LearnWhat is the Future of the Web (2007)

Adam Howell
writes on July 24, 2007

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With the Future of Web Apps conference just a few months away and Carsonified announcing their whistle stop tour across Europe, we thought it’d be a good time to ask the top designers, developers and entrepreneurs across the world what they thought of the future of the web.

We asked them all this question:

“What’s one thing about today’s web (company, technology, movement, etc.) that you think we’ll look back on in 10 years and say ‘that was important’ or ‘that was really a turning point in the history of the web’?”

And here is what they had to say:

Greg Storey, Airbag Industries

“After the crash and the money left the Internet the same people who pioneered web design and development stayed behind and found a way to take the Internet as a platform to the next level. We’ll look back at the last three years as the time when smart, talented people found a way to harness the power of web technologies and turned it into a viable, real-world alternative to traditional applications and media all without the need or assistance of Wall Street or the venture capitalists. It will be a time when skill and talent, not money, ran the show.”

Geoffrey Grosenbach, TopFunky Corporation

“The most impactful change in the last few years has been web developers treating the web as an API. The ability to share resources programmatically through Microformats, RSS, and APIs has not only made life richer for programmers and entrepreneurs, but for the end user as well.”

Jeffrey Kalmikoff, SkinnyCorp

“I think we’ll look back and think it’s amusing how much emphasis people put on “web 2.0”. In my opinion, people spend so much time trying to define it and make their projects “comply” with it, that it’s most likely slowing down what’s certainly to come next. It’s gotten to the point where “web 2.0” is more about the fashion of a website rather than it’s functionality. Hopefully in 10 years, we’ll look back on this all from web 8.0 and have a hearty chuckle.”

Dan Saffer, Adaptive Path

“Ten years ago, in 1997, it was the rise of broadband connections that have made much of the last internet decade possible or, at least, tolerable. The next ten years will be all about mobile-tailored services delivered over the web to mobile devices. The iPhone and Nokia’s N95 are just starting to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We’re starting to see physical locations having metadata attached to them, and it won’t be long before our devices and the mobile web can make that data available to us rapidly and geo-specifically.”

Dylan Schiemann, Sitepen

“I think the single biggest thing was been the spread of both open source and user-driven content. Getting more people involved with publishing, creating, and doing — not just consuming — has made the web and the world a place where people are more empowered to be creative, find their passion, and make a living doing the things they most enjoy.”

John Oxton

“From a designer’s point of view I think the work that has been going on with grids and typography for the web will be viewed as a turning point for sure. Also, Apple’s approach to the mobile web seems quite important, by making it easier, much easier, for designers to deliver content to mobile devices.”

Thomas Fuchs, Wollzelle

“The mid-2000s marked an emancipation from pure informational or static web sites and ported-over desktop apps. The Web grew up to provide for applications and services not possible until then, through the use of the first and foremost resource on the net: people. The “social web” will stay with us for a long time.

Noteworthy, this also influences technology and helps break browser monopolies, which can only be a good thing for the years to come.”

Larissa Meek, AgencyNet Interactive

“One of the most important changes 10 years from now will be the birth of YouTube. User-generated video made the world smaller, giving anyone the ability to be their own filmmaker or even become an instant celebrity. It also reminds us how careful you have to be with your personal life appearing on the web.”

Michael McDerment, Freshbooks

“I think that APIs and connections between various apps will be something that we look back on as a turning point because it ushers in a new world where people can choose the best parts of web apps for their needs and use those to design really effective workflows … especially for the small business markets.”

Keith Robinson, Blue Flavor

“I might be a bit biased because of what I’ve been working on lately (getleaflets.com), but I think the introduction of iPhone, and the latest version of Safari, is going to cause a major change to the web as we know it. It’ll finally make the mobile web interesting to both users and developers in the US and with its support of CSS3 could push browser support and standards to a new level even on the desktop Web. Someday in the next few years we could start to see true standards support across multiple browsers, platforms and devices as well as a very compelling mobile user experience in the hands of a huge number of people around the world.”

Garrett Dimon

“We’re still in the “awkward early teen years” of web services and APIs. Right now it’s more of a novelty where technically savvy people are enabling access to some basic information and other technically savvy people are playing with all of this information under the guise of “mashups” and experimentation.

However, once these APIs are everywhere, the possibilities become much more robust and move from the realm of novelty experiments into truly practical and business-oriented uses. Whether it’s Amazon selling services/functionality, an application exposing data, or simply improved tools for consuming these services, the web starts to become more seamlessly connected instead of duct-taped together.”

Eric Meyer

“Microformats. Whether they persist in their current form 10 years down the road or give rise to something newer, they are the only real hope we have of delivering a more semantic web to everyone. If you want to see the beginnings of what that will be like from the user’s perspective, install the Operator extension for Firefox and hit some microformatted sites.”

Andy Budd, ClearLeft

“I think one of the biggest changes came when businesses started to realise that they needed to work their business models around their user needs, and not expect users to fit around their outdated business models.”

Sean Madden, Frog Design

“I’m hoping that we’ll place a grubby little finger squarely on information aggregation, both on a personal level and as a vehicle for providing relevant recommendations. The key tenet powering the idea of the wisdom of the crowds says that a crowd is at its wisest when it is diverse, independent, decentralized, and aggregated. The internet has always encompassed the first three, but only recently have we recognized the power and started to understand what we can do with intelligently considered aggregation.”

Peter Nixey

“Funny you should ask … my call would be OpenId. Of course, as a disclosure, I should also tell you that I’m currently on Y-Combinator in the states and my company is one which is hoping to make OpenID easy!”

Derek Powazek

“The thing about today’s web that we’ll look back on in 10 years and say “that was important” is … print. Tangible, actual print.

The web has created a new generation of writers. Say what you want about crappy screens and ever-faster broadband — what we do online every day is read and write.

Meanwhile, print-on-demand technologies are quietly getting better and cheaper every day. You can now get better photographic reproduction out of a digital press than a traditional one.

Where do you think this new generation writers will turn for authenticity and professionalism after they’ve gotten the taste for writing in their system? What could be more respectable than the printed page?

We’re still figuring out what the web is truly good for. After all, we’ve only had a dozen or so years to practice. But we all know what print is good for — permanence, authority, and beauty. The web will not replace print any more than television replaced radio. It will, instead, change it into something better.

The children of the internet, raised on digital efficiencies and open access, are going to reinvent the printed page. The revolution has already begun.”

One Response to “What is the Future of the Web (2007)”

  1. thanks admin good post

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