The Mall Of Google

One of my favorite research coverage areas is the evolving world of open source software. I like it because innovation is the watchword for the space – evolving technology, evolving business models, and evolving developer culture are fascinating to watch (if you don’t have the opportunity to write code yourself, watching other bright people figure out the best ways to do it is the next best thing). One of my favorite descriptions of the space from the early days of free software is Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend doing so.

For the past year or so, I’ve been thinking more and more about the evolution of the Cathedral/Bazaar model, and its eventual end state. If we stick with the commercial analogies through time, we move past guilds and exchanges, and we find ourselves at today’s commercial masterpiece – the shopping mall. In the shopping mall, the landlords provides common conveniences like plumbing, heating, and free parking, and tenets hawk their wares. Small startups might rent pushcarts in the center atriums, while anchor stores like Macy’s and Sears get big hunks of display space at the ends of the mall.

I think we’re beginning to see the development of the Mall as an alternative to the Cathedral/Bazaar model. The Eclipse Foundation is a good example of mixed source development, with anchor stores like IBM and Oracle. Now after spending time at Google I/O this week I think it’s pretty clear we have another mall forming – “The Mall of Google.”

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Natural user interfaces - notes from the field

Last week I was once again hustling through a brutal travel week (10,000 miles in the air and two packed red-eyes) when I came across something really interesting. It was ~ 9 AM and I'd just gotten off AA flight 4389 from Toronto. I was a bit bleary eyed from a 4 AM call with a Finnish customer and was just trying to schlep my way to the Admiral's club for a cup of coffee when I stumbled across Accenture's Interactive Network display at the juncture of terminal H and K.

 

THis is a picture of a screen for the Accenture Interactive Network, at American's terminal at O'Hare

 

So what? You might ask, it's just a big screen and we already know our future is minority report -right? Yes - those of us in the echo chamber might know that, but what really struck me was watching my fellow travelers and how they interacted with the display. I sat and watched for about 10 minutes (while forgetting about the sorely needed cuppa joe) and just watched people as they started to walk past, then pause, then go up to the screen and start playing with it. On average folks would stay for a few minutes and read some of the latest news feeds, then hurry on to their next stop. But what I really found intriguing was how they interacted with the system:

 

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Forrester Databyte: Application Platform Adoption Trends

As an analyst at Forrester I always look forward to December - not because it's the end of the year or that I have the balance of my vacation days to use up (best laid plans...); December is when we usually get a fresh batch of data from Forrester's annual Enterprise And SMB Software Survey. Each year our team gets to place a few questions into this comprehensive questionnaire, and IT decision makers who have organizational responsibility for custom software development give us some insight into what their shops are doing.

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Forrester Databyte: SCM Tool Adoption

Last week Dr. Dobb's published an article I penned in December on "What Developers Think". I won't rehash the thrust of that piece here other than to reaffirm the growing trend of technology populism in development shops - where tech-savvy workers make their own decisions about what technologies to use.

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Forrester DataByte: Spending On Custom Software in 2010

I fielded an inquiry from a client last week who asked what levels of investment Forrester is seeing in custom software development, and whether that investment remains significant compared to other activities in IT, especially given the downward pressure we've seen on budgets in 2009. The request was timely, as I've started to comb through the results of our annual Enterprise And SMB Software Survey.

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Put Off Making Strategic Decisions About Mobile Development Until 2010

In the first three quarters of 2009, I’ve had an increasing number of discussions with Forrester clients about the state of mobile development and what technologies they should be evaluating. These conversations usually start with the statement “mobility is a mess…” What I mean by that statement is that we’re in the midst of a sea change in the technology options that IT shops have at their disposal when it comes to building custom mobile applications. The frenetic pace of evolution makes mobile development one of the Top 15 Technology Trends and it warrants careful attention on the part of enterprise architects and application development professionals.  By the end of 2010, you’ll have at least five distinct mobile applications architectures to choose from, including:

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In The Mix

Hi folks,

I spent some time out at MIX in early march getting up to speed with Microsoft's latest product releases for rich Internet application (RIA) development. I thought I'd offer a few thoughts on Ray Ozzie’s keynote.

Like last year, Ray kicked off the conference by sharing Microsoft's vision of SaaS - a slightly different version from the standard view. Given Microsoft’s investments in traditional platforms it makes sense that their vision of SaaS would be of "Software AND a service" as opposed to "software AS a service”. That said, Ray articulated three ideas that are driving Microsoft's vision for development forward. I'll recap as I interpreted them from my seat in the audience:

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