Saturday, 2 January 2010

2010 and me

Firstly, welcome to 2010 everybody!

I don't know about you, but I'm kind of disappointed we haven't had any manned missions to planets in our solar system. By this stage in Arthur C Clarke's books we were on our second trip to Jupiter. Oh well. :)

So what does 2010 have in store for me?

My focus is going to stay on OSGi, of course. In January I am attending the OSGi UK Users Forum, again as secretary. The UK forum has been going for nearly a year now and has some impressive growth and all the attendees are great people with lots of interesting stories to share, so I'm looking forward to that one.

I am also attending Jax London (and OSGi Devcon) - last March I attended The Server Side conference in Las Vegas which was excellent, but frankly a little expensive in terms of cost and time (and environment?). Better all round to support local events, I feel.

I'm still loving Flex and db4o, so plan to keep using those technologies this year, but expand my view in to other OODBs (e.g. Versant and InterSystem's Caché) and rich internet technologies (e.g. Apache Pivot - Java RIA platform, Vaadin - HTML/CSS/Ajax RIA platform. Flash is great, but there is a lot of leverage to be had from 'pure browser' RIAs).

Actually, I've been very quiet on the Apache Pivot front this year, but graduation is afoot and Pivot is maturing nicely, being used in a couple of production environments I believe. While I'd love to donate more time to this, I would be well just donate a little as I have been far too inactive of recent times. I had starting building a an Eclipse plugin to preview Pivot views, so I will discuss with the community how I can enhance this further.

Taban, my REST and OSGi based JSON storage application is still floating around in my mind, but like everything else, it is just a matter of finding the time to finish it off and then find an appropriate place to host it.

I'm still enjoying Android as a platform, but feel it is a little too much in Flux. While 53% of all handsets are running Android 1.6, about 25% are running Android 2.0 or greater and I feel like I shouldn't invest too much time in an SDK which will soon become obsolete.

On the Google front, in May my wife and I are attending Google IO in San Francisco (at our personal expense), though I am sure she is less excited about it than I am. ;) Last year attendees were presented with an Android phone. I can only hope we are presented with something as cool as that, my wildest dream being handed a Google Tablet. We shall see!

With regards to Arum, before Christmas I worked on a very interesting market data platform based on OSGi, Flex and db4o before Christmas and am hoping to have further input in to that. The potential for extending the application is great and has been helped in no small part by the flexibility of the technologies involved and by instigating a modular architecture from the beginning. I used to think that RAD projects should be considered 'disposable' as the speed at which they were built usually meant you were doing something wrong, but by using OSGi, Flex and db4o we reduce time to market for a functional (though not feature complete), rich application, to just over 3 weeks worth of work between two people (myself and Vince). The current application is being demonstrated to the community that will adopt it and I am sure that more functionality will be requested in the new year.

I am also hoping to start on a new version of Arum DataEye, taking lessons learned from the last two years and building an even better management information dashboard, considering software as a service as well as customer site options for deployment. With 2 major sales under our belt and nearly 300 active users, we have excellent feedback with which to make the new version of DataEye even better.

At Arum, we have also been considering a brand new product, so I am looking forward to working with the team to flesh that out, get it built and make it available to the masses. More information on this as it happens, but no doubt will be built on and driven by the excellent technology we've had much success with so far.

I also have plans to build an Eclipse based IDE for rapid development of modular applications based on Flex, OSGi and db4o. This tool will reduce time to market by a massive amount, allowing Arum to produce the majority of a functional application in a fraction of the amount of time, drawing on our library of OSGi bundles that we've developed, and upon those distributed in remote repositories such as Spring's OBR and Maven. Again, watch this space ... but don't hold your breath. :)

With Arum's focus on building low-cost, high quality, open source based, rich internet applications and products, it is a pretty exciting place to be.

Towards the end of 2009, I started doing a little freelance work with Paremus, the makers of Service Fabric (fantastic distributed OSGi cloud platform), Nimble (excellent OSGi resolution tool), Posh (Paremus OSGi Shell) and Sigil (OSGi development tooling, now part of Apache Felix). These are a great bunch of really clue up guys, and I hope to continue working with them in to 2010.

A more general comment about consumer technology; my prediction for this year is that 2010 will be 'the year of the tablet' with Apple (OSX or iPhone OS?), Google (Chrome OS probably) and various Android based tablet products on the horizon, we could be entering a new era of always on and always connected lifestyle. While tablets have been around for sometime I believe that the 7" or 10" touch-screen internet tablet still has room for impacting in popular culture and that 2010 is the year for that. Expect to see people carrying these around commonly, much like the e-book readers that I regularly see fellow commuters using, but accessing electronic magazines and other web applications.

All in all, I am sure that 2010 is going to be an exciting year, in my work, personal projects and with regards to technology in general.

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