Sunday, 28 October 2007

Webscape changes

There was a lot of buzz on what the Web 2.0 is or should be. The idea was to bring more semantics to support intuitive and more relevant queries when performing searches, building story lines etc. But this nirvana still seems long way off...

Never the less the landscape or web-scape is indeed changing. Service providers like Amazon keep reinventing the web by adding new offerings on top of their strong platform of web services. Now they promote HaaS (hardware as a service) with their new elastic computing cloud (EC2). EC2 plus simple storage service (S3) gives us a distributed virtualization platform, where users can define their nodes and pay for their utilization on pay as you go basis.

On software side Yahoo provides their pipes allowing us to mash feeds up and this way provide with new shapes of outputs. This leads to new ways of dealing with the web content trying to use web pages themselves as web services. There are many unanswered questions left out there, about IP, content ownership etc. But this web scratching approach seems to be the enabler technology to help with structuring the mainly unstructured web content. And in this way maybe to narrow the gap between computer and human generated content.

The end-user client tools undergo changes as well. As result of web migration of our calendars, tags, address books, maps, photo albums etc., new data access metaphors are required. Desktop applications look more web like and web apps want to share your desktop (more often now being off-line enabled). Libraries like: GWT, Sriptaculous, YUI, FLEX have plenty to offer to help matching up the desktop experience by providing gadgets and add-ons.

Recent contributors to the arena are Mozilla's Prism and Microsoft's Popfly sitting on top of Silverlight, which I have decided to test and written a Popfly components:

  1. block allowing to geo-position your URL source (but this needs more work due to the URL lookup service not returning good results)
  2. mashup to show MSN book list as a Popfly carousel
Do not know about you, but I tend to use more and more computers over time. This makes me migrate my data to the web, so I can easily get hold of it when needed. Thankfully the aforementioned technologies let me do it with more and more ease and less frustration. Many smart people were saying that we can see desktop applications making the full circle from being run from smart-server on dumb clients, to full clients and now coming back to the server. The thing is the server is not going to be only smart but distributed and componentized. Don't you think?

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