Red Hat has ended its year in business with an obligatory look forward at prospects for 2012. The company suggests that the role of middleware software as a crucial component of automating businesses processes will continue in the year ahead, but that the ways in which it plays its part will inevitably change.
Middleware VP Craig Muzilla logically points to mobile as a key driver for 2012 and says that developers are building small mobile apps for iOS and Android, but the marketplace will begin to incorporate a much broader and more sophisticated use of mobile technology. "We'll begin to see increased integration with backend applications — integration that will tie into customer relationship management, enterprise resource management systems, and more," he said.
Red Hat's prediction is that applications will not only be used in mobile phones, but also incorporated into many other types of remote devices. Not as bland a statement as that may sound, the company is including remote sensors in this definition. Middleware will be necessary to support these types of embedded applications through advanced messaging and complex event processing (CEP) technology.
Staying on safe ground, Muzilla says that cloud computing will continue to be huge and that, " We'll begin to see more sophisticated services offered in PaaS. So far, most have focused on container technology — writing code and getting it up and running. We'll soon see developers using technology to create cloud-based solutions that move beyond the core application server to include other middleware capabilities such as integration, workflow, and process management."
Red Hat's Ashesh Badani suggests that Java will continue to lead when looking at its overall adoption perspective; however, there are an increasing number of dynamic languages gaining traction using Java runtimes. "One size simply does not fit all. But many emerging frameworks do not offer the kind of stability and robustness of Java EE. So while we fully expect developers to take a Swiss Army knife approach, adopting the tools that best help their individual organizations scale, we'll continue to see widespread adoption of enterprise Java," he said.
Badani is also seeing the rise of dynamic languages using Java virtual machines such as Scala, Ceylon, and others. The interest in these languages, frameworks, and styles of programming will (he proposes) continue to grow in 2012. We can also expect to see further "intersections between middleware and big data" so that users increasingly look at big data as a way to store and analyze vast amounts of information. "Middleware can help to leverage and extend that information into applications via a more robust process and analytics platform," said Badani.
Muzilla rounds out with comments on new Java standards, with the introduction of Java EE 6 in mind. "There's a big developer interest in standards-based flexibility, which Java EE offers. It's portable and highly adaptable, which is what developers are looking for. We'll also see a new movement around Contexts and Dependency Injection (CDI). Developers will begin developing extensions and new communities will evolve. We'll also see Java begin to standardize around the cloud and PaaS with the advent of Java EE 7," he said.