Henrik Igo reacts to our presentation of the proposal of Joe Geldart towards an Active Web. The intervention of Henrik is rather technical, but still of interest for non-developers.
At the same time we had developed some additional techniques – most signicant would prehaps be RSS and the family of XML markups used to provide blog feeds. This lead to a collaboration between websites beyond linking: You could provide parts of another blog or newssite on your own page, for instance. Or to take a very different example, BookMooch uses Amazon to provide data and cataloguing of books. Yet, BookMooch is a site for free sharing of old books, you’d think Amazon wouldn’t like “helping out” such a project. Not so, in reality lots of BookMooch users end up buying books on Amazon. In fact, BookMooch probably makes most of its income based on money they get from Amazon for these referrals.
AJAX combined with RSS and some other by then standard tools (wiki is a significant one) is in my opinion rightly called Web2.0. This is very different from the original document based web and rightly has been given its own name.
Web2.0 is NOT the social web (like FaceBook, LinkedIn). The social web is merely an application of Web2.0, technically it doesn’t contribute anything new. (Well, apart from FaceBooks innovation of letting 3rd parties develop applications embedded in its own site, that is a great innovation, but it is not “THE social web”.) Why the social web is so much hyped is in this context in fact a good question, I believe there is in fact a little pyramid scheme to it all. I mean Facebook is fun and all, but it isn’t THAT fun, I think the effective inviting mechanism plays a part.
This is the point we are now. Now for my own predictions:
Next we will see the advent of the Single sign-on web, most likely emodied in the form of OpenID. (SSO means you don’t have to create new logins for every site, you just use one main identity and password to log in to each site. Obviously the sites you log in to don’t get to know your password, they just accept the referral from your ISP, mail provider, or other OpenID provider you are using.) This imho will add further granularity to the web, in that users can come and go more fluidly than today, where you make a choice to register and join FaceBook but not something else. This in turn should foster a development where we can again have smaller sites providing one small funny little piece of the social web, instead of the monolithic FaceBooks of today. This would be in line with what Web2.0 was all about, Facebook et al are in fact a countertrend to the Web2.0 trend if seen in this light.
Whether a “decentralised social web” will arise from this is a good question, and whether the Global Giant Graph will emerge from that is an even better question. It might, but it might end up something entirely different. The GGG is technically possible today, and how OpenID works there are some similarities to the RDF used in GGG, so once OpenID becomes popular, the next step might be to not just externalise (or decentralise) your login credentials but also your social connections. But we will know the answer to this in something like 5 years.
The proposal in the end on new HTTP commands is just pure folly (it is just the wrong place to do it, period), which underlines that the author wasn’t just slightly off with his Web2.0 comments, but in fact knows nothing at all about the technology he is talking about. To implement such functionality by extending HTTP would imho be quite silly, and in fact a peer-to-peer protocol like SIP would probably be a better starting point in the first place, and even then you wouldn’t do it by commands like those, but you’d develop an XML based document language to transmit this kind of information.”
Michel Bauwens comment: Henrik, could it be that the Active Web proposal could have merit, without being tied to a specific technical proposal on how to implement it? It seems that your critique is focused on the latter mostly.