The Evolving Web part 2

Click here to read the first part of this article.

Web Applications

Many websites like Amazon, Google, Yahoo and the BBC have all opened up some of their content. These websites have huge, rich databases of news and information and they allow applications to connect to them, extract some of the data and display them in novel and useful ways. Amazon’s web services and Google’s APIs have been around for a while and people have developed several applications with them. They use a protocol called SOAP to spit out information in XML. Some of these applications (e.g. widgets to track UPS packages) live on your desktop and others are websites that you can access in any browser. CelebSoup is a website that uses Yahoo, Google’s and Amazon’s protocols to display information on over 400 celebrities. For example, their page on Angelina Jolie has news, information, images, videos and websites about Angelina Jolie, culled from several sources and presented to you. All you see is the information on this page, and it is easy to miss the technology used to connect these various sources of information automatically and in real time.

Web applications have traditionally been sluggish when user’s interact with them. Each time you want to do something, a request has to be sent to a server and you have to wait for a reply. However with AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML), interactions with servers have got much spiffier. Take a look at Google Suggest and watch how quickly the server responds to you. The same with Google Maps. Panning and zooming happens almost instantly and you don’t need to wait for the server to respond to your actions.

This enables people to be an Information DJ’s. Anyone can mix and match data from different websites and present them in entirely new forms. For example

Conclusion

The web is evolving into an operating system with its own Application Programming Interface (API) and user interface. We are just learning how to program it and use it effectively. Currently protocols and programming interfaces are becoming standards in true darwinistic fashion. Only strong, open protocols seem to survive. It is going to be hard for companies to monopolize the web as an operating system, but they have tried in the past and are going to try much harder in the future. Who knows what the web will look like in the future? What will happen when we connect more and more devices together? No one knows for sure yet, but it is certainly awesome to be in the middle of it all, watching the Internet evolve into something amazing.

Note:I have freely copied information and ideas from various websites and blogs. The article that I found the most insightful is by Dan Gillmor’s in the Financial Times on Web 2.0/3.0. There are several others that should also get mentioned but haven’t because I am too lazy.

One Response to “The Evolving Web part 2”

  1. Test Blog » Blog Archive » The Evolving web Says:

    [...] little bit about the content of these pages and is able to provide a very useful service. Click here to read the 2nd part of this article Links Wired article on The [...]

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