Web as platform

Reading time: 2 mins

Just a short post to remind myself to expand on my thoughts as prompted by Jason Kottke: Web as platform.

Except I’m not going to as I spent about an hour last night, writing, deleting, writing, deleting, writing, deleting and I’m still not sure WHERE I think this is headed.

Suffice to say that I think the only way the web can function properly as a platform is if:
a. storage space and transfer speeds make it possible to have ALL my photos online, including the crap ones.
b. the tools available are available are not platform specific.
c. the price of storage is sufficiently low.

The one thing that struck me the most though was the statement that “Data needs to be portable.” No, it doesn’t. Make the applications ‘portable’. Get those standards working, and then people can host their data where they like, and point the applications at the data. That way the bit of this whole thing that is truly MINE, stays under MY control. For example, I’ve switched from Winamp to iTunes for listening to music. I didn’t have to export and import the data.

Other random thoughts from this:
1. An online version of Picasa, which monitors your web space, would be better than having to upload photos INTO a program. I want the program to do the work for me. Similarly Flickr should be able to go and find my new photos. A possible answer to the redundancy issue?
2. Web based iTunes anyone? I have 50GB worth of music at home, some of which is replicated at work. Why can’t I easily access the music stored on my PC (or better still, stored in my large, cheap web space).

Ohh dear, I’m on a roll now.

Next up, personal data (calendar info, contacts etc). The PDA suggested that people wanted that information with them at all times. I still buy into that, hence the order for a new Smartphone, but it would be much better if I could sync to ONE central source than two (work and home PCs). Note that I’m syncing FROM my source TO the web source. Not the other way round. I don’t want to have to maintain the data on the web. Sure I want to be able to manipulate it, edit, add, and delete it, but I don’t want to HAVE to do that on the web.

The one constant problem, of course, is for us early adopter types, and I think that’s what Jason K forgets to take into account. For someone coming late to this party Flickr, for example, is ideal. They don’t already have a lot of their photos stored in another system. Of course, if Flickr dies something else will take it’s place, and then the pain begins again. Breaking the link between data and application is crucial if we are going to stop this cycle.

WOOOOO. Ain’t caffeine great. Here was me not going to say much and look how much I’ve waffled on…. apologies if none of this stuff is of interest but if it wasn’t, why ya still reading?!

Coming next, back to basics, blogging about the weather, and kittens. Probably.