Application Creation Index (ACI) gains 1.68% in February. Leading indicators portend weak 2014.
Stephen Wolfram is a deity in computing circles. He's the Oxford-trained British scientist who wrote a Physics dictionary at age 12 and later developed the magnum opus of academic Math programs Mathematica before authoring the controversial and acclaimed book A New Kind of Science. His more recent
work led to the natural language processing (NLP) search engine WolframAlpha which powers Siri and Bing among others.
All of that and Stephen's biggest contribution is yet to be revealed: the Wolfram Language, a new approach to developing software that lets creators think like people. The days of cursed, bleary-eyed keyboard slaves wrestling with semicolons and curly brackets may soon end. In Wolfram Language, for instance, to add data to your app that, say, does a lookup related to the taxonomy of fish, you might just add "fish taxonomy" to your code and the language will sherpa the data into memory. Stephen Wolfram, we raise a (warm) pint to you!
Improving the experience for application creators requires reducing the gap between inspiration and innovation. We're doing our best to spearhead the transformation with tools like the App Creator but, more important, by changing expectations about who can create and what training they need. This month's Application Creation Index (ACI) is a reminder that we're ignoring the real problem: improving the user experience by improving the creator experience.
Case in point: the largest technology companies on the planet are tripping over themselves to arm the world's 20 million developers with tools for building and big iron for hosting apps in the cloud. Trouble is, they're doing it all wrong.
This month, IBM launched BlueMix to make its Frankenstack of apps available on its newly-acquired SoftLayer cloud infrastructure. Yawn. Microsoft is converging its Azure PaaS and IaaS services by adding configurable services to VM clusters. Ugh.
My friend Lenore in Toronto could care less. She's not measured by how many services her VMs consume or how many cores are in her CPU. She's measured by one metric only: business value. She's too busy trying to improve the accuracy of payroll processing and uptime for Exchange to care about any of the distractions cloud vendors promote as "innovation".
Which brings us back to the ACI. In February, it gained 1.68% to close at 101.68. A slight increase in app dev job postings coupled with headline-grabbers like IBM's BlueMix announcement led to the increase yet the index was outperformed by the NASDAQ which gained 2.20% during the same period. I predict anemic gains until we as an industry galvanize creators around something simpler, something profoundly different, something human. Stephen Wolfram, call me!