Unbeknownst to most folks living “out there,” the web is undergoing a massive transformation as it shifts from a publication mechanism into a platform for distributed web services.
The transformation of the web is inherently cyclical in nature. Functionality that was once traditionally trapped within the walled gardens of online destinations is being rapidly disaggregated. Enterprising developers are creating a new breed of software to aggregate this open functionality and deliver new user experiences. As aggregation software increases in popularity, web service providers are rushing to make a “land grab” for core services before they get locked out of the race. This land grab is leading to even more functionality being exposed. As we march onward towards the vision of the Web as a Platform, this cycle will perpetuate.
The end game of this metamorphosis has stunning implications for the world at large. The dream promised by the progenitors of service-oriented architectures will be realized. End users will be able to mix and match best-of-breed functionality using “Smart Aggregators” to create and share their own “long tail experiences.” To end users, this functionality will come in the form of Widgets that leverage one, or more web services. Competition will abound for content services, content distribution, content aggregation, and monetization mechanisms (see Fred’s excellent post for more thoughts). And all the while your set of services, or Personal Information Cloud, will follow you in different contexts. Sounds pretty nifty, eh?
In short, ladies and gentlemen, we are moving towards the Structured Web – fast. Villains will be fought. Heroes will be made. But, boy oh boy is it going to be a grand adventure.