Hot or not

ThoughtWorks Tech Radar: Docker and Microservices are on trend (duh)

JAXenter Editorial Team
Radar image via Shutterstock

The latest edition of ThoughtWorks’ Technology Radar has highlighted what a lot of commentators already know: Docker and Microservices are hot to trot right now. ECMAScript 6 and Swift are also seen favourably by the 20-strong team of experts behind the report.

The latest edition of the biannual Technology Radar from ThoughtWorks once again takes it upon itself to assess the major trends in software development. Central themes this time around include containerisation, Microservices and the long-running issue of security.

As with every issue, the technologies, platforms, tools and languages ​​are classified into one of four categories: The “Hold” category is self-explanatory, whereas technologies falling under the “Assess” tag are recommended to be subjected to a more detailed evaluation. Anything in the “Trial” category covers what ThoughtWorks believes to be suitable for sampling in the corporate sector. Finally, the “Adopt” category carries a strong recommendation to adopt said technology.


For application servers, the Radar has placed Google’s TCP-based network protocol SPDY in the “Hold” category along with “over-ambitious API gateways” and “superficial private clouds”. With regard to the latter, the ThoughtWorks team has criticised applications and services that are labelled as sophisticated cloud offerings on the one hand, while delivering large productivity gains. The downside to this is that “superficial” cloud solutions start to appear in organisations, missing the mark when embarking on “cloud” and being in reality nothing more than simple virtualisation platforms.

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Since passwords are still the weakest link in the security chain, a recommendation for two-factor authentication with the Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) algorithm has been highlighted. According to the team, both simple server-side implementations and free authenticator apps from Google and Microsoft exist.

Languages ​​and frameworks

There aren’t any languages in the “Hold” category this time around, but there sure are a few climbers: The use of ECMAScript 6, the youngest and most extensively revised JavaScript specification since 1997, is given the thumbs up alongside Swift, Apple’s offering as the successor to Objective-C. Since its launch, Swift has eared itself some considerable placements in several rankings.

Arguments for using the object-oriented language are backed up several times by the ThoughtWorks team. The release of Swift 2.0 signifies a maturity that is sufficient for most projects in stability and performance. In addition, there’s talk that Swift is looking to become open source. ThoughtWorks discourages porting large Objective-C projects over however, noting that the effort is unlikely to be profitable.

Docker and Microservices

The particular Docker-cited trend towards containerisation is looked upon by ThoughtWorks as specifically good, with the ecosystem of tools, platforms and technologies growing and maturing rapidly. A particularly innovative application observed by the ThoughtWorks team is the use of Docker as a technique for managing build-time dependencies: You can compile all dependencies in an isolated environment without contaminating the build agent.

Regarding Microservices, ThoughtWorks have caught onto its rising popularity, which saw a massive focus at the recent JavaOne conference. This includes DevOps practices and mature service discovery tools. Microservices was already featured in the previous edition of the Technology Radar and gets a leg up from Spring Boot as another technology to trial.


The Technology Radar is based on a subjective assessment by a 20-strong team of experts. Their expertise and many years of observation of the market contribute to the biannual publication, despite the lack of (comprehensive) market analysis, and has developed a certain reputation in technology circles.

You can check out the Technology Radar for yourself – its available to downloaded for free.

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