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Developers Aren't Obsolete Yet

Talking to SOA vendors about their plans for 2008, one of the most
popular claims is that developers will be doing a lot less coding. In
some ways, that's not a surprise: The whole point of making apps into
reusable services is to avoid having to write new ones from scratch.
But two other trends are changing the traditional development process
much more radically:

  • Web 2.0. Yes, it's a buzzword, but it isn't
    completely meaningless
    . The Web 2.0 hype usually describes
    either a technology (Ajax, RSS, browser-based apps) or a social
    phenomenon (community, collaboration, free-flowing information.) If
    you believe vendors of enterprise
    technologies, putting the two together will mean that
    line-of-business employees will be building applications, just as
    ordinary Internet users already are.

  • BPM. Regarded by many vendors as the killer app for
    SOA, Business Process Management looks set to be one the year's
    fastest-growing technologies. Adding BPM to SOA blurs the line
    between standard composite applications.(coded by developers) and
    BPM models (designed by business analysts.)

And it doesn't stop there. BEA is promoting less coding as a major
benefit of SCA (Service Component Architecture), something that
others say is more about cross-platform interoperability or
parallelization for multicore CPUs. Going beyond 2008, Microsoft's
Oslo aims to make Windows development so easy that every end user can
do it, primarily through replacing code with a BPM-style model.

So does this mean that most programming will soon be done by
non-programmers? I asked agile development guru Martin
about this for the current issue of InformationWeek, and
he was extremely
. I think he's right, although the technologies that
open up development to the rest of us are still welcome.