Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat Lincoln Baxter III discusses two exciting upcoming open-source projects, Errai and Rewrite.
As the holiday approaches at the end of 2012, I find myself
amazed at how much I’ve seen and done this year, and I wonder what
everyone else sees and remembers in their own lives. I wonder
because when I look at everything I’ve seen and done this year, I
find myself aware of how much I’ve seen go by, and how I could
barely spare a moment, or passing nod of acknowledgement to most of
From what I’ve seen, my thoughts and observations probably echo those of others in the industry, but you better bust out those Android skills because mobile is going to be big, really big. I also don’t think most people have any real idea just “how BIG” it’s really going to be.
As of February 2012, several trend researchers claimed mobile phones accounted for 50% of new phone purchases in the US and you might figure that makes sense, but also consider the fact that only 35% of people in the US own a smartphone! That means there are somewhere over 200 million people in the US alone who have yet to jump on the smartphone bandwagon; now try to imagine the world population, clocking in at around 6.9 billion.
If these trends were consistent (which they are not, the US is one of the countries with the highest smartphone adoption, at roughly 15th or 16th place, and India and China near 45th place with 6-8% adoption,) if figures that there should be over five billion people who have not made the jump to “mobile” yet. So how are we going to be ready for this quickly advancing trend? Is the Java ecosystem ready?
As if mobile weren’t enough, this comes on the heels of the announcement of Google Fiber, which is going to be yet another game-changer for the web-development market. We’ve seen a big swing to client-side programming as of late, enabling mobile devices and those with slower connections to enjoy a much more palatable experience on the web. If I’m not mistaken, however, as broadband internet penetration rises, we’ll see a resurgence of the server-side architecture. I think we’ve learned from this iteration of the client-side boom, but server-side programming is just easier; and, if the bandwidth is there to support heavier frameworks, people will use them.
So what have I been doing to prepare for these trends?
I’ve also been preparing for the advent of pervasive broadband connections, by developing a high-performance Java HTTP manipulation library for Servlet containers, called Rewrite – a rule-based HTTP framework that puts a fresh spin on the Servlet programming model. Rules can add/modify/or delete any part of the HTTP request and response flowing in and out of a Servlet container, and at the same time you are guided through established best practices and techniques.
In designing this technology, I wanted to be prepared for the future, and whatever new technologies it may hold. We’re about to see a big new release of Rewrite with Servlet output buffering support (for those of you who might be familiar with the PHP output buffer “ob_start()”, and dynamic file transformation so you can write CSS with LESS, and the files will be compiled and cached for you automatically – no more messy build steps to compile your LESS to CSS.
If there’s a tech that’s about to change the game, I’d place my bets on Errai – or something like it, but until then, enjoy 2013. I’ll be spending it putting polish on what I’ve already got, because I think we’re going to see a lot of the same over the next year while the mobile and broadband trends start up the foot of the hill. This was a big year for us all, and next year will be the time to prove it.