Ethan's Predictions for 2009

As Matt said in his last blog post, both Matt and I are making predictions about what will happen in 2009 with technology and web development. We'll revisit both our posts at the end of next year to see who was right and who was wrong! Make sure to read Matt's post for his predictions too.


Prediction: OpenID will officially die out and lose all hope of being adopted as a widespread standard.

Matt predicted that OpenID would become a login method on more mainstream websites, but still lack mainstream use. My prediction is similar, except I think that OpenID will essentially die out by the end of next year. Throughout 2008, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google all announced support for OpenID. So far, however, they are only OpenID providers and not relying parties, meaning that you can use your logins from these websites to login to other websites, but not vice-versa. The idea of OpenID is that you can use your OpenID to login to any supporting website. Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google have effectively killed this idea by only partially adopting OpenID. I predict that unless more mainstream websites fully adopt OpenID then the service will fade out and lose all hope of being adopted as a widespread standard.

Web Applications

Prediction: Web applications will become even easier to develop and more powerful.

Technologies like Google Gears and Adobe Flex are making web applications more powerful and much easier to develop. They add functionality unavailable from traditional web technologies, allowing web developers to do things never before possible and making web applications more reliable. I think that next year we will see some amazing web applications and some amazing new web-application technology.


Prediction: PHP 5.3 will be a godsend for PHP, delivering the much-needed namespace support. Development of and hope for PHP 6 will also keep the PHP community strong as we await Unicode support and a general clean-up.

PHP 5 brought some much-needed improvements to PHP, but left out namespaces and Unicode support. PHP 5.3 will bring namespaces to PHP and be the godsend that helps to keep developers using PHP. I also think that PHP 5.3 will be quickly adopted because webhosts won't go through the initial skittish period like they did with switching from PHP 4 to PHP 5. PHP 6 will probably near the final stages of development during 2009, but I don't think we will see PHP 6 until 2010 at the earliest.

Ruby on Rails

Prediction: Ruby on Rails will either fade into obscurity or gain more attention next year. It is hard to say which will happen, but my prediction is that Rails' fate will be decided next year.

Just two years ago, Ruby on Rails was receiving tons of attention from the web-development community. Developers were (apparently) switching over to Ruby on Rails and every web-development site had content preaching of Rails' greatness. However, I haven't heard too much about Ruby on Rails in the past few months and it seems that Ruby on Rails has faded from the limelight or at least lost its glamour.

The reason that I never switched over to Rails is because it felt too bloated and restrictive. It is easy to do the basics in Rails, but if you want to deviate outside of the basics it isn't as easy as in PHP. I think that a lot of other developers felt the same. However, the Rails development team recently announced that the Merb framework was going to merge with Rails 3 (external link). Merb is a lot like Rails, except it is more modular and, hence, gives the developer more choice (such as using jQuery instead of Prototype). Rails 3 is meant to be more modular and less bloated, which makes me much more interested in trying out Rails again.

I think that next year Ruby on Rails will either fade into the background as "just another programming framework" or really shine once again, winning over more developers.

XHTML 2 and HTML 5

Prediction: Both XHTML 2 and HTML 5 will only live on the drawing board and only make small inroads to even near-adoption and support by the major web browsers.

Basically, I think that nothing exciting nor significant will happen with XHTML 2 and HTML 5. I also don't think that the W3C will make any progress towards a final draft for HTML 5 (and certainly not for XHTML 2).

Well, those are my predictions for 2009! At the end of next year, we will revisit both my predictions and Matt's predictions to see what actually happened. Have a happy New Year's!


  • Will be interesting to see which of us gets the most right by the end of next year.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Tue 30 Dec 2008 at 10:20

  • What is the prize for winning this contest?

    Posted by Eugene Wee on Sat 3 Jan 2009 at 23:33

  • Bragging rights I guess. razz

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Sun 4 Jan 2009 at 18:22