Coming in 2005

Every twelve months, an old year finishes and a new year starts. In this case, 2004 is now over and 2005 is well under way. It seems that the economy is no longer the topic of discussion and that people are no longer as scared of layoffs. In fact, it seems that there are more positions opening up and that jobs in newer technologies, such as .NET, are starting to become more available.

Last year, I presented a bit of overview information on what was coming in 2004 from a number of companies. A number of these products did come to market. This includes new versions of Java as well as some interesting other tools and products such as Sybase's PocketPowerBuilder. Not surprisingly, a few missed—such as the release of Yukon from Microsoft. All in all, it wasn't a stellar year for product releases, but it wasn't horrible either.

But, 2004 is over and now it is time to look at what is coming this year—in 2005. Strangely, as I put this article together, some of the major companies didn't have a lot to say. Others have huge plans for the year. Others still have already released major products and it is only January!

Over at IBM

Over at IBM, the programmers paint 2005 in broad terms. They see Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) as being important. In addition to SOA, mobile and embedded computing will continue to be significant in 2005. In terms of development approach, they see a continued focus on componentization.

Specific to SOA, they state that tools and techniques will be a major focus for the industry in 2005, especially in regard to identification, design, and modeling of Service-Oriented Development of Applications (SODA).

While the strokes are broad, the actions have already started. IBM has started this year by releasing 500 patents to the open source community. As such, it is a safe bet that IBM will continue to support and push Open Source in 2005.

Among the biggest news from IBM is that 2005 should bring a production release of IBM Lotus Notes/Domino 7. IBM Lotus Notes/Domino 7 recently entered public beta 3. The overall details of the new version are too extensive for this article, but an overview can be found on IBM's site at http://www-306.ibm.com/software/swnews/swnews.nsf/n/jmae64pgfa?OpenDocument&Site=lotus. Some of the enhancements include improved integration for password management and installation across the products. There are also scalability improvements at the same time as a reduction in CPU load (25% less). For applications, there is real-time integration as well as Web services hosting (Domino in J2EE applications), SQL and relational constructions (DB2 option), and much more.

For Domino developers, there will be a new IBM Workplace Designer. This will include forms, view controls, data bindings, a document API, and more. There will be editors for queries, schema, and even JavaScript.

Also coming from IBM in 2005 will be new capabilities in IBM Workplace Collaboration Services 2.5. This will include templates for applications and forms, APIs, Toolkits, new platforms, Microsoft Office and Windows Integration, a Notes application plug-in, and much more.

Other items to watch for from IBM in 2005 include IBM Workplace for Business Controls and Reporting 2.5/3.0, IBM Workplace for Strategy Execution 1.0/1.5, WebSphere Portal 5.1.1, and IBM Workplace Services Express 2.5

If you are using DB2, the enhancements coming in the area of support for XML should excite you. IBM Information Management Software is expected to provide persistence, search, and integration for XML to DB2. This will include a native XML storage manager in DB2 along with a new XML Data type and flexibility using XQuery. By using the DB2 Universal Database, you'll also be able to model information directly as XML. At a minimum, there should be betas of this new XML technology in DB2 in 2005. Otherwise, this technology will be seen as an integrated part of IBM's key products.

Over at Microsoft

If I were to speculate where the most noise in 2005 is going to come from, I'd point to the mountain in Seattle—Microsoft. While I can't get anyone to promise that SQL Server 2005 ("Yukon") will deliver in 2005, it is looking like it might. Even if it doesn't, the release of Visual Studio 2005 ("Whidbey") has been stated to be a "definite" event. Granted, putting 2005 into their names does increase the pressure on the developers at Microsoft to deliver!

Of course, if you have read my past articles and newsletters, you know that in July of 2003 I was stating that the release of Visual Studio 2005 was targeted for the end of 2004. That obviously didn't happen. When talking to several Microsoft product people in 2004, I presented the fact that they had been stating 2004 for this product. I received adamant responses that the product would release within the fiscal year for Microsoft. This translates to releasing before July 1st, 2005. We are several months closer to July, and it looks like this could happen, although a lot would have to occur first. I wouldn't expect the product to be in stores by then, but the first of the SKUs could hit manufacturing. Regardless, that would still put it solidly in 2005.

When I mention Visual Studio 2005, I include the .NET Framework 2.0 and all of the editions of Visual Studio that we've seen in the past. More importantly, I also include the new high-end Team System versions. It is the functionality of the high-end versions that will make this a notable release in 2005. Finally, this also includes the Express editions that went into beta this past summer. They will offer a more entry-level, "easier-to-use" version.

SQL Server 2005 is used by Visual Studio 2005 Team System. While nobody will publicly commit on the database's specific release date, the database may have to be released in some form for Visual Studio to release. That would indicate that some portion of the database needs to be released this year.

This may seem minor, but it's potentially important to developers using Microsoft technologies—the release of SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. This is a replacement for Microsoft's Desktop Engine (MSDE). This entry-level database has been stated to be free for developers to use. While it won't be overly scaleable, it will provide a database engine that can be used when small-scale database function is needed. MSDE was used in the past and had several limits. SQL Server 2005 Express will be much more effective. Additionally, if you do want to scale SQL Server 2005 Express, you will easily be able to move to the full version of SQL Server 2005.

Several other items can be expected from Microsoft in 2005, although their direct impact on developers may be less. MSN Messenger 7 is expected to release in 2005 with new features such as "Nudge" (a shaking of the IM window), and "Wink" (animated pictures that include sound). MSN Search should also be officially released. This is Microsoft's new search, which will have over five billion Web documents when it launches (see http://beta.search.msn.com for more information). Other products could include MSN Spaces, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1, Windows Server 2003x64 editions, Microsoft Identity Integration Server SP 1, Windows Update Services, Forecast 7.0 (a budget and planning application from FRx Software, a part of Microsoft Business Solutions), and the first official beta of "Longhorn" (the next version of Windows).

I'd say the mountain in Seattle is rumbling and that 2005 could see a major eruption of software...

Coming in 2005

Over at Macromedia

While some may believe that ColdFusion is past its prime, those at Macromedia would most likely argue the point, as would a number of independent developers. With the release of a public beta at the end of 2004, it is expected that the next release of ColdFusion, code-named "Blackstone," will release in 2005.

Blackstone will have a number of big enhancements. This includes new tags for data entry, printing, and reporting, as well as new capabilities. With the new extensions to the CFFORM tag, developers will be able to easily build reskinable, reusable forms that can be delivered using Flash or Xforms—without the need for Flash MX or any other design tool.

For printing, new functionality has been added so that developers can have Web pages print without worrying about graphics and text getting cut off or broken as well as removing worry of printing a single Web page to multiple paper pages. In the area of reporting, dynamic reporting will be accessible within the context of your application and these dynamic reports will be able to include charting and graphing. Additionally, structured repeating reports become much easier to create without the need of third-party reporting programs.

One big enhancement in Blackstone will be in the area of distribution. You now will be able to distribute an application without including CFML source; you will be able to distribute it as compiled code. You also will be able to build a single EAR or WAR file that can contain both your application and ColdFusion. This had to be done separately in previous versions.

Over at Borland

Borland is not sleeping in 2005 either. It is pushing forward with its Software Delivery Optimization (SDO) and "Themis." In short, this is the first iteration of its platform strategy for aligning business methodologies and software development/delivery across the multiple roles that are involved in an application's lifecycle. This puts a focus on the tasks and roles, thus allowing there to be more focus on issues such as risk, quality, and scope.

Another notable item coming from Borland in 2005 for developers should be a new version of C++Builder. With the last major revision having been in 2002, a new version is certainly due. The new version of C++Builder is expected to use the Delphi IDE. Thus, you should be able to use Borland Developer Studio regardless of whether you are using C++ or Delphi/Pascal.

Over at MySQL AB

Like many other products, MySQL is continuing to evolve as well. 2005 may see the release of MySQL 5.0. This new version will contain a number of important database features, including support for stored procedures, updateable views, cursors, and rudimentary triggers.

Over at CompuWare

CompuWare has already started 2005 with a bang by releasing several products. The first notable product is OptimalJ 3.3, which includes several improvements to enable the quicker deliver of SOA. Changes include a new UI designer that extends automation to the presentation layer, integrated mainframe connectors to enable enterprise developers to tap into and leverage legacy applications, and role-based functionality that now includes requirements management.

Also released from CompuWare were DevPartner 3.3 and Vantage Analyzer for J2EE. DevParnter 3.3 is a suite of productivity and profiling tools for building Java applications. Vantage Analyzer for J2EE provides service management for complex production environments.

Over at Sun

Sun released Java server Enterprise 7 in December, so they ended 2004 with a big release. Not to be outdone by IBM, Sun started 2005 off by releasing 1,600 patents to the open source community under their Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL). This release, just announced, gives open source developers free access to Sun OpenSolaris-related patents.

Sun expects to continue its tradition of releasing updates quarterly for some of their key products. You can expect this for Java Studio Creator, Java Studio Enterprise, and Sun Studio.

Additionally, NetBeans, the Open Source Java IDE, is expecting to have a beta and full release of version 4.1 this year. This follows the release of 4.0 that occurred just last month. New features of 4.1 can be found at http://www.netbeans.org/community/releases/41/index.html.

Change Is in the Air

In looking across the many companies developing tools and products for application developers, one thing is clear. Change is in the air. The focus is turning from building tools for the various tasks in the application life cycle and is now moving towards providing tools for the different roles for building business solutions. It is a subtle difference, but a difference nonetheless.

In Conclusion...

This article has covered just a few of the companies in the industry. When you start adding in the other big companies, you can quickly see that there is a lot planned for 2005. Additionally, for many of the companies in this article, what is presented barely scratches the surface of what they have planned. There is a lot coming. Let's hope that most of it makes its dates in 2005.

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About the Author

Bradley Jones

Bradley Jones, in addition to managing CodeGuru, Brad! oversees the Developer.com Newtwork of sites including Codeguru, Developer.com, DevX, VBForums, and over a dozen more with a focus on software development and database technologies. His experience includes development in C, C++, VB, some Java, C#, ASP, COBOL, and more as well as having been a developer, consultant, analyst, lead, and much more. His recent books include Teach Yourself the C# Language in 21 Days, Web 2.0 Heroes, and Windows Live Essentials and Services.
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