A Whole New Internet

Janice Fraser writes:

Something is happening right now, and the developer community has an electric gleam in its eye. Curious, inventive people are making cool stuff again. Theres been a notable shift, and its incredibly exciting.

I was sitting in a conference room with a pair of brilliant developers last week, watching them show-and-tell the latest geeky gadgets. Greg Veen loaded an Ajax-based file upload routine that was recently added to Ruby on Rails. Michael Buffington, a developer whos been around the block too often to be easily impressed, said earnestly, I think Im gonna cry. A few days later he wrote this on his weblog:

The Web as we know it is changing probably more than it has since the first graphic showed up The idea of the webpage itself is nearing its useful end. With the way Ajax allows you to build nearly stateless applications that happen to be web accessible, everything changes.

What will happen when amateurization and folksonomies make their way into enterprise web applications? What happens when IT managers can tag Oracles product documentation with their own words? Where will our bookmarks go when the idea of the webpage becomes obsolete?

Invention inspires invention. Ideas are collapsing into each other, recombining, and having powerful effects. The Internet has always been a medium for democratization, and by reconnecting with our idealism were once again uncovering its poetry, nobility, and transformative power.

Jason Kottke adds: “Now that the money is back, the focus will necessarily shift even though, as Janice notes, we’ll be a little wiser about it this time around. There will be less innovation and activity from individuals because they’ll be snapped up by companies to work on their projects for their customers. The information flowing out of companies, even those that are pretty open, will be limited because of competitive and legal concerns. A person who — when she was unemployed 3 years ago — could spend a couple weeks in releasing a neat web app for anyone to use because she wanted to or could say what she wanted on her blog will now be putting all her coding energies into an application that serves a few customers & needs to be cash-flow positive and won’t have the time to post anything to her blog (and can’t say much about what she’s working on anyway unless all her readers want to sign NDAs).”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.