1. Eclipse becomes the Java community’s answer to Visual Studio.NET: Eclipse will be the de-facto IDE for Java programmers, with IntelliJ IDEA and NetBeans catering to niche markets. This will be a good thing for the Java community, as Eclipse will help build a market/ecosystem for development tools much like Visual Basic, which is the real goal that Sun wants to reach: 10 million developers using Java.
2. Year of the Tiger: Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) will be well received, to the jubilance of Java developers on OS X as it will have Java 5 (also code-named Tiger) bundled. As a bonus, OS X Tiger ships with Eclipse and Subversion pre-installed.
3. Google groks RSS: Instead of just being satisfied with hosting blogs via Blogger, Google realizes the true potential of blogs: as another way to spread its targeted advertising. Google offers Google RSS(tm), which puts targeted Google ads in RSS feeds as well as offering an updated-every-nanosecond search of all RSS, RDF, and Atom feed on the planet.
4. FedEx-style product delivery: The Eclipse team will continue to amaze people by delivering releases on time, with Eclipse 3.1 releasing sometime in June 2005 and 3.1.1 in September. Another project built on the Eclipse Platform will break out and provide another killer app to go along with the JDT: either the Visual Editor or Web Tools.
5. Dynamic languages gain ground: Ruby and Groovy increase in usage, but no full-time jobs appear. Some amazing web apps appear on Ruby on Rails. People realize that Groovy runs in a JVM. HR listings start mentioning these two. Smalltalk and Objective-C continue to toil away in the background, powering large, complex, yet ultra-reliable corporate systems and elegant OS X desktop apps respectively.
6. Apple Newton take two: Apple releases the iPod Scribble, which is the form factor of the iPod, but has a screen that spans the entire front. It comes with a companion application on both OS X and Windows: iScribble. Dvorak mocks it as the Tablet PC’s Mini Me. iPod users rejoice as they can now enter in data from anywhere using only their finger (no stylus necessary, tho some folks find that using the ear-buds jack plug works well too) and using Apple’s Inkwell technology, this is converted into proper text.
7. Blogging becomes the “in” thing: Every major celebrity will get their own blog as will every major company. This will remind people of the mid-late 90s when URLs, which used to be one of the geekiest things around, started popping up on billboards and in TV commercials, accompanied with the customary “home page”. Strangely though, we will find that Blogs are from Mars and Journals are from Venus.
8. Dream laptop arrives: 20″ 3Ghz G5 Aluminum PowerBook releases in December. Can access 8GB of memory, has a 7200 RPM drive (most laptops have a 4200 or 5400 RPM.) Only problem: requires an artist’s portfolio to carry around. Bonus: iPod-mini-mini can be stowed in the PC card slot.
9. Apple reconsiders KHTML: Firefox adoption increases rapidly. ISPs distribute it, with AOL being the biggest, so that they can claim better security. Corporate IT follows suit. Apple notices this and starts a skunkworks project to rebuild Safari on Firefox keeping in mind the need to provide users with a top-notch OS X experience, but doesn’t release this until 2006. Microsoft jumps the gun with IE 7 released in 2005 containing some early Longhorn technology. Browser wars ensue, but vocal supporters of XHTML and CSS help keep things in check.
10. Search becomes a weapon: IE 7 bundles MSN Desktop Search, which indexes Windows and provides access to MSN Search, which is improved and starts gaining some marketshare from Google. Google and Firefox fight back with a Google-branded Firefox bundled with Google Desktop, which is integrated with Google (Web + Groups + Froogle + etc.) Apple actually starts this war with its earlier release of OS X Tiger which includes Safari + Google + Spotlight, which indexes a Mac. Linux users build two separate open source versions of an integrated search app, one in Gnome, the other in KDE.
And finally, a non-tech related prediction, but one that will increase the happiness of the Metropolitan DC Area more than all of the above coming true combined:
11. Gibbs makes good: Redskins go 9-7, barely squeak into the playoffs but lose in their first playoff game in years. Oh well, its progress. The difference? Gibbs hands over offensive coordinator responsibilities to someone from the Denver Broncos, giving Portis the spread plays he likes as well as putting Ramsey into the shotgun more often. Redskins routinely score 21+ points a game, while still having a top 10 defense.
Happy New Years everyone!