Posted April 18, 2007on:
I attended the Web 2.0 Expo held in San Francisco between April 15-18. Here are some thoughts on some of the things that caught my attention.
Rich Internet Applications
There was a lot of talk about RIAs, many products ranging from full-blown development environments to languages, language environments etc. Some examples include Apollo (new announcement from Adobe), Django, curl (no – this is not the OSS libcurl), Silverlight (Microsoft’s response to Adobe !)
So it seems that the applications are once again moving onto the desktop – after moving from fat client to the web, we have now realized that the web environment really is not rich enough for many applications.
RDF vs Microformats
There were several sessions talking about Microformats, the simple data formats that are more human readable. (It’s funny how XML was touted as being both human readable and machine readable – today, it seems that microformats have that distinction). This does seem like cool stuff – Mozilla is working on microformats support in Firefox, which means for example, that you can drag and drop contacts, appointments etc. to your desktop address box and calendar.
There wasn’t a whisper about RDF . From the description of microformats, it appears that it is solving the same kinds of problems we expected RDF to solve. Microformats have a leg up on RDF because they work on any browser where as older browsers will barf at RDF. If developers start using microformats (some already have), I suspect RDF will be dead as far as its use in typical web pages (foaf:person vs hCard) and it will remain exclusively in the domain of the semantic web – which may be fine I guess.
Who can forget the browser wars ? If any ex-Netscape engineer out there reads this, please rejoice. Everywhere I looked, every demo I saw (including screen-shots in presentations) used Firefox, not IE. With the exploding number of extensions and plug-ins, I really think this time around Firefox will win. It’s just a matter of time !