Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Future of the Web 03/26/2009

  • CMSWire has a brief explanation of RDFa and why it's important. RDFa is also finding it's way into the Drupal CMS, which could be a game changer. Timothy Berners-Lee vision of a "Semantic Web" where the meaning of content is understood by both humans and machines depends on the emergence of capable information systems that make it transparently easy to add semantic markup. I'm not surprised that Drupal is jumping with both feet.

    "... In the march toward creating the semantic web, web content management systems such as Drupal (news, site) and many proprietary vendors struggle with the goal of emitting structured information that other sites and tools can usefully consume. There's a balance to be struck between human and machine utility, not to mention simplicity of instrumentation.

    With RDFa (see W3C proposal),  software and web developers have the specification they need to know how to structure data in order to lend meaning both to machines and to humans, all in a single file. And from what we've seen recently, the Drupal community is making the best of it.

    Tags: rdfa, drupal, semantic-web, metadata

  • Tags: Google, semantic search


      Google has given its Web search engine an injection of semantic technology, as the search leader pushes into what many consider the future of search on the Internet.

      The new technology will allow Google's search engine to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays along with its results, the company announced in an official blog on Tuesday.

    • Google has given its Web search engine an injection of semantic technology, as the search leader pushes into what many consider the future of search on the Internet.
    • The new technology will allow Google's search engine to identify associations and concepts related to a query, improving the list of related search terms Google displays along with its results, the company announced in an official blog on Tuesday.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Future of the Web 03/25/2009

  • Acknowledgment from a Microsoft software architect that Microsoft's Azure cloud service is running atop "hundreds/thousands" of Windows Server 2008 and Hyper V instances, in other words, that Windows does not scale into the cloud. But no mention that Windows Server runs atop Solaris in the Microsoft data centers, although that was the point of the 2004 Technology Sharing Agreement with Sun.

    Tags: Microsoft, Sun, Windows Server, cloud computing, Microsoft cloud

    • Windows Azure, previously known as “Red Dog”, is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management  environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage Internet or cloud applications.
    • Keep in mind that Windows Azure is really a 'cloud layer' over many Windows Servers (hundreds/thousands) situated in Microsoft's data centers, and those servers are really internally running Windows Server 2008 and HyperV. So, Windows Azure is not a new real/classic operating system. It is "Windows in the cloud".

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Future of the Web 03/20/2009

  • Apple has posted an interesting page describing Safari technologies. Innovations and support for existing standards as well as the ACID3 test are covered.

    Many people think that the Apple WebKit-Safari-iPhone innovations are pushing Open Web Standards beyond beyond the limits of "Open", and deep into the verboten realm of vendor specific extensions. Others, myself included, believe that the WebKit community has to do this if Open Web technologies are to be anyway competitive with Microsoft's RiA (XAML-Silverlight-WPF).

    Adobe RiA (AiR-Flex-Flash) is also an alternative to WebKit and Microsoft RiA; kind of half Open Web, half proprietary though. Adobe Flash is of course proprietary. While Adobe AiR implements the WebKit layout engine and visual document model. I suspect that as Adobe RiA loses ground to Microsoft Silverlight, they will open up Flash. But that's not something the Open Web can afford to wait for.

    In many ways, WebKit is at the cutting edge of Ajax Open Web technologies. The problems of Ajax not scaling well are being solved as shared JavaScript libraries continue to amaze, and the JavaScript engines roar with horsepower. Innovations in WebKit, even the vendor-device specific ones, are being picked up by the JS Libraries, Firefox, and the other Open Web browsers.

    At the end of the day though, it is the balance between the ACiD3 test on one side and the incredible market surge of WebKit smartphones, countertops, and netbook devices at the edge of the Web that seem to hold things together.

    The surge at the edge is washing back over the greater Web, as cross-browser frustrated Web designers and developers roll out the iPhone welcome. Let's hope the ACiD3 test holds. So far it's proving to be a far more important consideration for maintaining Open Web interop, without sacrificing innovation, than anything going on at the stalled W3C. "..... Safari continues to lead the way, implementing the latest innovative web standards and enabling next-generation Internet experiences. With support for HTML 5 media tags, CSS animation, and CSS effects, web designers can create rich, interactive web applications using natively supported web standards. A standards-compliant browser, Safari renders current and future web applications as they were meant to be seen...."

    Tags: webkit, safari, acid3, open-web, interoperability

  • Fyrdility asks the question; when it comes to the future of the Open Web, is Apple worse than Microsoft? He laments the fact that Apple pushes forward with innovations that have yet to be discussed by the great Web community. Yes, they faithfully submit these extensions and innovations back to the W3C as open standards proposals, but there is no waiting around for discussion or judgement. Apple is on a mission.

    IMHO, what Apple and the WebKit community do is not that much different from the way GPL based open source communities work, except that Apple works without the GPL guarantee. The WebKit innovations and extensions are similar to GPL forks in the shared source code; done in the open, contributed back to the community, with the community responsible for interoperability going forward.

    There are good forks and there are not so good forks. But it's not always a technology-engineering discussion that drives interop. sometimes it's marketshare and user uptake that carry the day. And indeed, this is very much the case with Apple and the WebKit community. The edge of the Web belongs to WebKit and the iPhone. The "forks" to the Open Web source code are going to weigh heavy on concerns for interop with the greater Web.

    One thing Fyrdility fails to recognize is the importance of the ACiD3 test to future interop. Discussion is important, but nothing beats the leveling effect of broadly measuring innovation for interop - and doing so without crippling innovation.

    "......Apple is heavily involved in the W3C and WHATWG, where they help define specifications. They are also well-known for implementing many unofficial CSS extensions, which are subsequently submitted for standardization. However, Apple is also known for preventing its representatives from participating in panels such as the annual Browser Wars panels at SXSW, which expresses a much less cooperative position...."

    Tags: webkit, safari, apple, microsoft, interoperability

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Future of the Web 03/19/2009

  • CIO Magazine has an extensive interview with Craig Mundie, the man responsible for nailing down the next generation of monopolist profits: "You talk about technology waves. What will be the next big wave? What happens in waves is the shift from one generation of computing platform to the next. That platform gets established by a small number of killer apps. We've been through a number of these major platform shifts, from the mainframe to the minicomputer to the personal computer to adding the Internet as an adjunct platform. We're now trending to the next big platform, which I call "the client plus the cloud."

    That's one thing, not two things. Today, we've got a broadening out of what people call the client. My 16 years here was in large measure about that. And then we introduced the network. The Internet was a place where you had Web content and Web publishing, but other than being delivered on some of those clients, the two things were somewhat divorced.

    The next thing that will emerge is an architecture that allows the application developer to think of the cloud plus the client architecturally as a single thing. In a sense, it is like client/sever computing in the enterprise. It was the homogeneity that existed between some of the facilities at the server and the client end that allowed people to build those applications. We've never had that kind of architectural homogeneity in this cloud-plus-client or Internet-plus-smart-devices world, and I'm predicting that will be the next big thing.

    Tags: craig-mundie, microsoft, client-server, Cloud-Computing, MOSS

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Future of the Web 03/18/2009

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Future of the Web 03/15/2009

  • The NeuroCommons project seeks to make all scientific research materials - research articles, annotations, data, physical materials - as available and as useable as they can be. This is done by fostering practices that render information in a form that promotes uniform access by computational agents - sometimes called "interoperability". Semantic Web practices based on RDF will enable knowledge sources to combine meaningfully, semantically precise queries that span multiple information sources.

    Working with the Creative Commons group that sponsors "Neurocommons", Microsoft has developed and released an open source "ontology" add-on for Microsoft Word. The add-on makes use of MSOffice XML panel, Open XML formats, and proprietary "Smart Tags". Microsoft is also making the source code for both the Ontology Add-in for Office Word 2007 and the Creative Commons Add-in for Office Word 2007 tool available under the Open Source Initiative (OSI)-approved Microsoft Public License (Ms-PL) at and,respectively.

    No doubt it will take some digging to figure out what is going on here. Microsoft WPF technologies include Smart Tags and LINQ. The Creative Commons "Neurocommons" ontology work is based on W3C RDF and SPARQL. How these opposing technologies interoperate with legacy MSOffice 2003 and 2007 desktops is an interesting question. One that may hold the answer to the larger problem of re-purposing MSOffice for the Open Web?

    We know Microsoft is re-purposing MSOffice for the MS Web. Perhaps this work with Creative Commons will help to open up the Microsoft desktop productivity environment to the Open Web? One can always hope :)

    Dr Dobbs has the Microsoft - Creative Commons announcement; Microsoft Releases Open Tools for Scientific Research ...... Joins Creative Commons in releasing the Ontology Add-in

    Tags: msoffice, creative-commons, neurocommons, open-web, rdf, semantic-web

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Future of the Web 03/14/2009

  • ptsefton continues his rant that OpenOffice does not support the Open Web. He's been on this rant for so long, i'm wondering if he really thinks there's a chance the lords of ODF and the OpenOffice source code are listening? In this post he describes how useless it is to submit his findings and frustrations with OOo in a bug report. Pretty funny stuff even if you do end up joining the Michael Meeks trek along this trail of tears. Maybe there's another way?

    What would happen if pt moved from targeting the not so open OpenOffice, to target governments and enterprises trying to set future information system requirements?

    NY State is next up on this endless list. Most likely they will follow the lessons of exhaustive pilot studies conducted by Massachusetts, California, Belgium, Denmark and England, and end up mandating the use of both open standard "XML" formats, ODF and OOXML.

    The pilots concluded that there was a need for both XML formats; depending on the needs of different departments and workgroups. The pilot studies scream out a general rule of thumb; if your department has day-to-day business processes bound to MSOffice workgroups, then it makes sense to use MSOffice OOXML going forward. If there is no legacy MSOffice bound workgroup or workflow, it makes sense to move to OpenOffice ODF.

    One thing the pilots make clear is that it is prohibitively costly and disruptive to try to replace MSOffice bound workgroups.

    What NY State might consider is that the Web is going to be an important part of their informations systems future. What a surprise. Every pilot recognized and indeed, emphasized this fact. Yet, they fell short of the obvious conclusion; mandating that desktop applications provide native support for Open Web formats, protocols and interfaces!

    What's wrong with insisting that desktop applciations and office suites support the rapidly advancing HTML+ technologies as well as the application specific XML formats? HTML+ after all is the most interoperable format set the world has ever seen, with over 60 billion documents public, and an estimated 30 billion behind the firewall.

    And what government/enterprise isn't also concerned about the revolution happening at the edge of the Web? Where the iPhone is leading a tsunami wave of advanced HTML+ visual documents based on the WebKit document model, but rapidly spreading to all Open Web browsers.\n\nHTML+ is here.

    Even though the HTML+ set of technologies (HTML5, CSS4, SVG/Canvas, JavaScript, JS Libraries, DOM2) looks too complicated and sprawling to hold up to Open Web expectations of global interoperability, the interop is nevertheless surprisingly there. Thanks to the invaluable ACID3 test, developers and Open Web users have the measurement tools needed to guarantee an extraordinary level of interop. Even as the visual document model pushes the envelope in unforeseen, but innovative ways. Peter Sefton's ICE Project attempts to re-purpose both MSOffice and OpenOffice to produce HTML. It's a great project, but with one glaring fault; no support for CSS! ICE instead invents it's own extensions to HTML styles.

    This is a huge mistake i think, but there may be good reasons for this fork from the future of the Open Web. ICE is designed to work inside applications that have uniquely specific layout engines with very different rendering methods.

    The reason why both OpenOffice and MSOffice use XML is that the XML language was designed to be a language for writing application and data domain specific languages. HTML-CSS however is an application independent language designed for Open Web interoperability. Big difference, and quite the challenge for either OpenOffice or MSOffice to accommodate. IMHO, the internal layout engines would have to be "fixed" for either application to produce HTML+; especially native (read/write in-process) HTML+. Perhaps ICE is trying to navigate that layout differential by coming up application compatible "styles"?

    No matter. At the end of the day, the world is going to want Open Web HTML+. And, given the revolution that is happening at the edge of the Web with iPhone and the rapidly advancing WebKit document model, it's logical to assume that governments and enterprises will want their documents to be both collaborative and edge of the Web ready - without breaking existing workflows and business processes.

    Say hello to HTML5, CSS4, SVG/Canvas, JavaScript4, DOM2 and the many interop friendly JavaScript libraries. This is the future of the Open Web. And yes, everyone wants their documents and applications Open Web ready.


    Tags: webkit, odf, ooxml, html, ptsefton

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Future of the Web 03/13/2009

  • InfoWorld's Tom Yager makes the case for the WebKit visual document model over AJAX. The problem with AJAX as he sees it is that it's JavaScript heavy. And that breaks precious Web interoperability. He makes the point that if something can be done in CSS, it should. He also argues that WebKit is the best tool because the document model is that of advanced HTML5 and CSS3.

    "... These [WebKit] browsers also share a stellar accelerated JavaScript interpreter that makes the edit/run/debug cycle go faster. They are also the only browsers that deliver on CSS4 and HTML5 standards (with some elements that are proposed to the W3C standards body). Sites that are visually rich may start sprouting "best viewed with Safari" banners until other browsers catch up. The banner would also let users know that your site is optimized for iPhone....."

    Humm. Did you catch that? CSS4!!! I guess he's referring to the WebKit penchant for putting advanced graphical transitions and animations into CSS instead of relying on a device specific or OS specific API.

    Placing the visual interface instructions in the documents presentation layer (CSS4) is a revolutionary idea. The WebKit model will go a long way towards creating a global interoperability layer that rides above lower device, OS, browser and application specifics. So yes, by all means let's go with CSS4 :)

    Tags: webkit, web-applications, web-design, Safari, Chrome, Tom-yager, Ajax, JavaScript

    • You’re still waiting for me to explain what I meant when I referred to JavaScript as a last resort. I hinted at it in the preceding paragraph. Not the part on JavaScript debugging, but my reference to CSS and HTML. These do a lot more than paint screens. They are a browser's client-side framework. Everything they do is handled as native code. In other words, they're fast. CSS3 and HTML5 are too inconsistently implemented (if at all) across browsers to design to unless you're specifically targeting Safari, iPhone, or other WebKit-based browsers.
      • Tom makes the point that the use of AJAX JavaScript breaks Web interoperability. He further points out that HTML is a static layout language, where CSS is dynamic and adaptive. (Use HTML5/DOM for document structure, and CSS4 for presentation - layout, formatting and visual interface).

        It is the consistency of the WebKit document model across all WebKit browsers that makes for an interoperable Open Web future. I would not however discount the importance of Firefox and Opera embracing the WebKit document model (HTML5, CSS4, SVG/Canvas, JavaScript, DOM2). That's our guarantee that the future of the Open Web will actually be open.

        Tom goes on to suggest that instead of "AJAX", developers would be better off thinking in terms of "ACHJAX": Asynchronous CSS4 - HTML5 - JavaScript and XML ..... with the focus on getting as much done in CSS4 as possible. - By Gary Edwards
  • Chris Walker provides some interactive demonstrations of the powerful webkit-transforms that are placed in CSS. So, what can we do with all this magic? Well, the culmination of the Chris Walker demo is a Mac OSX style Dock menu, using no Javascript...

    ".....Yes, that’s right a bulging docked menu, with no javascript. Just so you remember, there no javascript in the demo. Check out the Javascript free OSX Dock Menu Demo.

    This demo actually proves an important point Tom Yager made earlier about Ajax; Will JavaScript inconsistencies break the Web?

    Taking AJAX literally makes lousy Web apps: "As little as possible should be the rule for JavaScript, which must play a supporting role to CSS and HTML". Tom concludes that it's best to follow the WebKit model, putting everything possible into first CSS4, then HTML5, and then JavaScript. I would argue that the proliferation of JavaScript libraries is a good hedge against the non interoperable future Yager warns of. But hey, why stop the guy when he's on a roll. CSS4! I guess the webkit-transforms have been officially christened. Thanks Tom.


    Tags: webkit, webkit-transforms, webkit-animations, CSS4, JavaScript, HTML5

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Future of the Web 03/12/2009

  • Coursey challenges the assertions put forward by Stephen Vaughn-Nichols that Google's Android will appear as a netbook OS before the year is out. Stephen also contends that soon enough, an Android Desktop will appear, and this will truly challenge Microsoft's monopolist grip. Coursey disputes that also, pointing out the need for file format compatibility and cloud synchronization before this can happen. Obviously, he does not see Microsoft easing their iron grip over the MSOffice productivity environment anytime soon. Stephen counters with the SAMBA story, claiming that the EU will continue to force integration and interop concessions from Microsoft. My take is that both commentators are missign the revolution that is taking place at the edge of the Web ::: the WebKit dancing document/application revolution that includes both iPhone and Android. The WebKit document/app model is washing back over the greater Web, with Web designers and masters upgrading their Web pages to reach the revolution at the edge. This is the big change Coursey is so unaware of.

    Tags: android, webkit

  • Google's goal? To set up a cloud-based set of Windows file-compatible applications that will work hand-in-glove with Google Linux-powered desktops. Google already has the applications: Google Docs, GMail, Google Calendar, etc. etc. Now, just add an operating system where they, and not the boys from Redmond, call the shots, and they're in business.

    Tags: android, windows, webkit

    • Google's goal? To set up a cloud-based set of Windows file-compatible applications that will work hand-in-glove with Google Linux-powered desktops. Google already has the applications: Google Docs, GMail, Google Calendar, etc. etc. Now, just add an operating system where they, and not the boys from Redmond, call the shots, and they're in business.
  • Gary Edwards (URL) said: Mar. 05, 8:17 PM +1 Chrome! It's excellent, but not for the reasons most would insist are important. Neither is Chrome a disruptive technology. It's not. The real revolution is underneath Chrome in the open source WebKit engine. An engine shared with iPhone, Android, Safari, Palm Pre, Nokia, Iris, RiMM 's Blackberry Storm and KDE. Crossplatform WebKit IDE's now include QT, 280Atlas and Eclipse. It is the Apple iPhone that put WebKit on the map, demonstrating a revolutionary document/application model capable of leveraging and pushing the Open Web to be competitive with proprietary initiatives from Adobe and Microsoft. The WebKit engine is driving most of the smart devices at the edge of the Web, providing a consistent document rendering and application runtime layer that is highly visual, multi-dimensionally interactive, and fully competitive with the proprietary rich interactive application engines (RiA) provided by Adobe and Microsoft. Near 80% of these edge of the Web devices are based on WebKit.

    Tags: android, chrome, webkit-chromium, google, henry-blodget, businessinsider

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.

Android and the Big Bang at the Edge of the Web

Linux proponent Stephen Vaughn-Nichols is having an argument with long time Microsoft shill and Windows defender David Coursey about Google Android. Of all things. Stephen argues that the Linux based Android OS is going to make that magical transiton from smartphone to netbook to desktop OS. And do so with stunning rapidity. David Coursey counters that Android can't touch Windows without first figuring out how to perfect file format compatibility, interop with Windows applications and services, and integration into Windows business networks.

Coursey makes an excellent point. No doubt Microsoft knows the competitive value of the impossible barriers they have erected, and the shills have their talking points down to a T.

I agree with Stephen that there will be Android OS netbooks, laptops and desktops. I wonder though whether or not we will see Google OEM products? My thinking is that Google will pursue a course similar to what they did with Android smartphones: build an independent OEM manufacturing base around the open source Android OS, and compliment that manufacturing and distribution channel with a webkit/chromium developer network.

This of course is the "Intel Inside" approach to building a platform for the long run. A Google device would discourage independent OEM's.

But perhaps this is hairsplitting. Where it counts, you are right. Coursey is wrong. He does however make a good point when he says:

"Give most people a netbook that is compatible with the file formats they use, whether for work or entertainment apps, and they will be happy. Especially if the price is right. ....."

"As for desktops, however, all of the reasons that Android could be a fine netbook OS, basically the lack of a requirement to run Windows applications or participate in Windows business networks, makes it an unlikely choice for a desktop OS. ..."

"Windows is and will remain King of the Desktop until something really dramatic happens. That's not Android."

He's right about file format compatibility and the difficult barriers competing applications and services must overcome to integrate and interoperate with MSOffice productivity environment bound "documents and embedded business processes". For Google, Cisco and to get inside the workflows of MSOffice workgroups, with a level of interop competitive to MOSS, the EU is going to have to do a lot more than forcing the Windows network and the MOSS collaboration protocols into the light of day.

That said, i do think the big bang has happened. But it's not Android. It's WebKit, and the incredible revolution that is taking place at the edge of the Web.

I'm surprised Coursey has not yet recognized this. The WebKit layout engine and document/application model rolled across the edge of the Web with iPhone-tsunami force, and is now spashing back into the greater Web as other Open Web browsers adapt, and Web designers race to upgrade their pages to be iPhone ready.

Just for yuks, the next time you find yourself at Google Docs, check out the HTML+ source code. And say hello to the emerging WebKit document model. Still in it's infancy, yes. But nevertheless, making it's stand for the future of the Open Web.

IMHO, Microsoft has lost their bid to dumb down the Open Web using the dominant marketshare of a 1998 browser. They have lost the battle for the Web's document model because of this WebKit surge coming from the edge of the Web. This will in turn threaten Microsoft's bid to establish a proprietary Web of rich documents and applications based on WPF technologies like XAML and Silverlight.

Android is coming. And with it comes the real big bang- the next generation WebKit document/application model.


Some comments that discuss this further:
Is Google Chrome a Dud? Or is it the second coming?
Did Microsoft Just Screw the Pooch?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Future of the Web 03/05/2009

  • Here we sit at the dawn of "The Age of Visual Computing" and Intel makes a deal with their arch enemy, low cost-high volume SOC producer TSMC. Peter Glaskowsky argues that the Intel-TSMC alliance announced earlier this week is a good thing for both companies, but not for the reasons stated by Intel. Peter discusses Intel's problem of competing with low margin manufactures like TSCM. He walks through the challenges and options Intel has, describing why this is a killer deal for both Intel and TSMC. The losers however are Nvidia, ViA and ARM. Great discussion! Looks to me like Intel is very concerned about Nvidia and the ION-Atom motherboard. So much so that they are willing to risk a massive anti-trust action. There are a number of articles and comments at the diigo "Future of the Web" group discussing Nvidia's Jen-Hsun Huang, the ION-Atom motherboard, and Jen's "Age of Visual Computing" vision. His views on legacy x86 CPU processing power and why we need a combined GPU-CPU architecture are fascinating. Soon enough, i expect to see a netbook running the Google Android OS on a ION-Atom or ION-ViA motherboard. What a day that's going to be.

    Tags: Intel, TSMC, Nvidia, ARM, ViA, GPU, ION-Atom, SOCs

  • I posted a digg on Peter Glaskowsky's CNET article discussing the Intel - TSMC deal. In 1995, i somehow managed to get between Intel and TSMC regarding funding for Virtual Realty, a video conferencing based loan origination / real estate transaction processing company that used Intel ProShare. TSMC wanted to invest a ton of money in VRi, with the idea of providing a full graphical listing, brokerage and transaction service for all of Asia. Intel needed a business model proving the value of ProShare, and capable of putting down the basics of a wide bandwidth video conferencing communications-data network they could grow into a platform.

    At first this seemed to me like a win-win for everyone. Then i found out how seriously pissed Intel was about TSMC's deal with ViA and the resulting "WinBook". Although this is not the time or place to tell the story, i was truly stunned and shocked when i saw the Intel-TSMC deal announcement. Wow!

    My response to Peter focuses on his comments about how this deal will impact Nvidia. And then, how the Nvidia vision of an ION-Atom motherboard impacts WebKit and the future of the Open Web.

    Tags: nvidia, ion-atom, intel, tsmc, peter-glaskowsky, visual-computing, webKit

Posted from Diigo. The rest of Future of the Web group favorite links are here.