Ripe or hype?

Report: Clojure and Scala are mature, JavaScript becoming a platform

Elliot Bentley
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Latest edition of ThoughtWorks’ “radar” report offers up expert opinions on readiness of emerging tech.

ThoughtWorks, the IT consultancy company known for preaching the values of Continuous Delivery, has released the latest edition of its roughly bi-annual “radar” report into emerging tech trends. The four-section report categorises these trends into ‘Techniques’, ‘Platforms’, ‘Tools’, and ‘Languages & Frameworks’, each recommended as ‘adopt’, ‘trial’, ‘assess’ or ‘hold’.

The report doesn’t offer up many truly radical opinions, but the authors’ summary reflects the opinions of many industry commentators, including the increasing importance of mobile devices, NoSQL databases, accessible analytics (‘big data’ for all) and reproducible environments (now possible via cloud computing). The move towards simpler, infrastructure-based techniques is also highlighted as important, although the authors state that “we have not yet seen the usage shifts we believe are necessary”.

The ‘Languages & Frameworks’ section of the report visualised.

Within the ‘Languages & Frameworks’ section, JVM languages Clojure and Scala have been upgraded from ‘trial’ to ‘adopt’ status by the authors without comment, reflecting the maturity these relatively young languages have achieved. They are joined in the ‘adopt’ section only by CSS preprocessing languages such as SASS, SCSS, LESS and Stylus.

The authors also “wonder if we should start to consider JavaScript as a platform and not just a language” with the rise of Node.js, Meteor.js and mobile frameworks like Calatrava, as well as other languages, such as CoffeeScript, which compile to JavaScript. However, this approach is categorised “assess”.

The increasing mainstream acceptance of NoSQL databases is reflected in the new ‘adopt’ status of open source graph database Neo4j, which recently debuted its unique query language Cypher and is described by ThoughtWorks as “the front-runner in the [graph database] space”.

Nowadays, the term ‘hybrid cloud’ is batted about with abandon, often to much derision due to the vagueness of this particular buzzword. However, the report is gushing in its praise of hybrids, placing them in ‘trial’ and praising their ability “combine the best features of public clouds and private data centers” with “robust offerings from Amazon, Rackspace and others” now available. However, the authors are less enthusiastic about existing open source IaaS offerings, such as OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus, placing them in a lower ‘assess’ category.

The authors are particularly scathing regarding Windows Phone, one of the few profiled platforms to actually regress from ‘trial’ to ‘assess’. Windows Phone, “despite a promising start”, has seen “several stumbles in the execution of the platform strategy”, they argue. “This makes us less optimistic about the future of the platform than we were in the last radar.” Notably absent is Windows 8, the new tablet/desktop operating system launching this month.

You can read the full report online at thoughtworks.com/radar.

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