Developer 2.0: Gung-Ho or Ho Hum?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-04-28 Print this article Print

title=Memories of Peer-to-Peer} 

Neward said he is reminded of the major buzz that rose around peer-to-peer technology a few years ago.

"This was supposed to revolutionize applications as we knew them. In the long term, it gave us easier ways to share music and not much else," Neward said. "Many applications, it turned out, weren't really in a position to take advantage of peer-to-peer ideas, or else couldn't quite figure out how to make use of them. As a result, peer-to-peer faded. Social networking, as an application feature, strikes me as being in much the same category-there will be a great deal of buzz around it, there will be many attempts to incorporate it as part of applications, the attempts will run into issues, and the  'social networking as a feature' meme will slowly fade. "

In regard to the second axis, an entirely different story emerges, Neward said.  "Development is an intrinsically communicative process, and anything that fosters better communication among developers is a good thing. That, however, relegates social networking and Web 2.0 to the same category of interest as tools like IM, e-mail, shared desktops and so on, and may not be quite as exciting to talk about as the traditional build-up around the space. "

Vishwanath Venugopalan, an analyst with The 451 Group, said, "The 'Enterprise 2.0' set of products-including social software and collaboration for information workers-supports a working style that is too ad hoc and transient for the sorts of measurable, repeatable software engineering processes that have come to rule the roost in software engineering teams."

However, Venugopalan said there is certainly a push among development tool and ALM (application lifecycle management) vendors to clean up workflow issues among developers as well as between developers and nondeveloper constituencies-notably testing/QA, compliance and audit.

"Because software development workflows are introducing nontrivial interactions between developers and nondevelopers, they cannot be transacted using source code alone," he said. "Rich metadata gleaned from sources such as defect tracking systems, version control systems, source code analysis and test runs is percolating into ALM suites to mediate these interactions and serve as a basis for collaboration. These forms of collaboration involving software developers, who are themselves information workers, will most likely contain elements of collaboration and social software already familiar to information workers at large, so even if what we know as Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies may not always be directly applicable to software developers, elements of these technologies will invariably show up in collaborative workflows involving developers."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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