Developers spend a significant amount of time keeping up with technologies. It's incredibly tough (and fun) in the open-source world as all new technologies are available for you to experiment and play with. You can also contribute and shape these new technologies. I've recently taken an interest in a configuration management tool called Chef and have been working on serveral cookbooks. I've had my eye on a few budding technologies.
In the new year I hope to incorporate several of these technologies into our workflow.
CSS extensions (Sass and Less)
CSS extensions allow allow you to write more elegant styles. The elegance will certainly result in easier theme maintenance and fewer styling bugs. The Sass
home page has a really good overview of the key features provided - mixins, variables, selector inheritance and nesting.
The benefits of these CSS extensions are huge. It's not a matter of if we should adopt this technology, it's a matter of which one.
Configuration Management (Chef, Puppet)
I'm a fan of Chef and contribute to the project. We haven't used at at l10 yet. Our work isn't deployed on large enough infrastructures to make configuration management an absolute requirement however I think over the coming months and years there will be several factors that encourage widespread adoption of config management tools.
Cloud hosting allows you to quickly create complex computing infrastructures and that's great and all, but that has to be managed. Adoption of cloud computing among many smaller organizations will really drive home the need for a usable open source tools to handle config management for many different types of infrastructures. Chef and Puppet are the open source tools that have sprung up to fill this need.
It's even something that I think people should use on single server systems. The ability to track the entire stack is something I've sorely wanted for a long time.
Continuous Integration (Hudson)
This is next on my list of software to evaluate. We really don't use any advanced deployment tools. We'll do a try run on a test server by pulling code from the git repository, make documented site config changes and test. If that runs, we repeat. Code auditing happens only at the end of a project. QA is completely manual. Hudson promises the ability to reject code based on coding standards, unit tests or other criteria. I'm really excited about learning this technology.