Thursday, February 01, 2007

Web 2.0 in the New World

Web 2.0 should be synonomous with Rich Internet Applications

New brands, new experiences, new business models. We have to rethink what an application means - we have grown used to the way desktop applications behave and we have also learned how web applications work. We know the shortfalls of both approaches, and we understand the benefits of each. So it follows that tomorrow we would blend the two and discover a better way to design, architect, build, deploy and manage applications. It is my belief that the developers that build these applications will find themselves working for companies that are more likely to participate in global conversations. And the apps they build are the platform for participation - that's Web 2.0.

It doesnt have to be rich...but its better if it is. If its not rich, its only because it doesnt have to be - maybe it does just store photos, or aggregate blogs, how rich do we need that to be? But the underlying technology is the medium. It is in it's simplest and most pure form, a highly performant, massively scalable, sharable, pushable, pullable, combination of professional media and user-generated media.

Brand experience - Performance, expressiveness

Great design, talking celebrities, tactile audio events, personalized feature content, the fastest service editorial, maps, media, talking bios, anchor desks, 3d immersive worlds or environments, and seamless transitions and ONE loading screen, ONE time - its possible with RIAs. They just give you total control over how your brand reaches the world. You can customize applications in such a way that immerses the user in your world and if you do it right, you get immersed in theirs. By making subtle changes to the content, and constructive architectural changes and design tweaks to the experience, in very little time your audiences are viewing and interacting with your content on their terms.

And the good news is that your multimedia content becomes part of the experience instead of an extra feature, requiring yet another plugin and yet another interface to learn.

Because you have control over exactly what the user experiences, you can use that experience to make them part of the product or service experience. Incorporate multimedia, allow incredible amounts of comparison or customization, run on different devices, standalone apps and in the web browser so that they are seeing your product in a way they can't with your competitors.

Changing enterprise - business gets a new, improved interface that's realtime

New because it had an old one before and we could already use it. Not a new enterprise necessarily, although there are some good examples of that too, but a new face on business and a new way for employees to get their jobs done...and it's improved based on all the years of learning we have had - some of the best and brightest minds in the business have been working on this stuff for years now. Not necessarily software as a service, but definitely "Software is a service in the enterprise" - it both provides one and it enables many.

You only get a "better-than-desktop" experience to fly if it works better for IT to have it over the web because it provides a single point for upgrades. And as long as noone is giving up any control over their applications, that's okay, you are able to map the events and processes you need access to and the interactions take place more efficiently - no surprises, no random approaches and the workaround is the app, not beyond the walls of the app where IT cant do anything about it.

This is not really about web applications - these are powerful and robust full featured applications. Developers have control over every event, every keystroke, every action taken and fine-grained controls can be built onto every aspect of the experience and design Try anything - including things that aren't possible with traditional web applications. I have already seen this make for some very ugly interfaces, but I believe that it's also going to make for some absolutely mind-bending experiences.

Minor note, but you also print a lot less output with RIAs, because you inherently trust that the transaction is in the app...there's a lot less of a feeling that your work is gone in the cloud, and you aren't left praying that the interface will show you the same results again.

It's a big network - apps to the edge, on everything and offline

Kids in Japan. Ships in the arctic sea. Helicopters doing top-secret training. Ecologists monitoring endangered species behaviour....

The interface options are endless, the screen real estate is changing by definition and the the web is everywhere that they are - at least some of the time. And that spotty connection is enough to go on - your new web application can take advantage of this. RIAs take you beyond the connected web browser and into a range of devices and mediums.

By taking full advantage of the Internet, RIAs can be used to connect a living room or a community. You can get to it on your set top box or on your X Box. You can share with your son who has a PSP. Your network enables real-time collaboration and in the lack of network you can still provide for a great experience. RIAs have the potential to bring people from all over the world together - people make the internet, and RIAs can make it seem like those people are next to each other.

Go faster, use the blocks in the box and leverage the new programming models

The holy grail of RIAs is to write one set of code and have that code run on any device or computer in the world. As a development shop, you can have one code base and deploy that anywhere your users go. If you're a business then you can make sure your executives have your application whether they are on a plane with their PDAs or at their desk on their laptops.

RSS, micro formats are quickly becoming the building blocks of the web. They provide the invaluable content in easy to consume bits which means greater accessibility to content everywhere. RIAs are in a unique position to take this content and give users a great deal of control over it. RIAs free the building blocks from the confines of the web browser meaning much more potential for how we view and interact with content.

Let's have fun out there today...