Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007: A Year of Open-Source Acceptance

2007 has barely begun, and already I've been asked to look back on 2006! The trends of 2006 are still playing out, and will continue to do so through the first quarter of 2007, making it harder than usual look into the crystal ball for the upcoming year. But in a few years, we will all look back at 2006 as the year everything changed again.

Agile methodologies cemented themselves in the development environments of companies of all sizes, helping to shape the year to come. With increased customer interaction early in the cycle, the reliance on continuous integration tools grew paramount, especially with the maturity of Cruise Control and Cruise Control .NET. Continuous integration will become a cornerstone software development practice, increasing the quality of software releases industry wide. That being said, 2007 will be the year that Cruise Control captures the continuous integration market. The ability to support most major and minor platforms for free will be nearly impossible to compete with.

This brings us to the second trend of 2007, the increased reliance of Open Source software in the revision control and software release fields. Across the industry, companies using CVS, RCS, and looking at Perforce will start the move to Subversion. Visual SourceSafe and Vault will continue to lose ground in their respective niches, while Subversion captures the customer base. The ease of use and integration into all three major operating systems (Windows, OSX, and Linux), combined with its price and stability will force companies to reduce their expenses through quality software. For the first time in nearly fifteen years, free revision control systems can again compete with commercial ones, and on any platform.

Speaking of platforms, the crystal ball holds one more platform surprise in 2007. Having finally (officially) moved to Intel, Apple has guaranteed an interesting year is ahead. Companies will start the groundwork for releasing software on the Mac, with many companies announcing OSX releases in 2007. The Mac will return as a viable platform for software releases as companies slowly move to the Mac OS. Movement will develop slowly at first, but definite groundwork will be laid out for a multi-platform future.

With a revolution year behind us, we have to ask ourselves if 2007 can be even half as groundbreaking as 2006. In truth, I don't know if it's possible to have another year like 2006 so soon on its heals. Either way, 2007 will certainly be an interesting year.