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In an age of spin and counterspin, where no one calls a spade a spade if there's a chance of calling it an HDK instead (“hole development kit”), JDJ Industry Newsletter decided to canvass Internet technology experts of every stripe and ask them to anticipate the future – in just two words. Brevity, we felt, might increase the pressure on them to be incisive and insightful, and we weren't disappointed.

“In two words, and only two words,” we asked, “what, in your view, does the first half of 2002 hold in store for the Internet technology space?”

One well-known spokesman of a major technology company, whose identity we have politely agreed to protect, responded that “It would be easier to send 500 than two,” before going on to admit that the two-word answer he’d really like to offer would probably be too candid for his (or her) masters: “Chaos reigns.”

If not chaos, though, then what? Here are the answers that have been coming in from technology experts and professionals the length and breadth of the Internet.

Charles Goldfarb, the Father of XML Technology, doesn’t hesitate: “XML rules!” he declares, adding that this particular prediction is “for the recently arrived Martian who might not have noticed.”

James Gosling, the Father of Java, is both upbeat and awe-inspiring: “Intelligence everywhere” he intones, in what might almost be an all-purpose incantation or mantra for 2002, from one of the world’s leading Internet technologists.

Tyler Jewell, director of technology evangelism for BEA Systems, is equally unequivocal, though he requires a hyphen to keep within the two-word limit. “Java-infrastructure growth” is his prediction. “The first half of 2002,” he explains, “will see a renewed look at enterprise infrastructure investments by corporations...and those investments are going to made almost purely in the Java space.” Fighting talk indeed.

The value-investment theme is echoed by Russell Glass, VP of strategy, AGEA: “ROI rules” is his bid. While for Simeon Simeonov, chief architect of Macromedia Inc., the two-word future we have in store is this: “Rich clients.”

But Andrew Watson, VP and technical director, OMG, has a different take. “UML extends” he proclaims, referring to the Unified Modeling Language. “Use of OMG’s Unified Modeling Language will expand and version 2 will be finalized,” he adds.

Alan Williamson, editor-in-chief of Java Developer's Journal, is his usual hard-hitting self. “Nearly there” or “Coming soon” will best sum up Q1 and Q2 in 2002, he reckons.

Greg Kiessling, CEO and cofounder of Sitraka Software, is by contrast in no doubt whatsoever: “J2EE delivers” he declares. No hyphens needed there!

Both Annraí O’Toole, executive chairman of Cape Clear, and Dave Chappell, vice president and chief technology evangelist of Sonic Software, each offer the same two words. They won’t surprise anyone who knows either of them: independently of one another, “Web services” is the confident prediction of each of them for what the first half of 2002 holds in store for the Internet technology space.

Yancy Lind, CEO of Lutris Technologies, comes in with a slight tweak to that. “Java services” is his two-word take. And Barry Morris, CEO of IONA Technologies, qualifies the O’Toole/Chappell prediction somewhat too, by predicting “Service architectures” rather than just Web services.

Ron Worman, vice president of Global Alliances for IONA , cannily uses the two-word limit to introduce IONA’s own particular brand (literally) of future, namely “E2A Integration” – we’re not sure if that counts as one word, two, or maybe four, because spelled out in full it signifies “End to Anywhere” and seems to derive from IONA’s corporate aphorism: “End to end is nothing. END TO ANYWHERE is everything.”

Another refinement is offered by Sean McGrath, CTO of XML specialists Propylon. “Dataflow desideratum” he tells us from Ireland, is what we need to watch out for. “The ‘dataflow’ method of designing systems was popular in the late seventies and early eighties,” he explains, “and then was neglected in favor of object-oriented design. I believe XML and Web services usher in a return to focusing on distributed data flows in designing Internet-based systems.”

Stefan Van Overtveldt, program director of IBM’s WebSphere technical marketing group, is at least honest about having been defeated by our two-word rule. “Web services breakthrough” he predicts. “Not exactly two words, but it’s the best I can do,” he adds cheerfully. “Companies will see the value of Web services as an open standards-based approach to the integration of multiple applications running on a variety of platforms, and start to invest in prototypes and actual deployments.” He also notes that he expects application servers to become “integration servers,” explaining this prediction as follows: “With J2EE 1.3 and Web services, the application server will more and more be used as a standards-based hub for integration between new and existing applications.”

Whereas Rick Ross, founder of JavaLobby, seems not to be at all confident in the resourcefulness of the i-technology sector at present. “Innovation deficit” he predicts, somewhat gloomily.

Charles Arehart, founder and CTO of SysteManage, is never gloomy – “JSPs live” he offers. But being laconic is more difficult and Arehart protests to us that a three-word limit would help him since, as he puts it, “‘JSPs not dead’ or ‘JSPs live on’ connote a lot more than simply ‘JSPs live’ or (worse) ‘JSPs rule,’ which sound like so much boosterism.” Charlie’s prediction, in short, is that despite prognostications to the contrary, JSPs will live on well into 2002 and beyond.

And regular JDJ columnist Blair Wyman, IBM developer extraordinaire, has a characteristically whimsical prediction, immediately understandable to anyone with a yen for entity beans. “I was puzzling about this when I sat down to supper last night – to absolutely one of my favorite meals in existence – and had a sort of epiphany,” he reports. “My two-word answer is ‘Bean soup.’”

The future arrives faster in the i-technology world than anywhere else. What’s your prediction for what’s ahead? Add your comments at www.sys-con.com/java/article.cfm?id=1291.


“Let the market decide”

IBM’s Stefan Van Overtveldt Comments on WebSphere vs .NET Debate:

For several months now, IBM and Microsoft have engaged in an Internet debate over the superiority of their respective platforms, WebSphere 4.0 and Visual Studio .NET. You’ll find details of the dialogue in the February Java Developer's Journal (Vol. 7, issue 2), and also at www.sys-con.com/java. Responding to an open letter by  Greg Leake (group product manager, Microsoft),   IBM’s Stefan Van Overtveldt comments:

 “IBM and Microsoft can fight about benchmarks forever, but what matters most is what customers and developers are doing. .NET only supports Windows and other Microsoft technologies, while IBM offers tools like Eclipse and WebSphere Studio that are truly cross-platform and open standards-based. At the end of the day, it is obviously going to be hard to prove in a discussion like this whether one tool or another is more productive. The people who will make that call are the developers out there writing the code, and developers would rather have a choice of platform and vendors.

We believe that it’s all about real-world scenarios, not about just one application like petstore.com. Developers and organizations will pick the environment and tools that provide the lowest total cost of ownership, while matching their particular systems requirements. Most companies don’t just rely on Windows but have to work with heterogeneous systems like Unix, mainframes, etc. – which is why IBM’s tools are ideal. Let the market decide.”
To add your comments to the discussion, go to www.sys-con.com/java/.

Stefan Van Overtveldt
Program Director, WebSphere Technical Marketing, IBM

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