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perspectives on open-source and web services

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Web 2.0

This article is a month old but good. I especially liked the chart with stuff like
Ofoto --> Flickr
Akamai --> BitTorrent
mp3.com --> Napster
Britannica Online --> Wikipedia
but then there was
screen scraping --> web services

and I was like wtf mate? WS does quite a bit ... "more" than screen scraping. It wasn't long before Tim shut me up.

Once the idea of web services became au courant, large companies jumped into the fray with a complex web services stack designed to create highly reliable programming environments for distributed applications.

But much as the web succeeded precisely because it overthrew much of hypertext theory, substituting a simple pragmatism for ideal design, RSS has become perhaps the single most widely deployed web service because of its simplicity, while the complex corporate web services stacks have yet to achieve wide deployment.

...which, for those of you just joining us, is dead on. There will, of course, always be a place in the world for thick, fat stalks of really-complicated SOA apps that can run a whole department or a whole company. But I don't see these impacting the general public much.

What has much more creative potential are specific little very-hackable webservices that do one thing and do it well. Throw a few hundred thousand of them out into the Net and see what a bit of remixing does for them.

This, of course, assumes that creating/modifying webservices without licensing the various applicable (ha) patents remains possible.

Anyway, read the rest of that article. Very slick.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Important - "Live" is not alive yet

Alright, let's do a little Microsoft commentary. Starting again, with Phil's commentary.

But, let's look at some other MS analysis and combine the two a little...

Most relevant in the MS analysis to our discussion are the last 2 paragraphs in that 2nd page, so read those at least.

So in 2000, Microsoft said that .NET products and services "Includes Windows.NET, with a core integrated set of building block services; MSN™ .NET; personal subscription services; Office.NET; Visual Studio® .NET; and bCentral™ for .NET."

So a couple of quick Google searches show Windows.NET doesn't exist, MSN.NET doesn't exist (though MSN does include some of those "personal subscription services"), Office.NET doesn't exist, Visual Studio.NET exists (and is actually quite good I hear), and bCentral was shelved.

Microsoft's initial description of .NET was the perfect example of what Wainright described - "Announcing an offering that doesn't exist yet buys valuable time while the vendor brings it into being." Today's .NET is only related to what Microsoft said it would be.

Let's apply the same logic to these new Live offerings. Aside from a Google Personal Homepage rip-off (Phil calls it a Web 2.0-style portal template), we're supposed to be seeing things like Internet-to-phone, virus-scanning, and web hosting. But we don't see them. We only hear about the plans for them.

This is because Microsoft is probably throwing out some marketing in an effort to cool down the hype around Google. But if they were to actually follow thru on the vision of the web as a base platform, they have to jettison their precious marriage to the operating system as the base platform. And since the www.live.com site does not support Firefox (coming soon, yeah right), Microsoft hasn't even shown that small amount of interest in using a standardized web platform.

That's all for now. Between the time I started writing this post and the time I actually posted it, most of the buzz around the Live offerings predictably died down. It's obvious that Microsoft is playing catch-up and is using the old vaporware tactic. It's not going to work this time.