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What is the most potentially-revolutionary software currently being developed?

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Regardless of likelihood to succeed in adoption or impact, what software do you know if with the highest ceiling for impact (for better or worse)?

Looking forward to reading about some interesting projects!

Discussion

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downey profile image
Tim Downey

I think a lot of the work in the open source cloud infrastructure space has a high impact on the entire software ecosystem. I'm talking about most of the projects that fall under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) umbrella -- things like Prometheus, Envoy, containerd, etc. -- as well as "cloud native adjacent" stuff like Firecracker or Hashicorp's OSS offerings.

Most of all, though, I want to focus on Kubernetes. 🤩

Kubernetes has democratized the infrastructure automation capabilities of the hyperscalers. It provides a declarative, "self-healing", platform for deploying and running workloads that is (mostly) cloud agnostic. That said, it's still pretty complicated. Fortunately Kubernetes can act as a set of building blocks for building further abstractions on top of it! Kelsey Hightower sums this up better than I ever could in a tweet:

Projects like OpenFaas, Knative, and Cloud Foundry for Kubernetes (I work on this, so shameless plug) enhance Kubernetes further by providing full serverless and PaaS (Platform as a Service) experiences for developers.

By relying on Kubernetes and platforms built on top of it, developers can spend less time reinventing the wheel when it comes to infrastructure and more time developing applications that actually serve their users' needs.

In short Kubernetes and other Cloud Native projects provide devs with the infrastructure automation capabilities of the tech giants and this itself acts as a giant springboard for everything that is later built on top of it.

Disclaimer: I'm biased here cause I work with this stuff all day and would like to believe what I spend time on is meaningful. 😅

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charlesdlandau profile image
Charles Landau

I would argue that cloud native is the key innovation here, and that Kubernetes is a great option among many viable platform-for-platforms solutions. (Nomad comes to mind.)

While k8s is an incredible project, I've come to sense that the Cloud Native movement is going through a "DevOps is not tools" phase. In their excellent book, Justin Garrison and Kris Nova stress time and again how the business, culture, and tools must also align in order to get the most out of tools like k8s.

As a result I have increasingly come to see the value of Kubernetes as an add-on to the much more important value of realizing a business and technical process that is capable of defining a pod spec regardless of the syntax.

None of which, I think, contradicts what you said, but I think it's easy to miss.

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downey profile image
Tim Downey

Yep, completely agree that tools alone won't be the force multiplier that folks may be expecting. But the existence of these tools certainly makes it possible. :)

A skilled platform team and the right practices can enable hundreds of developers with k8s. :)

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Stephen Leyva (He/Him)

I kinda think what kubernetes has done is establish a common language to declare your application deployments. The API is what’s amazing here. An example of this is how Amazon put the API around fargate. Eventually tho, the kubernetes underlying services will fade into the back ground. What’s a kubelet and why is it running my c?

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downey profile image
Tim Downey

Ya, I've heard folks describe it as being a "common dial tone" for the cloud.

Eventually tho, the kubernetes underlying services will fade into the back ground.

This is something I'm looking forward to. 😌 Developing nicer and nicer abstractions will continue to lower the barrier to entry to software development. 👍

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nhh profile image
Niklas

Effectively saying, using kubernetes lowers the barrier of entering software development? 👀

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downey profile image
Tim Downey

Maybe what I said is a little broad... I'm just rattling off comments here. 😂

I don't believe Kubernetes lowers the barrier of entry to the field of software development, per se. In fact if someone is starting out and wanting to learn to code it's probably at best a distraction. I do believe, though, it lowers the barrier to entry for writing production-grade software that runs at scale. It provides:

  • A common declarative way of deploying changes and running containers
  • Ability to autoscale when under load
  • Fault tolerance and self-healing capabilities when application instances crash
  • Tons of adjacent software works with it (service meshes, logging systems, etc.)
  • Ingress Controllers provide self-service APIs for configuring external routing
  • Much more... just listing off the first things that come to mind

Things that you or someone in your organization would have to do themselves and perhaps do manually. When used correctly it can save a lot of time and more devs can focus on writing their own software instead of learning how to do all of this. That's what I meant. :)

That said, like what @charlesdlandau said above, Kubernetes alone is just a tool and it's not as simple as just throwing a legacy application into a container and calling it a day.

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nhh profile image
Niklas

Good take! I believe k8s has its place but waaay to many people with small to medium business jump on the hype train without any justification for using k8s. There is a huge gap betweeen cost and benefit in the low/medium end.

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iamschulz profile image
I am Schulz

Forem

(Yeah, I'm smooth)

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peter profile image
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Max Ong Zong Bao

Hmm.. I have a lot actually.

  • Red Light X Ray Machines - Replaces expensive x ray machines and indirectly reduces medical bills with better clarity in brain or body scanning without the radiation.
  • AI voice Artists That can Cry - Imagine the amount of work to make it accessible for people to use voices artists in games, animations, podcasts, songs or movies.
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mskog profile image
Magnus Skog

Man that crying AI ruined my whole morning. That is so awesome and creepy. Thanks I guess? :)

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Yeah, I was super amazed by it which makes me feel this is super duper cool.

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kailyons profile image
KaiLikesLinux

There are four things I can answer with:
V Lang - Perfect programming language in my opinion. It has a built-in easy and lovely UI library, also it compiles as fast as C.
MEML - While unreleased, LISP-like HTML is a good idea (which is why I build it), it also has extra tags you might not be able to get elsewhere.
Lumina DE - My favorite DE, lightweight, and ready for work on RPi and Pine64 hardware.
Forem - This is probably the one I am most ecstatic about, it makes hosting a custom community easy for any community.

If I had to pick the most likely one to boom, other than Forum, that would either be MEML or V language.

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Adam Crockett

This is badass! ptsjs.org/guide/sound-0800

Looked at this 4 times today. Not revolutionary unless sounds based UI became acceptable. I'm talking UI that pulsates to music, dancing menus, what a world!

The real answer would be the <portal> element.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

That's a nifty niche library, but I don't see it as "revolutionary" compared to, say, safenetwork.tech, Discovery.earth, deep learning algorithms, CRISPR tools, or BioBricks software.

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Adam Crockett

That's what I said.

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Raunak Ramakrishnan

Hasura. Postgres + easily scalable GraphQL API with support for realtime updates is a great foundation for quickly creating admin panels, dashboards without too much fuss. Plus the Hasura team is awesome!

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Brian Heidrich

I’ve been using Hasura with a React side project and it’s been absolutely fantastic! I love how easy it is to work with Hasura and creat actions and events with my database. It’s so easy to use that even beginners like myself can get started and build complex backends in little to no time

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padaki-pavan

Second this. I find it a close alternative to strapi.

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Ronak Jethwa

THIS!!!!!!!!!

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softprops profile image
Doug Tangren

1) wasm+wasi.

A good proxy for impact is to take time and perspective into consideration. One could argue that Docker was revolutionary, and it was, but for perspective the creator of Docker is quoted for saying he would have never needed to invent docker has wasm+wasi existed at the time

Likewise kubernetes is also great but maybe anchored to the period when wasm+wasi had not existed. Kubernetes was definitely revolutionary for the time of Docker.

Wasm+wasi technologies are still early in thier lifetime but will likely change many technology spaces in the near future in way that were not possible prior.

2) Rustlang.

It's has a slower adoption curve than some other programming languages but has consistently proven to be effective at solving and preventing problems not possible in other languages that exist today.

This is of particular importance where security is of interest and efficiency of energy consumption where the future of earths environment and natural non renewable resources are of interest! Rustlang tends to run more efficiently and cheapy than other language runtimes which economical benefits that would be difficult to achieve otherwise - aws.amazon.com/blogs/compute/aws-f...

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Sharad Raj (He/Him)

SpaceX Falcon 9 booster reentry software 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀

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Justin Dorfman

jsPsych is a library that allows scientists to run behavioral experiments in a browser. What I found interesting is that the introductory paper has been cited more than 290 times in academic publications, yet only has ~520 stars on GitHub. 🤔

This project (and many like it) could very well help create the most potentially-revolutionary software without anyone even knowing it.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is most software has dependencies written by others. Next time you run npm install, and you see something like "added 84 packages from 72 contributors" those contributors are real people who are all working on software that will help create the next big thing. 🎉

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Rolf Streefkerk

MaidSafe with their SAFE Network
safenetwork.tech/

Think a distributed operating system, think zero boundaries, think privacy. Think censorship resistent. That's what Maidsafe can achieve with their SAFE network.

It's basically the next generation of the internet going way beyond where cloud services are now. Basically providing services that run on a multitude of machines regardless if they're operating in a data center or privately owned.

It will also feature a payment system through SafeCoin, safenetwork.tech/safecoin/

Projects like these are creating the future

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tanami profile image
Tanami

maybe if it ran over dn42...

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rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

They have created everything from scratch, this project is on going now for over 10 years.

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tanami profile image
Tanami

so they made a BGP replacement? it looked to me like it all runs over the normal internet...

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rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

yes it does run over the regular internet, but it has created it's own autonomous distributed network

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tanami profile image
Tanami

I guess you don't see the problems with this? running over IP space not owned by the users?

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rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

many of these type of systems work on the basis of user provided nodes and there are many systems in place to deal with data duplication, network errors, (un)availability of nodes etc.
Hence, they're working on this for over 10 years. It's complex obviously

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Paweł Kowalski

Face recognition + machine learning software.

It will revolutionize how governments can control us (a glimpse into the future is available in china already).

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antdimot profile image
Antonio Di Motta

Or how can recognize dangerous context and try to save human life.... All technologies can be used to help or not.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

What would be some examples of that use of facial recognition?

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antdimot profile image
Antonio Di Motta

Industrial plant. If there are problems in some area and need to check who is present or able to help.

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pavelloz profile image
Paweł Kowalski

Read what china is doing with social scoring of the whole population. Pretty Orwellian stuff.

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antdimot profile image
Antonio Di Motta

Yep very sad, but we should split technology and use of it. Facial recognition is not more dangerous of ML, blockchain or other.... The problems come from man's choice.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

What would face recognition bring here that classic pager duty tech can't?

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antdimot profile image
Antonio Di Motta

Into industrial plant, the face recognition could be useful for retrieve information about who was involved into dangerous problems or call someone with right skills and near to dangerous area to help quickly.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

retrieve information about who was involved into dangerous problems

Dangerous problems lead to serious investigations, in which humans will examine security/CCTV footage. I don't think they'll rely on automatic face recognition for this. And that technique is already used in China for far lesser offenses, like littering.

call someone with right skills and near to dangerous area to help quickly

How does face recognition help in this case, vs. an employee directory?

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Damien Cosset

The more I read about facial recognition software, the more scared I become of what harm it could do to our societies...

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Omar Sinan

I don’t know if I can call it revolutionary, but Hey has been amazing. I just love the idea of having a Screener and controlling who can send me emails, I wonder why I haven’t seen this before in order services.

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fluffynuts profile image
Davyd McColl

Nothing new here:

  • any reasonable email client can mark incoming mail as spam, which makes you never get it again; getting it the first time can be useful in figuring out how your email address got out there -- when you do sign up for something, take advantage of gmail's '+': set your address as your_name+service_name@gmail.com and see how your address is shared
    • this is in no way some endorsement for gmail / google -- you still need the tools mentioned below
  • Adblock, uBlock, many alternatives already keep tracking pixels and adverts away
  • no $99 fee for things that are already freely available
  • no petulant company owner who stomps his little foot every time things don't go his way, tweets about the evils of apple whilst simultaneously putting apple on a pedestal
    • this is just a bonus; not really a deciding factor; there's always some petulant whiner to contend with.
  • no Duplo UI -- why is it that I need to waste most of a 27" screen on 1/2 an email?
  • 100 gig storage and no archive button? GTFO.
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Filip Němeček

I think you are entirely missing the point. Reading your posts feels like Hey burned down your house.

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fluffynuts profile image
Davyd McColl

Perhaps I am missing the point, because I don't see $99 worth of value in there. But I'm also one of those people that thinks that stupidly expensive cellphones are, well, stupid, as are expensive alloy wheels for your mac 🤷‍♂️ Convince me of something the Hey does that's honestly worth the cost. I'm all ears, except for my toes, which are really just fingers in disguise.

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Basti Ortiz (Some Dood)

*obligatory Deno* 😂

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Nicolas Bailly

Yeah I was reading the first comment and thinking "what happened to deno ? a few weeks ago every single post on the frontpage was about deno and now it's not even considered revolutionary ?"

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zilti profile image
Daniel Ziltener

IPv6.

There, I said it. The fact that it is still not fully rolled out boggles my mind! But finally having IPv6 and doing away with all that NAT crap allows for a much more open, much more P2P-based web. No longer would anyone need relay servers or the knowledge how to punch holes in their NAT. Every device is a potential server. Centralised services, even federated ones, could lose much of their significance simply because participating in e.g. a fully distributed social network would be as simple as downloading and starting an app.

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Nicolas Marshall

** inserts "thank you" gif **

Also for that to happen we're gonna need this decentralized software. I was surprised to see no mention of anything decentralized, as it's potentially quite revolutionary.

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Subramanya Chakravarthy

Clickup.com I really like the pace to make a best version of jira

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Almenon

You can just say "not Jira" and I would be interested :P

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

There have been tons of attempts to bring together project management, group chat and issue trackers. There's been no clear winner.

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mrsaeeddev profile image
Saeed Ahmad

Well @ben , Me, and my team at TrustNet Pakistan are building an immunity certificate holding app that will be based on the blockchain-based back end.

We are confident that it will change the whole immunity certificate issuing process. We are thinking of introducing paperless certificates in a mobile app that will be holding the certificates of that user and they can get it verified on the airports and other places to show the authorities that they have been vaccinated for a certain disease.

Also, we are building it on the developer's favorite web and mobile frameworks i.e React & React Native. So, I am really excited about it. Also, we will be open-sourcing it, so, it makes me more energetic about it.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

NOTE: I initially wrote this post before I was aware of GPT-3. See the "rhetoric" bullet below.

I'm surprised to see so many narrow examples mentioned here: some CSS library, some JS framework, some project management app.

By "revolutionary", I'm thinking about software with the potential to profoundly impact life. This can be in established fields, or in emerging ones. I'm pretty sure there are efforts underway to build each of the examples below; we may just not know about them yet.

  • machine learning - autoML
  • law - deep-learning digital attorney able to find the most appropriate legal precedent in a matter of minutes, vastly outsmarting human lawyers
  • politics - liquid democracy, or other voting systems solving the one-person-one-vote problem
  • rhetoric - argument-making software able to persuade anyone on any controversial topic with a mix of flawless logic, appeal to emotion, and plain abuse of reasoning fallacies. This can have immense implications on politics, far beyond what fake news and social media manipulations have had, even at the current state of technology. UPDATE post GPT-3 and Neuralink: imagine a leader whose brain is connected to Neuralink and can come up with a brilliant, convincing, fact-checked, (counter)argument to anything, better than Gary Shapiro and the Limitless protagonist. Society is not ready to openly accept AI-based governance, even though we are already at the mercy of various algorithms deciding loan interest rates and whatnot. In 20-50 years, a charismatic leader with hidden wireless access to the successor to several generations of GPT-3 like algorithms, can plausibly take over the world.
  • molecular biology - figuring out protein folding
  • blockchain - encrypted storage of surveillance data (CCTV footage, Internet traffic etc.), whose decryption can only be done with a combination of keys from the owner of the data source and the authorities, and such decryption is permanently marked and visible in the blockchain. This would legitimize surveillance because the use of the data would be revealed.
  • prediction markets - Augur looks promising
  • SAFE Network - decentralized, autonomous and encrypted web
  • transportation - cheap self-driving modules
  • weather - high-accuracy weather prediction compensating for chaotic system effects
  • BCIs - intepreting subvocalizations for silent computing, AI software to decode brain waves in general
  • synthetic biology - iGEM, GenoCAD, and other tools
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oxharris profile image
Oxford

So I've been working on Scoped JS as part of the CHTML suite - a set of new DOM features that finally lets us author the UI in plain HTML. Scoped JS is the part that lets us add behaviour to markup. It enables us bind application data to any part of the UI, and most-importantly, keeps that part of the UI in sync with application data/state. While this is the same problem every UI framwork tries to solve, there is this major difference in the HOW.

  • Unlike other approaches that are based on some own-made syntax (mustache-like string interpolation, attribute-based directives, JSX, etc) that must be compiled, this approach is raw HTML and JS.

    <body>
      <div id="alert">
        <script type="text/scoped-js">
          this.innerHTML = message;
          this.addEventListener('click', () => this.remove());
        </script>
      </div>
    </body>
    

    ...

    let msg = {message: 'Success!'};
    document.querySelector('#alert').bind(msg);
    // #alert will also remain in sync with the msg scope object.
    

    (You could even author all of this on the fly on the browser and see it work. CHTML is the Web-Native UI component technology that works at platform level, contrasting the high abstractions, the compile step, and the rest of the over engineering of current frameworks.)

  • While we traditionally call DOM elements from JavaScript code, Scoped JS lets us place that code right on the elements that need it. We can all stop worrying about CSS selectors by simply scoping a JS snippet.

  • The zero bloat proposition! With Scoped JS there is no need to build a JavaScript class just to implement a simple alert component. Additionally, since every HTML now comes with it's own Scoped script, each page gets to work with just what it needs to work. And this is some inherent code splitting.

The Scoped JS technology itself is regular JavaScript that runs scoped to its containing element, featuring automatic observability on the given variables in scope.

So this I consider one good innovation that could have a major impact. Your thoughts, though.

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theycallmemac profile image
James McDermott

Watch everyone quickly post a link to a project on their Github :D

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Phil Hickman

I am currently studying the Microsoft Blazor tech stack and I am in love with it. Allows me to fully utilize my C# skills. I am looking forward to the new Blazor Mobile bindings that are currently being worked on. It's an exciting world now!

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pierresaid profile image
pierresaid

When I tried Blazor I couldn't find a good solution to have hot reload does it exist now ?

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Paweł Świątkowski

While I agree it's good, I wouldn't say it's revolutionary, as it copies already existing LiveView.

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leastbad profile image
leastbad

The reason that it's revolutionary is that it has the capacity to reach 10-15x more working developers than the relatively niche Elixir community.

While it's a matter of opinion, I also believe that StimulusReflex and CableReady have transcended the API and utility of LiveView, which was an excellent starting point.

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Magnus Skog

...Linux on the Desktop? :)

But seriously, there is probably some kind of revolutionary but unsexy improvement to medical equipment or something along those lines that will never reach the top of social media. I don't know anything about such fields so I'm just gonna do some tunnel visioning and think about what would be revolutionary to me.

Somewhere there is a team working on the "real" solution to the "put my code on the internet and run it" problem. Not Kubernetes and not Heroku. Something that "just works" and will solve the programming devops problem for simple projects for good. It will be self-hosted and all you have to do to scale it is pull the slider or something. And no, that is not what Kubernetes is. I said simple! That'd be pretty good.

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Allen Francis

I would say it is reasonml and revery ui and the application that will lead the revolution will be onivim 2. Native performance and cross-platform, what's better than this ? Well it's like typescript syntax

reasonml.github.io/

outrunlabs.com/revery/

github.com/onivim/oni2

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Brandin Chiu

I think projects like Cloud9, Coder, and Google Stadia point the way to drastically changing how people interact with computing.

Truly collaborative work, helped brought to the mainstream by successes like Google docs are going to be big I think in changing how software is delivered and used.

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Alan Barr

This software is old hat but i think streamer and especially IRL streamers using 5G and mobile broadcasting are going to change everything about entertainment. Musicians are forced to cultivate an online presence to perform and i've been enjoying a lot of live music from the comfort of my home.

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guitarino profile image
Kirill Shestakov

Something like Democracy Earth. If it becomes widely available and easy to use, this has a truly revolutionary potential.

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt

tailwindCSS + purgeCSS still stands a good idea. While the idea inherited from atomic CSS, writing your own CSS's is not easy.

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dandv profile image
Dan Dascalescu

How's yet another CSS library "revolutionary"? We're talking about CRISPR tools, Democracy.earth, safenetwork.tech etc.

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Nick Mudge

Now there is also RunCSS, which is a runtime version of TailwindCSS: dev.to/mudgen/runcss-a-runtime-ver...

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Glenn Stovall

The ability to deep fake audio and video

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Jesse M. Holmes

Anything in the CRISPR space.

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fluffynuts profile image
Davyd McColl

NOT Hey.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee

JavaScript. Seriously. Been saying it (and getting laughed at for it) ever since Node first hit the scene.

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Jan Küster

Palantir. I will not comment, whether this is good or bad but it's adoption rate is increasing steadily.