We’re starting to see predictions about what’s going to be hot in enterprise technology in 2017.  Cloud (yet again), Blockchain, Big Data/Analytics, Internet of Things (IoT) are all among the top of the list. However, it was Krish Subrumanian’s humorous tweet that started me thinking about what will be the single most important contribution from the enterprise technology community in 2016. While all the aforementioned technologies will certainly see a lot of interest and growth, they’re all enabled by a Web platform.

A platform is an architectural pattern and design that underlies all these capabilities. Its attributes are the ability to deliver a focused service and facilitate interaction through programmatic interfaces. The cloud platform delivers metered software and infrastructure services. The Blockchain platform is formulated by a set of loosely-coupled nodes that journal transactions all in an identical fashion to create an immutable and non-repudiated record. Big Data platforms deliver the ability to process vast quantities of data very quickly with the ability to scale out to increase capacity and speed.

Without the platform as an architectural pattern, many of the technologies that will see growth in 2017 really would not exist. Indeed, I would go so far to say that it the Web platform that truly has enabled the appearance and power of these other platforms. After all, we had multiple distributing computing platforms prior to the Web; Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), CORBA, DCOM, and Java RMI to name a few. However, none of these was ever so widely-adopted that they spawned equally powerful and widely-adopted platforms.

So, for me 2016, is the year of the Web platform. With HTTP/2, HTML5, ES6 and CSS2 it is the foundation for API economies, real-time data exchange, platform-independent computing and broad-spectrum dissemination of the information throughout the globe. Without these four key components so much of what we have seen develop over the past five years would most likely never have emerged.

So, in the vein of Time magazine giving David Bowie his due by declaring him Man of the Year in spite of his passing away, I think it’s time to recognize the technology that is fostering massive disruption in century-old industries, giving rise to new ways to connect and communicate, and providing the foundation for the next generation of applications. I declare Technology of the Year for 2016 to be The Web Platform!

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