Let's try to make a difficult exercise: the predictions. Here are some thoughts about what could happen next year. Of course these opinions are mine (so not of my employer or the MapFish community) and I don't pretend to cover all the geo world.
PS: it's not really related to MapFish, but some trends will of course have an impact on MapFish.
First 2011 geoprediction: the geospatial mobile year
We all want to use our favourite geo application on our smartphone, but this is often not possible. The main reason for that is the the lack of libraries supporting the very (too ?) wide varieties of mobile devices.
Several works on OpenLayers have already been done and I hope to see in 2011 a joint effort to make OpenLayers the reference in the geo mobile world. Another hope is to see a consensus regarding the user interaction models for geo applications on mobile devices.
Second 2011 geoprediction: always more cloud gis applications
We read all and its contrary about cloud computing. One key think to understand about cloud computing is that you can't simply "copy/paste" an application in a cloud infrastructure. In order to use the advantage of cloud computing, the applications need to be rearchictectured. I believe that the understanding of cloud computing will grow in 2011 and the advantages like low cost, scalability or reliability will make cloud computing the best solution for a large number of geo application.
Third 2011 geoprediction: the start of the end of heavy clients
Technologies like Silverlight or Flash/Flex will start to decline.
The main reason is of course the emergence of HTML5 and all the nice associated features like Geolocation API, CSS3, Canvas etc, etc...
Fourth 2011 geoprediction: clear separation between web mapping and web gis
It's always difficult to categorize the applications, but I believe that a geo application for all citizen can't be the same like a geo application for specialists. That's where I see the difference between web mapping and web gis. The ergonomy is key for web mapping and the functionality is key for web gis, but this doesn't mean that ergonomy is not important for web gis. I have seen often applications trying to cover the needs of ALL users. We'll see probably in the future more specifics and dedicated geo applications.
Fifth 2011 geoprediction: geoservices for all and everything
The vision of programms like INSPIRE is to allow the interconnection of Geo Services. This vision will soon be reality and we'll see always more Spatial Data Infrastructure delivering Geo Services.
Sixth 2011 geoprediction: REST, RESTFull and (Geo)JSON
The simplicity of the REST principles, the lightness of the JSON format and the possibility to workaround the cross domain issues will make that the usage of XML or SOAP, at least in a web context, will decline. And I hope that the future geo web standards will use REST and GeoJSON.
Seventh 2011 geoprediction: WebGL will allow fantastic 3D applications
The usage of plugin is always difficult to manage. With the emergence of WebGL, it is now possible to develop 3D viewer using directly the browser capabilities. Let's hope that this chance will be used !
I wish you all the best for 2011 !