RE: Tim Bray on "Which Technologies Matter?"
> He then goes back and rates the technologies that matter, > and didn't, on several criteria that might be expected to > differentiate them... There's been a lot of good academic analysis of the factors that affect whether a new technology succeeds or not. But it's a long time since I read this stuff so I can't point you to many references. The dominant factor seems to be that people will adopt a technology if they believe that everyone else is going to do so. The early adoption (which happened for all the technologies you listed) comes from individual users for whom the benefit exceeds the cost. The bulk adoption comes from people who get a benefit (either a real benefit, or just a sense of security) simply from doing the same as others are doing, or more importantly, from doing what they *think* others will be doing: the "self-fulfilling prophecy". Synergy benefits are critical: you adopt Unix (or Windows) not because you think it is a good operating system, but because you believe that everyone else will use it and therefore there will be lots of applications and low prices. As a technology designed for interworking, XML obviously has very high synergy potential so long as everyone believes in it. 4GL is an interesting counter-example. 4GLs were actually very widely adopted in the 1980s and gave very substantial benefits to their users (and as you point out, they are still giving these benefits today, it's just that the users don't want to shout about it). But for some reason which I don't think anyone has been able to explain, the market was incredibly fragmented, there were hundreds of products out there, all incompatible, and none with more than 2% market share. What stifled the whole market was the lack of a clear market leader. I don't think anyone can predict why the industry will sometimes decide to agree on a single standard (or product), will sometimes split into two rival camps, and will sometimes fragment into hundreds of camps, but there is no doubt that the big successes come when for some reason all the pundits decide to back the same horse. Most of Tim's factors below: > > ?Management support ?Investor support ?Standardization process > ?Technical elegance ?Apparent ROI ?80/20 point ?Compelling idea > ?Happy programmers ?Good implementations ?Military backing ? are only relevant to the extent that they encourage the community to believe that a particular horse is going to win, and therefore to back it. All of them can be thwarted if a rival technology has equal backing. Michael Kay Software AG home: Michael.H.Kay@n... work: Michael.Kay@s...
PURCHASE STYLUS STUDIO ONLINE TODAY!
Purchasing Stylus Studio from our online shop is Easy, Secure and Value Priced!
Download The World's Best XML IDE!
Accelerate XML development with our award-winning XML IDE - Download a free trial today!
Subscribe in XML format