My fears and hopes for Web 2.0 and SharePoint

By now everyone has heard the term “Web 2.0”. The term was brilliant from a business perspective but somewhat annoying from a technical one.

First we have to figure out what it (Web 2.0) actually means based on dozens of different opinions and then make our own idea from it.

To me web 2.0 means the web is evolving – It’s a marketing/hype term being used to breathe new life into a stagnant internet. In short it’s simply a buzz-word but it does have merit.

Does Web 2.0 really exist? I guess it depends on your idea of what web 2.0 really is but yes there is something to it when the big players like Microsoft (www.live.com) decide they’re going to make an investment. Google is also rumored to have some 2.0’ish experinments in the works. (Ajax Web Editor)

My idea of what web 2.0 is simple, It’s a more portable, usable, content-centric and just plain enjoyable online user experience made possible by the numbeous new technologies such as AJAX, Ruby on Rails, .NET 2.0, CSS 3 etc.

This leads me to my main fears for Web 2.0:

  • Portability seems to rely on the fact that we’re doing everyone online via someone elses website. What if this website goes down? or worse disapears? What happens to your data? We need guarantees that our data is safe, it’s able to be backed up, it’s able to be ported from one system (website) to another should an inevitable disaster occur.
  • Ideas versus Buzzwords. I fear that really great ideas are becoming secondary to a term used to describe it. For example: People might refer to http://deliicio.us as a really cool example of web 2.0. Sure that may be true to an extent but it shouldn’t override the fact that it’s a brilliant idea The marketing hype will push thrings through for awhile but what happens when people get bored of hearing about web 2.0 and want web 3.0 or 4.0?

Don’t take this the wrong way. If the SharePoint Technologies team was to adopt the web 2.0 thinking for the platform I would do the happy dance, twice.

What does this have to do with SharePoint?:

To me SharePoint is a perfect example of web 2.0 (idea wise) but not architecture wise. If however the team was struck by lightning and had an decided to simplify the UI, rethink the markup model of bloated tables and implement instead CSS based layout well then you would have a platform that people would “want” to extend to the extranet.

The idea of making it so easy to create lists which allow users to capture and store dynamic data was brilliant. The idea of re-usable drag and drop components (web parts) was brilliant. When I look at www.live.com or www.netvibes.com etc I just can’t help put think of what SharePoint could be as an external platform.

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