Why Web Developers Should Already Be Thinking About Web 3.0
Web developers have witnessed a great many new technologies, new features and new facilities within the world of web technology. Some have complicated matters, others have been little more than passing fads, and then there are those which just get us excited at the prospect of what can be achieved!
Currently there are several web technologies which are seeing a great deal of website integration. Adobe Flash is already very much in evidence across the net, although it seems not everyone has picked up on the fact that Adobe bought Macromedia some little while ago – yes, it’s still the same Flash we’re talking about. Adobe Flash has been around for some years now, although it continues to grow, providing greater versatility and is used in an increasing variety of ways. There’s no doubt about it, when it comes to vector graphics, interactivity and programming on the web, Adobe Flash has helped move the web forwards massively.
But it isn’t the only way to add interaction to your sites, nor is it necessarily the best way to generate a dynamic, interactive website. There are a host of new technologies and frameworks which are providing web developers with an abundance of choice when it comes to generating highly successful, highly effective websites for businesses. For example, Microsoft’s Silverlight, still very much in its infancy, is offering exciting possibilities, as is AJAX, and the Microsoft Net framework.
Microsoft’s ASP .Net framework has opened up a whole world of possibilities within web programming, and has allowed website developers to create web pages which almost seem to work more like software programs. In essence, this is what web pages are becoming – the visual interfaces of software stored on servers across the globe. We’re familiar with having the computing power and software routines stored on our computers, but this is an inefficient way of working.
Why do I suggest that having software on your computer rather than online is inefficient? Simply because of the way technology works. Web development isn’t the only aspect of computer technology moving at an incredible pace. Software design, solutions development, business technology – it’s all moving so quickly that by the time you install a product on your computer it’s probably already been superseded by a new version, and there are almost certainly likely to be add-ons, extras, templates, support files, tutorials and such like which will be released afterwards.
But by using a solution such as Microsoft ASP Net framework to develop web applications which operate through websites and web pages, the processing power comes from the servers, the storage is online, the updates automatic and the resources only a click away. This is a far more efficient way of working, providing software and web developers the opportunity to create products which evolve, rather than ones released at periodic intervals. For the end user, the ability to work anytime, anywhere and have full access to software solutions, data, resources and files through modern, dynamic websites helps to massively improve productivity.
The modern world of web technology demands that we all keep pace with the changing opportunities and meet the ever increasing demands of end users. But this will require us moving even further into a position where the online world of information retrieval, ASP Net style programming and solutions development interacts seamlessly with our offline resources.
Our obsession with periodic revolutions is evident in the way many people are using the term Web 2.0, but in reality if we were adding version numbers to the world wide web, we’d be a lot further past version 2 by now. I dread to think how many versions you could categorise, but one thing we can’t do is stamp a version on the web at any one particular moment, simply because, by its very nature, it is dynamic. Websites are evolving – they always have been and they will continue to do so for a very great deal more time.
It’s important that not only does the web technology continue to evolve and become more dynamic, more interactive and intuitive, more able to blend offline and online experiences, but that web developers are able to keep up with this change, anticipate new directions, and have the skill and experience to be able to tell the fads and fashions from the revolutions and opportunities. Whilst some web development companies were getting excited about Dynamic HTML page transitions, others were looking into platform independent Adobe Flash interfaces – and it’s the latter companies that made productive headway without succumbing to the tawdry temptations of being different for the sake of being different.
Change and development is only progress if it helps end users to actually progress. In other words, it is the responsibility of every web development company, and all web developers, to take advantage of the ways in which website development is tending, implement the opportunities which new platforms provide, and make sure that Web 3.0 takes us one step further towards a fully platform independent, user-centric online software experience.
Jonathan Tabard is a online software solutions expert, who works with a web development company in Norfolk, and advises web developers on emerging web technologies.