Well I see today that a couple of people actually have commented on my alcohol induced (that is a fact, not an excuse) rant on Web 2.0. Steve Rockarts responded in support on my stance while the good bloke over at Fire in the Hole responded less favourably. So, in the spirit of stirring things up a little more (and the fact not many people drop by the igloo) I’d like to respond to the Fire in the Hole.
The first thing that I’m going to say is that I think that my views of the Web 2.0 phenomena was from a web user and not an IT professional. Over at the Fire in the Hole, the approach to Web 2.0 was more from the IT professional standpoint. I agree that the hype of Web 2.0 might be what the Application Service Provider segment might need to really break out. From an IT and management standpoint, ASPs make sense for all the reasons listed (hardware, management, peace of mind and cost). What Web 2.0 has to overcome are two simple things; data ownership and perceived data security.
What I’m not 100% sure about is the assertion that the blurring of the traditional desktop with Web 2.0 applications is going to help the uptake. The web still has one significant problem that my desktop hosted applications don’t…..connectivity. Yes this argument has been made for years by the web-doubters. I’m not using it for that. What I’d like to say is that connectivity requirements dictate that some application be available at all times (perhaps operating in a disconnected state) while others have less strenuous requirements. For example, if you were to use Writely as your primary office document creation platform, what would you do if you suffered from that inevitable internet outage? Can company’s reasonably absorb having periods of diminished productivity when alternatives would not cause these issues? Some would, some wouldn’t.
The thing that originally got me all fired up about Web 2.0 was that it again appears that the IT world is buzzing about, well, buzz words and technology for technology’s sake. People are all fired up about sites like Writely which offers office document creation which can be pushed through a RSS feed and can be tagged. It seems that, like during the original web boom, anything that was built using the hot technologies (AJAX, RSS, tagging, blog, social networking) is now a sought after commodity. Web properties are no longer being evaluated based on the market they address and the technology they use.
Like the web boom of the mid-to-late nineties, I think a large number of Web 2.0 labelled companies are going to find themselves on the wrong side of liquidation auctions. Some will survive just as some did ten years ago.
I’m the Igloo Coder and until the second coming of the dot-com-bomb I’ll settle for a drink in a good pub with the blokes who made me think this through.