“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” – Casey Stengel
A few days ago, my friend Atanas Entchev asked me for my thoughts on coming trends in 2014for a feature he was preparing for his GeoHipster site. Being the obliging sort that I am, I provided a couple and I’ve been attempting to explain one ever since. This has mostly been back-channel via private messages and such but, today, the GeoHipster piece was the subject of the “#geowebchat” on Twitter. Twitter is very effective for some types of communication but quickly goes off the rails where nuance or anything long-form is required. So, it was time for a post. My prediction went like this:
It was followed by an apparently too brief explanation that I will attempt to expand here.
I am very fortunate that, in my professional circle, I am connected to a number of people who are doing very cutting-edge things with a lot of technologies. These people have been doing very impressive things with various web technologies for a number of years. So much so that these technologies are somewhat mundane in those circles. As a person who makes my living supporting Federal contracts for a number of agencies, I also have a foot in another camp that has not been as far along with these tools.
Before I get too far into this, I will state that there are many people building very cutting-edge systems in and for the Federal government, but the penetration of modern web tools and techniques is very uneven for a number of reasons. The reasons range from procurement inefficiencies to byzantine information security requirements to workforce training issues and so on. This is generally a reflection of process, not people. As a result, there are still many shops operating on platforms such as Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8, which does not allow for advanced web development.
All of this leads to great opportunity. For as much great work that has already been done, there is an army of smart, talented developers who have yet to be turned loose with modern web tools. This is a community that implemented geofencing, “geotriggers,” location-based alerting and other concepts using older languages and architectures at least a decade before they appeared in the current marketplace.