Musings about the Web

It's the year 2009 and it's now been about 4 years since I started with this whole Web Development business again. The Web has come a really really long way since those days when I sat in front of a copy of Dreamweaver building out table based layouts. Though I rode the wave of new (or better implemented) technologies such as CSS and AJAX, trying to find applications for the coolest new implementation I find myself at a strange waypoint. Is the Web all I want to focus on or indeed will it be the only thing in the future, what with everything from applications to communications moving online inexorably?

The Web Today

Recently I feel that the web is becoming this big AJAXified beast. While this is generally a good thing in terms of User Experience (witness sites like Faceook) its beginning to seem to me a bit boring. Yes - when AJAX appeared on the scene it was really exciting. Indeed I remember writing an AJAX application for my employer a while ago and it was so new they didn't even know what AJAX was but loved its features nevertheless! But now?

So we have cool frameworks such as jQuery (which I love) and powerful application platforms/services such as Amazon's Cloud Web Service. We have very cool backend technologies such as Ruby on Rails (upon which this is built). But I can't help feeling that this is all getting really old, really fast. This perception is probably due to the fact that there is nothing really really new out there today to get my hand dirty with. HTML 5 is always "just around the corner" and it's slow (draft) implementations in Browsers mean that all the cool stuff they're incorporating can't be used across all browsers yet therefore making it useless to a wide audience.

Of course there are always new and clever ways to apply technology to websites today and I have actually implemented some pretty nice solutions for some clients, but I think that I want more.

The Next Big Thing

Ok first off, forget that title. I don't honestly believe that there is one sole next big thing that everyone is going to embrace. However, there are a few cool things that have appeared. Most interesting for me at this point is mobile. The arrival of the iPhone has been a sudden wake-up call to the whole mobile business. At last we have a phone that is capable of delivering a decent User Experience through an intuitive interface. On top of that we have a full SDK for developing applications with a wide range of uses and this has evidently exploded developer interest in the mobile platform.

Some investigation into this platform has been quite exciting in the sense that one gets an idea of what is possible and given a few more steps forwards from Apple (no - I do not believe that the iPhone enables the mobile platform's full potential) the power that will be available in a device the palm of one's hand. It is no wonder that people have had a lot of success here and will continue to do so. Add to this the fact that both Android and RIM have joined the whole application development bandwagon and it's pretty clear that there will be a lot of demand in this area.

2009 and Beyond

Given the excitement described above I think I shall move into that space and along the way learn the intricacies of building compiled applications and of course Cocoa (which I have to say I like a lot). Nevertheless, the Web won't go away and I will continue to work on some interesting projects.

Beyond that, who knows?


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