Five emerging technologies to watch

Throughout their careers, development managers must hone their senses to measure the risks and values of emerging technologies. Everyone has different means of accomplishing this, and most learn after arriving at a few mistaken conclusions along the way. Here we focus attention on some percolating technologies, useful means for evaluating technologies, and how these may fare.

»Grid computing
»Rich clients
» Wireless computing
»Agents, et al
»Burke's laws
Are these technologies significantly better than present solutions? Do they require massive changes in the way we build systems? Do they solve common problems? Do the vendors that support the new way have the wherewithal to develop and promote them?

One criterion we will not harp on is actual newness. Anyone who sticks around a while becomes hard-pressed to find anything all that new in most emerging technologies.

Yet these technologies still bear watching. Grid computing, non-relational databases, Web services, Model-Driven Architecture (MDA), wireless computing -- all have precedents, some of which stumbled badly. But it is worthwhile to take some time to consider their chances for success. And there are more to come.

For example, in recent weeks Microsoft and assorted computer vendors made a showy display as they launched a new generation of tablet PCs. The products were not reviewed uncritically, at least in part because there are plenty of industry observers around who were there 10 years ago when Microsoft and others launched an ill-fated slew of Pen computers. They may also remember Doonesbury's send-up of the garbled output of which a Newton PDA was capable.

Can anyone really say this year's tablet PCs might not fare better? That is the thing about 'emerging technologies.' They are not as bad as or good as polar critics say. They are always emerging, and always bear watching.

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Intro | Grid computing | GUI | MDA | Wireless | Agents etc | Laws

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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