Lakshan Perera

Interesting stuff to watch out in 2010

We are already into the 2nd decade of 21st century and it is very evident that this would be the decade, where Cloud Computing, Realtime web and Mobile Web will start to rule!

As per some buzzword fanatics, this year (2010) will be the transition year from web 2.0 to web 3.0. Buzzwords aside, as a web application developer I too expect to see the rise and mainstream adoption of some very interesting technologies during this year.

Web Sockets

Remember how AJAX changed the face of web in 2000? As I see Web Sockets would be the new AJAX of 2010. It's actually the next step from AJAX in improving the face of web. Web Sockets would allow two way communication between the browser and the server. With this, HTTP will no longer would behave as an stateless protocol. Actually, web sockets API comes as an upgrade to HTTP protocol in HTML5 specification, but already lot of Browser vendors and server developers has shown their interest and started adding support for the web sockets API. Currently, Google Chrome Beta version supports the cleint-side Web Socket API. In 2010, we can expect other browser vendors including Mozilla to support Web Socket API, enabling web app developers to come up with richer real-time user experience.


Apart from WebSockets, there are lot of other interesting developments in HTML5 specification awaiting to get mainstream adoption in this year. Many new browsers has started to support audio/video elements, which would allow us to finally ditch dirty proprietary plugins (i.e. Flash, QuickTime & etc). Other interesting features in HTML5 specification includes offline data access, and geolocation API which would be really vital for improved user experience of mobile web. Google already utilise these features in their mobile web apps, which would give a big boost for the widespread adoption.


Exactly after a one year from the announcement, we are finally getting to see the fruits of epic merge between Rails & Merb. Much faster, modular and extensible version of our favourite web framework is almost ready to be released as Rails3, within this year. To get more details on improvements in Rails3 please follow the blog series written by Yehuda Katz in Engine Yard blog.

NoSQL Movement (Scehma-less Databases)

Last decade, we only heard big boys like Google(Big Table), Amazon(Dynamo) are using schema-less key-value data storages. However, projects like MongoDB, Redis, CouchDB & Tokyo Cabinet is giving the opportunity for us to get a taste of it. Schema-less databases are proving to be really flexible over traditional relational databases for certain types of projects. NoSQL movement will surely gain more steam in 2010, so ignore it at your peril!


You may wonder isn't Git already a mainstream technology from the last decade? It's true that its used to manage the world's largest FOSS project, Linux. But the real power of Git is beyond from a Distributed Version Control System. GitHub is becoming very popular, which is a business model entirely based on Git. Certainly, Git has opened up a new dimension in collaborative development and distributed file systems. I believe there are lot of other uses of Git as a simple CMS to mange your personal blog to distributed data mining of large projects. If you haven't checked out Git yet, I recommend you to add it as one of your todos for this year.

Node.js (server-side javascript)

Concept of server-side JavaScript is pre-dates back to 1990s, to the days where Netscape used it as a scripting language in their LiveWire servers. For two decades JavaScript couldn't extend its client-side reign in to server-side environments. However, the release of Node.js, which is an evented I/O for V8 javascript engine, has again made JavaScript a strong contender as a server-side development language. Node.js differs from traditional call-stack based frameworks by having a non-blocking API, which is strongly supported by callback based & evented nature of JavaScript. If you never cared to understand JavaScript and thought jQuery could save your day, now there are better reasons to dig deeper into the world's most misunderstood language.

What are other fascinating technologies, you would keep an eye in this year?