A lot of developer tools and technologies have taken off this year, and some have been around for a while but are now poised for large-scale adoption. This article lists 30+ dev tools and technologies that I think are going to be big in 2014. I've collected several predictions from influential developers working in various ecosystems (Python, PHP, JS, Java, and .NET to name a few), and those predictions will be labelled as theirs. Most of the predictions, however, are mine. Here we go!
Only a developer who lives under a rock has not heard of Docker or noticed its meteoric rise in popularity. In fact, it's been so popular that the company that open sourced it, dotCloud, changed its name to Docker, Inc. I don't often see a company pivot that hard around an open source technology.
Docker is an application portability utility. The containers are lightweight, hardware-agnostic, and platform-agnostic. You can build one on your laptop and deploy it to just about any production environment. It's surprising that this idea hasn't taken off before, but it seems that Docker is a tool that performs the portability functions much better than any of the previous tools. And now, with all its hype, it has the community behind it too.
I think that Docker is going to embed itself into the fabric of best-practice development and deployment methodologies, much like Vagrant did a few years ago.
This is another technology that is all over the blogosphere. Its Google lineage doesn't hurt either. That might be one of the key reasons why developers were so eager to try it. Ember.js may be easier in a lot of ways, but the popularity of AngularJS is towering over Ember right now.
I think 2014 will see the dominance of AngularJS established in the web development community, unless the learning curve becomes too much for folks. Learn why AngularJS rocks.
The back-to-basics, Node.js-powered blogging platform known as "Ghost" has gotten a lot of attention this year for refreshing the concept of how a blogging platform should be constructed. The founder is a former UI department leader at WordPress, and he's on a mission to make a platform that is only focused on blogging with a dead-simple interface. Any extra stuff is up to community plugins.
Zurb Foundation 5
Twitter Bootstrap may have gotten the jump on the veteran Zurb Foundation, quickly rising to the top of the CSS framework charts (not that there are billboard charts for CSS frameworks, but there should be!), but now Foundation is making a comeback. Twitter Bootstrap lost its luster when it started getting used by every other website out there. I can't keep track of how many "stop using Twitter Bootstrap so much" articles I've seen.
These were the perfect conditions for Zurb to release version 5 of their framework, which includes a lot of performance-related features that Bootstrap doesn't have. I think Twitter Bootstrap may still stay on top due to its name recognition and ease-of-use (Foundation is easy too though), but Foundation is definitely going to grow more than Bootstrap in 2014.
We're still on the front-end stuff, but don't worry, we're going to hit a variety of other technologies in just a second.
Jeff Atwood's reboot of the forum has been publicly available for about a year, and I expect his team to really ramp things up in 2014. I've already seen an online ruby course and Heroku adopt the Discourse platform. Some of the features are innovative, but also intuitive. I like that you can see how many clicks each of your topics and responses get, and the real-time updating and context conservation features are second to none. I hope to set up and test drive my own Discourse forum soon.
P.S. The Discourse team has also dedicated much of their efforts to strengthening the entire Ruby ecosystem in the process of their own development, which is awesome news.
I finally bought some Bitcoins this month. Although the process wasn't fast, it definitely felt secure and had an intuitive user experience. The site I bought them on was Coinbase, a site that provides more security measures than my bank! I've never seen such intense security features, but the speedy performance and great design make up for it. Together, those things make this site primed to be the center of the Bitcoin mayhem for 2014.
Don't care about Xbox One. Don't care about PS4. I'm waiting for one of these. The Steam Machine rise to power may not be in full swing until 2015, but I think that this new strategy for gaming consoles is going to severely disrupt the gaming console market starting in late 2014. The open source OS is going to open up a range of new customizations that we could never do with proprietary gaming consoles. Plus, I've got a ton of games from the Humble Indie Bundles waiting to be played, and it will be nice to finally try them on a console connected to a big TV.
Everyone should have a screen-sharing app on their computer at this point. It's an easy way to collaborate on tons of things, but most of all for coding. Screenhero has been moving fast in its development, releasing several updates a month. Now its version for Windows is just as good as its version for Mac, and you can share screens between Macs and PCs! All you have to do is watch out for the differences in keyboards.
StackEdit is, hands down, the best markdown editor I've ever worked with (and possibly the best authoring app I've worked with). The amazing thing is that it's a completely open source web app that has only been out for a couple of months I believe. Other tools like Mou can't compete with the convenience and usability of StackEdit. I'm going to use it for all my markdown document authoring from now on.
This little smart-wristband has been around for more than a year, but I think 2014 could see it really take off around the world. It makes fitness tracking a lot easier, and that's the kind of smart gadget people need when they're having trouble staying motivated.
FitBit also illustrates how it's becoming a lot less daunting to found a startup that needs to manufacture a physical product. I think a lot of these hardware+software startups are going to be successful more often than pure-software startups.
The FitBit segment flows nicely into another major technology for 2014 – Arduino. It's the open source, hardware-hacking platform that FitBit uses to prototype their new products, and its currently being used in several startups and plenty of home automation hacking projects.
While popularity is waning for several PaaSes (I'm not going to name names, you can do the Google Trends search yourself), OpenShift is one PaaS that is definitely gaining momentum in the open source community. Its main draws are simplicity and the flexibility of being open source.
Also, RedHat's OpenShift developers are a great, interactive group, so when a hot new toy like Ghost is released, they add support for it and write a blog about how to deploy it on their platform. I'm going to try deploying Ghost on OpenShift pretty soon.
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