Software development continued to move toward simplicity in 2006. Most evident was the widespread adoption of SOA (services-oriented architecture), which has become the technology of choice for integrating systems of all kinds -- in-house between departments, across stovepipe applications, and in B2B and B2C commerce.
The demand for simpler technologies was clearly evident in programming languages and frameworks. Java 6, released in December, added numerous features to simplify development. It also added better support for scripting languages. One language primarily associated with simplicity, Ruby, will tap these benefits with JRuby, a JVM implementation that should ship in 2007. Likewise, an elegant scripting language called Groovy, due to ship in early 2007, will put the fun back into Java programming.
Frameworks such as Spring and Ruby on Rails continued gaining in popularity and commercial support, as developers and their managers came to accept the view that many business apps don’t need the heavy enterprise aspects. By giving up some features, and especially scalability, these frameworks have enabled many sites to cut a swath through their backlog.
The rise of lightweight frameworks, the continued popularity of scripting languages, and the success of SOA show that IT sites and developers are increasingly relying on simpler technologies. And this trend is made possible by fact that these simpler tools are delivering increasingly sophisticated results. Technologies that deliver this productive ease of use will continue to thrive for years to come.