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App dev 2013: The winners and losers

JavaScript, APIs, and PaaS advance; Samsung tries to stand out; and Java and .Net become legacy platforms

By Paul Krill, InfoWorld
December 28, 2013 12:50 PM ET

InfoWorld - The software development landscape in 2013 saw technologies like JavaScript rise to new heights while others -- Java, for example -- maintained their prominence out of sheer inertia.

For software developers this year, JavaScript become even more dominant via an ever-expanding ecosystem of frameworks. Samsung tried to establish itself as its own platform in the Android market. API technology, despite a 30-year history, generated a lot of buzz a lot in 2013 as a way to access services and create revenue-generating opportunities for developers. PaaS (platform-as-a-service) cloud computing got a second look this year and is set for big things in 2014, analysts say.

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Meanwhile, the long-established Java and Microsoft .Net software development technologies took a backseat to JavaScript and mobile platforms. But both still are important, and the large base of applications and developers using Java and .Net over many years will ensure they remain prominent.

JavaScript is everywhere

It seems you can't get into a discussion on software development any more without hearing about JavaScript, JavaScript, JavaScript. Yes, JavaScript has been a big deal for a while, even garnering mentions on "Saturday Night Live" and in a Weird Al Yankovic song parody several years ago.

But in 2013, JavaScript was like a snowball rolling down a mountain, getting bigger and bigger. It is the cornerstone of development frameworks like Meteor, Angular.js, and, all which are building developer followings. JavaScript is on Web clients, where it has always been. It is key to mobile development, where much of the software action is today. And it is on the server, via Node.js.

Users of Appcelerator's JavaScript-based mobile application development platform ranked JavaScript ahead of Java, Objective-C, C#, Ruby, and C/C++ for mobile development, according to a November survey by the firm. Appcelerator customers lean toward JavaScript because it can provide a single code base to work on multiple platforms, says Michael King, the company's director of enterprise strategy.

Why the surge in frameworks? Perhaps because JavaScript hit its limitations, but its ubiquity fueled efforts to overcome them. "This was a very interesting year because people see the writing on the wall," says Meteor co-founder Matt DeBergalis. "The ecosystem is still nascent, the tools aren't good enough, and Meteor is, I'd like to think, part of that story [of improving JavaScript tooling]."

Samsung looks to stand out on Android

Clearly, Samsung wants to set itself apart from other Android vendors. It has created a distinct set of services (Chord instant messaging, entertainment management, and Knox security) and even hardware features, such as pen support and non-touch-based gestures in its devices. And it wants developers to write specifically to them, not just to generic Android. Samsung upgraded its mobile SDK in October, had a developer conference to encourage Samsung-specific apps, and sponsored small hackathons around the world to create momentum.

Originally published on Click here to read the original story.

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