Cloudy Skies ahead. Ruby, jQuery and VPSs

It’s that time of year again. You know when the pontificators pontificate about the upcoming year. What will Oh Ten bring us? Well, here is my predictions: Much the same as Oh Nine, but with some cool new stuff. You want examples? Ok. Everything will be in the ‘cloud’. All your apps will be mobile. Apple will release a touchscreen computer ala Star Trek. Google will make gobs of money. Microsoft will patent both kinds of bits, 1’s ___and__ 0’s in an attempt to foil Free/Open source once and for all. Ruby will become the premier language and JavaScript will ride its coattails to glory.
Oh, and I forgot: 2010 will finally be the year of the Linux Desktop.

Well, having just scooped Tim O’Reily and Cringly, what really is going on?
I’ve noticed a trend, and I’m sure you noticed it too. JavaScript is really talking off. Client side applications are web-based, but increasingly run (much of) the user interface in the browser. AJAX is used as the transport layer to/from the server and HTML is really just the envelope to load the JS code and the initial state of the presentation layer. After that, jQuery uses the DOM and CSS to wow us with its magik. Apps like Google Docs, Wave, GMail and others demonstrate the feasibility of web-based client side appllications.

On the server side, Ruby is used to express concise meaning to the Semantic Web. REST is used as a means to aggregate solution domains together, providing superior user experiences.

Beyond the server, the cloud is becoming the place to be. The advent of Virtual Private Servers with VM appliances built in, will eliminate the need for initial setup and a lot of maintenance. Scalability of your application will no longer be in the domain of the local sysadmin. He will outsource that to the VPS company. His boss will just hsve to pay the bill, eventually.

We are seeing this trend develop now. Eventually, I think we will have another paradigm shift. We moved from server side apps (Mainframes), to client side apps (PC Revolution: The ’80s), to client-server apps (’90s) to web apps (’00s) to cloud based client side apps. The source code is no longer static. It moves around. The servers send it around to each other (XML/REST), and then on to the browser (JS/JSON).

We will stop thinking in terms of deploying our code on some physical layer (Floppy Disk/CD-ROM/DVD/USB Flash/Internet download) and expect that it will start in the cloud and migrate to the needed place.

Want to be on this cutting edge? Beef up your Ruby for REST services with database back ends (maybe not relational ones). Polish up your jQuery/CSS skills. Look for plugins that enhance the user experience. And quit worrying about performance. That’s Mr. PointyHHair’s domain. :=)

Happy new year. Enjoy the new decade.


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