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Agile Computing: Article

Is This the Birth of Web 3.0?

Is Web 3.0 yet another buzz word, or is it a real turnaround in our industry?

Julien Lecomte's Blog

Is Web 3.0 yet another buzz word, or is it a real turnaround in our industry?

Web 1.0 was the good old web of the 1990s. In those times, all client-side changes were the result of a server round-trip. The Internet was ramping up in popularity.

Web 2.0 has been a little more than just a technological evolution. The staple of Web 2.0 has been the emergence of social media (Internet users creating most of the content), powered by mature technologies (DHTML, Ajax) on somewhat stable web browsers.

Web 3.0 is not a revolution either. It is yet another technological evolution destined to provide users with an even better experience, both online and offline. Web 3.0 will lead to the blurring of that artificial wall between the web browser and the desktop, providing a full — but secure — integration with devices and services exposed by the operating system.

Web 3.0 is just starting. Look around you and you’ll see that Web 3.0 technologies are slowly cropping up everywhere on the web. Google Gears, one of the first Web 3.0 technologies, allows you to build web applications that can work offline. Thanks to Google Gears, applications such as Remember The Milk, an online to-do list and task management system, can now work offline. The Adobe Flash player already allows application developers limited access to the webcam and the microphone. Soon, we’ll also be able to drag and drop files from the desktop to a web browser (see this Java Upload Applet for an example using the Java technology)

Another aspect of Web 3.0 is the use of stunning graphics, smooth animations, high definition audio and video, 3D, etc. and all of this inside a web browser!

At first, Web 3.0 features will be available using plugins (Google Gears, Java, Flash, Silverlight, ActiveX and Firefox extensions, etc.) But slowly, we may start seeing browser vendors integrating them into their browsers, followed by some level of standardization. The HTML 5 Working Draft seems to be going in the right direction.

These are exciting times for web front-end engineers! The risk of fragmentation, inevitable with such ground-breaking technologies, will hopefully be mitigated in the short term by the use of JavaScript toolkits. The Dojo Toolkit, for example, has already started making Web 3.0 features available (see dojo.gfx and the Dojo Offline Toolkit) Hopefully, all the other major frameworks will follow suite so we can all start building cool new applications that wow our users!

Julien Lecomte spoke at AJAXWorld Conference & Expo 2008, held March 18-20, 2008 in New York City. His session was on "High Performance AJAX Applications."

Click here for details of the upcoming 6th AJAXWorld RIA Conference & Expo in San Jose, CA.

More Stories By Julien Lecomte

Julien Lecomte currently works on Yahoo!'s DHTML Evangelist team, a group that provides architectural assistance to Yahoo! web developers. He has worked extensively on Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Search, and is the author of the YUI Browser History Manager and the YUI Compressor.

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Most Recent Comments
Rob 06/13/08 01:22:03 PM EDT

Sorry Julien,

You're wrong about Web 3.0. However, you have described some nice Web 2 tools.

That's all Web 2.0 is...tools! Tools to help us connect people to people.

What's Web 3.0? Organizing people and using the tools of Web 2.0 to create a workforce.

http://web3solutions.blogspot.com/

Welcome to Web 3.0.

[email protected]

Chuck 01/29/08 07:46:10 PM EST

The sooner we dump the web browser as an application development platform, the better. Browsers are good at browsing, but that's about it.

Web 3.0 should be something radically better than RIAs. Something like FRIAs.

These new RIA tools are a big improvement, but they are still built on the same crappy technology (browsers, HTML, JavaScript, servlets) we've been using. So, call them Web 2.5.

FRIAs are Filthy Rich Internet Applications. These are remotely run virtual applications that provide the full GUI and full capabilities of a fat client with skinnier install than RIAs.

Toss in better security, better compliance, centralized management, and just about everything else is better too.

The technologies to do this have been around for a while, but they are finally reaching critical mass.

FRIAs should be Web 3.0

Phil Waineright 11/20/07 01:07:32 PM EST

Web 3.0 ... a new generation of services-based, composite applications that are tailored to fit the work processes that people actually need in their daily routines. View link: http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=72

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