Going Hollywood

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-07-29 Print this article Print

?"> As an aside, have you been tapped to consult on movies and such like that? Uh, no, but I played Tom Cruises body double in a few flicks. The short answer is no. I have been drawn into the game industry quite a bit. Theres a tremendous amount of innovative software being built there. It turns out to be a driver for some of the grid stuff that IBM is doing. And you see the precursor of demands that are going to be happening in the enterprise space, which demand the presence of tools to fuse not just software pieces but lots of non-software pieces as well. The folks at Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic and the digital domain guys have fundamental configuration management problems, which are not unlike the kinds problems we find in software itself. They just happen to be non-software pieces.
You probably hear me talk a lot about movies and stuff because this is increasingly a software-intensive business. And it looks an awful lot like what enterprise development looked like 20 or 30 years ago, where you had lots of brilliant people innovating, yet there werent a lot of standard practices, best practices and architectures. But thats going to change over time.
Also, in your talk of the future [circa 2032, the 50th anniversary of Rational] you didnt say a whole lot about the tools of that era. What kinds of tools do you foresee? I did a whole talk on the evolution of development environments at the first Eclipse conference. So I basically outlined the move from command line stuff to IDEs to what were calling XDEs to collaborative environments. And in the movie space you see things like Metrowerks IDE tends to be a dominant player, you find Maya, you find RenderMan, all these things kind of fit together. MASSIVE [Model Architecture and System for Spatial Interaction in Virtual Environments] is another one. And whats missing is sort of the fusion of those development environments that hasnt happened yet, but thatll happen over time. So Ive talked to a few people recently—namely James Gosling and Graham Hamilton at Sun—about what we might see in terms of new languages. Do you have any ideas on what that language will be? Click here to read eWEEKs interview with James Gosling. I think Java still has a lot of legs in it. As my talk pointed out, I think where the sweet spot is for the next generation of languages, whatever they might be, are those that are more systems-oriented. … Actually I see two classes of languages. Languages that allow me to glue systems together because we will have a lot of that and UML is certainly a candidate. And the other piece is domain-specific languages. So were going to see not just a single language, but probably a crop of languages pop up. Theyre probably going to be graphical or textual in nature, or a combination of the two, and I would hope have common semantics to them. That I think is the next generation of stuff that will pop up. And its a co-evolution with the architectural patterns we see emerging. Look at many of the ISVs, and those who are taking the high ground are ones who are trying to harvest those architectural patterns and build upon them. Next Page: "Verticalized tools" in the near term?


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