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Justin Johnson, we can guess from your posting above that you presumably have:
o Plenty of software development skill & knowledge.
o Significant experience in a software development
    context dealing with people who use
    English as a 2nd language.
o Good Japanese language skills.

I suppose you can learn how to speak, write, and read
English in a style that communicates relatively easily and
well with Indians--probably to communicate considerably
better than someone whose English is awkward and limited
in a *non-Indian* ESL style would.  (And BTW, I think that
because of the multiplicity of languages in India, English
will be a central software development language
in India for a *long* time.)

Justin, if all the above is true, maybe you should consider
helping Japanese employers/customers/clients offshore
some of their software development to India.  Or, failing
that, to offshore it to some combination of the U.S., Canada,
India, Ireland, and who knows where else. 

It at least used to be true that U.S. software developers
and their skills were pretty prestigious in Japan, so they
might just want you to do it.  On the other hand, the
Japanese economic climate is bad enough right now that to
the extent they are trying to give their employment to their
locals first, there might not be much for you.
But if you can find the right (interested/receptive) clients,
you might be able to get on the leading edge of a coming

I guess a general principle here is, if there is little
opportunity to arbitrage in a particular direction
(to help to offshore software development *into* Japan :-) )
there are still opportunties to arbitrage in other directions?

Or, lemons --> lemonade? :-)

Chris N.

P.S. Was (or wasn't) my message too limited in interest to be worth posting here?  You can email me.

Chris N.
Monday, March 1, 2004

For developers I guess the trend would be less and less time spend on glue coding (GUI, Middelware, Persistence etc.), and more time on the actual targets of the effort.

Unless OSS busness models force us all into consultingware, in which case we are living the (bleak) future now :-).

All joking aside: if the past is a reliable indicator many shops will still be sweating over Windows 2000 compatibility issues (Windows 95 is still on the map today, isn't it?) in 10 years time, and for many IT slaves down in the galleys a "modern" Longhorn wave environment will look like a dream that just might happen "real soon now".

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 1, 2004

"Justin Johnson, we can guess from your posting above that you presumably have:..."

So that's what massage with release feels like. :)

Justin Johnson
Monday, March 1, 2004

I don't know about telephotograph, but just about everything that Joel said is already here :-) This is one of the funniest 'future' forecasts I have read in a while ... lol...

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Try AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming). It complements nicely with OOP. I think "next big thing" will be a Combined Paradigm of OOP+AOP. 

AOP supported languages and tools have started appear. I think it has a potential to become a dominant idea in couple of years.

Nitin Bhide
Thursday, March 4, 2004

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