Mike Gualtieri Everyday, you are in the trenches building apps that the business needs to be successful.  Our number one job at Forrester is to help make you better, faster and stronger.  That means helping you understand best practices, tools, technologies, architectures, platforms and methodologies that are aligned with your success imperatives.  But, it also means hypothesizing about the future of application development and especially what the future means to you.

Two future scenarios seem plausible – the incremental and the radical.  The incremental future is more of an evolutionary future where change creeps upon us slowly to meet the changing environment.  The radical future happens when the giant comet hits the earth.  There are many shades of grey in between.  Let’s start with two future scenarios:

Future 1: Dynamic Application Developer Better development tools, architectures, patterns and development processes will allow app devs to design and deliver dynamic business apps.  The application development professional role remains largely unchanged, but they become more effective.  Successful application development professionals are those who are able keep up with the pace of business change and the dynamic business applications they require.

Future 2: Dynamic Business Developer A new kind of collaboration between application developers, business analysts and businesspeople will shift much of the responsibility of development to businesspeople. Businesspeople will be able to construct applications by dragging and dropping widgets, writing business rules in natural language or using other intuitive tools. Applications are developed collaboratively by businesspeople and application developers.  The role and success imperatives of application development professionals change dramatically.  Successful application development professionals are those who are best at enabling businesspeople to participate more in developing dynamic applications.

Future 1 is the incremental future – more and better of what we already have.  While Future 2, presumes a fundamental change that has been wrongly predicted many times before.  Coghead, an internet startup, is betting on Future 2 by providing businesspeople with DIY applications that use widgets and Amazon’s elastic compute cloud.

Is there anything different now that makes Future 2 more likely?  Which Future is more desirable? What can you do to influence and/or prepare for the future?

Some questions for you:

  1. Do you think Future 1 and Future 2 are plausible?  Do you have another potential future scenario?
  2. What are the drivers that will influence the future of app dev?  Is there a comet?  If so, what does it look like?
  3. What are the pre-requisites in terms of tools, technologies, architecture and methodologies needed to enable these future scenarios?

What are your thoughts?