next year GIPPE - we can all make guesses, and some of us can make educated guesses, but in truth nobody really knows.
In essence the Internet is about communicating, and the dissemination of information, and the beauty of it is that no matter how sophisticated the technology becomes - and it will become a good deal more sophisticated in the future - the success of any web site depends to a very large degree on the creativity and communicative skills of the person or people who design and publish it.
Take a trip out there in cyberspace and you'll find a planet that's literally humming with information and communication. It's absolutely astounding to see just how much is available to you from a desktop in a suburban spare bedroom, and yet the Internet as we know it has existed for barely two decades. If we can come this far in twenty years who knows what will happen, even in the next five years? One thing's for sure, there's more information out there than can be accessed in a lifetime, and it's growing fast. In August 1995 there were just 19,000 web sites on the net. Less than ten years later the growth has been phenomenal - there are now over 50 million sites online, and there are no indications that we're anywhere near the limit.
The Internet has made publishers of us all, and one of the big factors driving software development is the recognition, by the software companies, that applications should become more user-friendly. Gone are the days when site design was in the hands of an elite band of web designers who tried hard to cover their work with layer after layer of mystique. Nowadays anyone with a basic working knowledge of computing can knock out a pretty respectable site using one of the excellent design applications - no need to bother learning to hand-code in html. Hand-coding is extremely useful of course, but it's certainly not necessary any more.
Whatever the future holds there's one thing that's certain - it will be exciting and challenging, but nothing will ever displace the need for creativity and communication skills in site design. If you have no idea of how to put your message across in a way that is both visually appealing and informative all the software and hardware gizmos in the world aren't going to be of any help whatsoever.