‘Web 2.0’ Articles:

Is HTML5 worth all of the hype?

February 16th, 2011 by jeremychone | Comments Off

Undeniably, HTML5 has created quite a buzz for itself over the last 12 months or so, leading some of us to question whether or not HTML5 is worth all of this attention. Or as, someone on Quora asked, Why is HTML5 worth all of the hype?

If there were only one reason as to why HTML5 is definitely worth all of the interest it has attracted, it would be the following:

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To Flash or to Open Web

June 25th, 2009 by jeremychone | 10 Comments »

Nowadays, building [rich] Web applications can be quite challenging, as the proliferation of Web technologies has become overwhelming and confusing. The real challenge is that many interesting new Web technologies are being promoted by various groups, and it can be quite difficult for a developer or architect to filter the practical and future-proof ones from the cool and volatile ones.

As a rule of thumb, open technologies tend to be more pervasive and longer lasting (especially for the Internet) than proprietary technologies, which tend to bring more advanced capabilities early on. Consequently, Web application developers need to be pragmatically-open, by choosing open technologies whenever possible, but also by not hesitating to use proprietary ones when required. It is not about being religious about openness or anything else, but rather about being diligent so that one is able to choose the right technology to maximize the chances of success of the target application. In other words, it should not be a personal and emotional decision, but rather a business and rational one.

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Search Oriented Tagging

September 30th, 2008 by jeremychone | 5 Comments »

Tagging has been a relatively popular, human-driven method for organically categorizing information on the Web. Users are now accustomed to tagging the content that they are publishing or bookmarking.

However, by design, tagging requires users to have some sort of writing privilege, which greatly limits its reach potential. Practically speaking, it means that if a user wants to tag an item on a system (e.g, Youtube, Flickr, or delicious) he or she must have an account on that system and be logged in at the time of the operation.

While this is probably not an issue for major Internet services, it can be a chicken-and-egg issue for new, upcoming services that do not yet have a large enough community to build a meaningful tag cloud. How can a new service maximize its community tag cloud if it doesn’t yet have a community?

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Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome Harmony

September 23rd, 2008 by jeremychone | 7 Comments »

Google Chrome is only about three weeks old and is already an Internet phenomenon. To sum it up, Google Chrome is all about making web browsing safer, faster, and easier. While some might see a fierce competition between Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, I see harmony.

Here is some background to better understand this point of view. There has been a somewhat valid belief stating that the un-typed and interpreted nature of the JavaScript language was a major limitation for building demanding client applications. Consequently, to overcome this challenge, the browser technology providers had the following two options:

  1. Re-invent the language by “upgrading” the JavaScript language to a more a traditional typed and object-oriented language, such as Java or C#, allowing the runtime to just focus on running the code.
  2. Re-invent the runtime by creating novels ways for the JavaScript virtual machine to parse and interpret the JavaScript code, making the language as robust and reliable as more traditional languages.

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Flying Pixels

August 13th, 2008 by jeremychone | 9 Comments »

With the emergence of new technologies such as AJAX, Flash, and Silverlight, and popular applications such as Google Map and iPhone, the temptation for developers to fully and deeply animate their upcoming applications has become almost irresistible.

While slick animations and transitions are certainly useful for emotionally driven applications, such as car configurators, and some applications or components such as Google Map and charting, they should not be used as a substitute for a good interactive design. Application developers need to realize that these animations and transitions come at an extra design and development cost (no matter what tool they are using). 

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Web Developer Spectrum

March 15th, 2008 by jeremychone | 2 Comments »

Web Developer Spectrum SmallIn the last few years, the technology industry has been particularly focused on Web developers, and the last couple of weeks have been a relatively good example of such attention. First, Adobe released its Adobe AIR and their Flex 3 products; Microsoft did a massive SilverLight push at its now famous MIX event (see Read/Write post); Google announced Google Gears for mobile devices and, finally, Steve Jobs splashed the market with his “Flash not good enough for iPhone” comment (which, in my opinion, is more of a strategic move than a technical reality). Meanwhile, “non-corporate-backed” Web frameworks, such as Spring, Ruby/Rail, and many AJAX frameworks, also continue to attract more and more Web developers. Consequently, Web developers have now, more than ever, a wide variety of technologies at their disposal.

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The Return Of The Client

December 10th, 2007 by jeremychone | 1 Comment »

From an internet technology point of view, 2006 and 2007 could be characterized by the rejuvenation of client technologies for web-based applications.

The main theme of this trend is to enable web applications to borrow as many characteristics from desktop application as possible without losing their inherent web attributes such as seamless deployment and cross platform/devices support.

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P2P for Web 2.0: Brainstorming

January 17th, 2006 by jeremychone | 4 Comments »
P2P For Web: Web 2.0 Limitation Thumbnail As mentioned in the "Web 0.x to Web 2.0" post, outside of IM (instant messaging), voice chat and voice-video chat, and some illegal P2P (peer to peer) file sharing software, most Internet applications are still based on a traditional "Client/Server" model that is analogous to the "Browser/WebServer" model. While today’s Web applications have dramatically improved their user experience and community aspect, this "Client/Server" paradigm brings some unfortunate limitations to technology providers and users.

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To Flock or not to Flock

January 3rd, 2006 by jeremychone | 6 Comments »

A few days ago a UK magazine posted a good article about Flock. As mentioned in the article, Flock is still in developer preview and therefore should be judged less by its bits quality and more by the idea it tries to convey. Flock’s vision of a more collaborative and event-driven Internet is probably undisputable. However, some of Flock’s premises have been subject to a flood of criticisms (e.g., Paul Kedrosky’s post, flocksucks.wordpress.com).

Most of these criticisms seem to be based on the fact that Flock tries to provide an alternative "Web browser" application rather than providing extensions to existing browsers (e.g., a Firefox extension). Lately, the launch of a great Firefox extension Performancing (see Steve Rubel and O.M. Malik quick profile), which offers one of the core Flock’s functionalities by allowing users to blog "in the context" of their browsing experience, has revived the discussion. In a response to these last complaints, Chris from Flock, supported by Bart (Flock’s CEO), issued a good post giving a little more context behind Flock’s vision and direction.

As mentioned by Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Flock’s Buzz might have come a little bit too early for the Bits, which is always a very dangerous position to be in. Also, Flock’s first audience, the Mozilla tech savvy crowd, was probably not especially receptive to the idea of another browser. I personally am a big fan of Mozilla Firefox, and while I have tested Flock developer preview release, I went back to Firefox since I have all my extensions set up.

However, I deeply believe in Flock’s idea. As Chris mentioned, Flock might or might not be the answer, but the point is that users need much more than a traditional Web browser to make the "Everybody-to-Everybody" Internet vision a reality. This new "Internet Companion" could come from the evolution of an existing Web browser, from a set of extensions, or from another application altogether: the way it gets here is less important than the things it will allow people to do. Obviously, this assumes the goal is to allow the "rest of us" to participate on the Internet.

So, the question is not "to Flock or not to Flock", but rather to believe that the way we will interact with the Internet in couple years will be substantially different from what we do today.

Also, I have had the privilege of meeting the Flock team on many occasions, and it is always refreshing to see a passionate and dedicated team so focused on accomplishing its vision. I would not be surprised if future versions of Flock will surprise us. And I definitely need this new "Internet Companion" for my grandmother and sisters.

Web 0.x to Web 2.0 Simplified

November 29th, 2005 by jeremychone | 7 Comments »
Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 Small From its creation through its development to its reinvigoration phases, the Internet has never ceased to be a rapid and fascinating center of innovation. Today’s “Web 2.0“, which I refer to as the “reinvigoration” phase, is probably as inspiring and promising as the launch of the Internet itself.

This new excitement is probably generated by the presumption of achieving the ultimate Internet goal of enabling true “Everybody to Everybody” participation. However, while this “new wave” brings tremendous user and social values, it still does not seem to address some of the critical Internet roadblocks to pervasive Internet collaboration.

To better understand these limitations, we need to take a quick look at the evolution of the Internet. I see three main phases in the Internet evolution. (Note: The “Web x.x” numbering scheme is completely artificial, and is just used to support a “relative numbering” scheme leading to today’s “Web 2.0″ term).

  • The Creation (“Web 0.x”): In the late mid `90s, the Mosaic project, created by Marc Andreessen, had the ambitious goal of making network collaboration accessible to the broadest audience possible. With the creation of Netscape Corporation, the idea attained tremendous visibility and support from the market, leading to the proliferation of a new client application allowing unfettered access to network information: The Internet browser.
  • The Development (“Web 1.x”): The exponential growth in popularity of this new medium led established and new software companies to realize the great potential of this new market. On May 26, 1995, Microsoft, in a famous Bill Gates memo (“The Internet Tidal Wave“), reoriented itself towards this new model. Although the over-excitement created an inflated market that eventually burst, many content and service companies such as Yahoo!, Amazon, and eBay have remained strong and growing. The popularity of this new paradigm, coupled with the commoditization of the Browser on many devices, have put Internet in almost everybody‘s hands. This phase could be seen as the popularization of Internet access.
  • The Reinvigoration (“Web 2.0″): Lately, infrastructure commoditization and the flamboyant success of new Internet companies, such as Google, have reinvigorated the drive for Internet innovation. I see two new fundamentals from the previous eras:
    • First, the industry is now focusing on popularizing content publishing. New services like Blog (e.g. Six Apart), Wiki (e.g. Wikipedia), Photo Album (e.g. Flickr), Social Network (e.g. Linked In), and many others are based on the principle of enabling every users to become content producers as well as content consumers.
      This “2 Way” web is already having important social ramifications, where knowledge and information are becoming more and more open and accessible.
    • Second, most of the Internet organizations are placing more emphasis on usage (direct or indirect via APIs) than subscribers (eyeballs). This is a great step towards building a stronger Internet in which closed Internet services, such as today’s Instant Messaging networks, will hopefully be pushed out of this ecosystem. It is always a great milestone when an industry understands that backing a larger cake might be more beneficial than trying to take a bigger piece of a smaller cake (see the Inherent Truths and Value of Community).

The following simple graph represents this evolution, where the “Web 1.x” phase is characterized by “content consumer” growth and the “Web 2.0″ phase by “content producer” growth.

Internet Web 0.x to Web 2.0
Web 0.x to Web 2.0 Simplified

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