Ripe or hype?

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

Elliot Bentley
thoughtworks-teaser

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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