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Is Today's Web Still 'the Web'?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the worth-thinking-about dept.

The Internet 312

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister raises questions regarding the transforming nature of the Web now that Tim Berners-Lee's early vision has been supplanted by today's much more complex model. AJAX, Google Web Toolkit, Flash and Silverlight all have McAllister asking, 'Is [the Web] still the Web if you can't navigate directly to specific content? Is it still the Web if the content can't be indexed and searched? Is it still the Web if you can only view the application on certain clients or devices? Is it still the Web if you can't view source?' Such questions bely a much bigger question for Web developers, McAllister writes. If today's RIAs no longer resemble the 'Web,' then should we be shoehorning these apps into the Web's infrastructure, or is the problem that the client platforms simply aren't evolving fast enough to meet our needs?" If the point of 'The Web' is to allow direct links between any 2 points, is today's web something entirely different?

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Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045537)

Have you ever seen a linear spider web?

Yes (4, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046323)

Have you ever seen a linear spider web?

Yes. And the spider landed right on my keyboard as it came down, too.

I always thought... (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045565)

... "the web" was lots of computers all networked together, clients and servers. Which, if it is, mean that the web remains what it was yesterday, what it is today, and what it will be tomorrow.

Re:I always thought... (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045629)

... "the web" was lots of computers all networked together, clients and servers.

No, that would be the Internet. It's very important not to confuse the two.

Re:I always thought... (0)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046205)

I can't agree more. One of my pet peeves is people using those terms interchangeably and then thinking they are the same thing (ie interweb). I can't believe someone on Slashdot even got that wrong.

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046369)

I can't agree more. One of my pet peeves is people using those terms interchangeably and then thinking they are the same thing (ie interweb). I can't believe someone on Slashdot even got that wrong.

YMBNH.

Re:Obligatory (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046589)

Nah... I was just under the impression this was a technology site and people who came here knew something about technology before they opened their mouths; I didn't realize this was the Microsoft campus. *BURN!!!*

Re:I always thought... (3, Interesting)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045731)

I always thought the Web was lots of computers all networked together: HTML clients and HTML servers.

Fixed that for you. Kinda breaks your argument when you add accuracy, eh?

Re:I always thought... (4, Insightful)

Mortice (467747) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045977)

If you're going to nitpick, probably a good idea to learn about the difference between HTML and HTTP first, eh?

Re:I always thought... (5, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046329)

If you're going to nitpick, probably a good idea to learn about the difference between HTML and HTTP first, eh?

...and to understand that FTP resources are also part of the web.

According to W3C, the web is "the universe of network-accessible information, the embodiment of human knowledge." [w3.org]

Some of the stuff under question is applications for using information, not information itself, and thus isn't really part of the "web" in that sense. A bunch more - perhaps the majority - neither contains nor uses actual information, except in the information-theoretic sense in which noise has more "information" than signal...

Re:I always thought... (5, Funny)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046177)

Every time you use the phrase "fixed that for you," God makes you look like a tool.

Re:I always thought... (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046231)

Every time you use the phrase "fixed that for you," God makes you look like a tool.

God is not required for that step. :-P

Cheers

Re:I always thought... (0, Offtopic)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046555)

...or any other steps.

Re:I always thought... (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046581)

...or any other steps.

Except for 12 steps -- God (or a reasonable facsimile) is a requirement there. :-P

Cheers

Re:I always thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046407)

> "Every time you use the phrase "fixed that for you," God makes you look like a fool.

There, fixed that for me.

/me off to kill kittens

Re:I always thought... (2, Informative)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045741)

Well I always thought that the computers - and computer networks - networked together were the internet and "the web" was a collection of applications that ran over the internet. Specifically those associated with web browsers. For instance, I don't think most people refer to sending email as using the web.

Re:I always thought... (2, Insightful)

flynt (248848) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045845)

For instance, I don't think most people refer to sending email as using the web.

You must not get out much.

Re:I always thought... (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046439)

The people I deal with have the reverse problem: Internet Explorer* is "The Internet". Outlook (or even worse, OE) is "The Email", which is completely separate from "The Internet". Even if they learn to use a webmail service, they assume that Internet Explorer magically takes them off of "The Internet" and on to "The Email".

If you asked them what "the Web" is, they'd look confused for a minute, then say "oh, that's The Internet."

*And, of course, "The Internet" is disconnected from their computer whenever they close Internet Explorer.

Re:I always thought... (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046021)

"the web" was a collection of applications that ran over the internet.

We have a winner. AJAX applications do not "break the web". They create richer documents and points of interest on the web. You can still link from one HTML application to the next, so the hypertext functionality is not lost.

What *is* a challenge is to find good methods of indexing these richer HTML applications for purposes of searching, indexing, and cataloging. Since these applications can pull and display information in a variety of ways, search engines are presented with a challenge when they treat the application as a simple textual document.

I know it's still the web 'cause it still has porn (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045583)

As long as there is a central place for me to go download my midget porn, the web will live on.

Re:I know it's still the web 'cause it still has p (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046181)

You should have been modded insightful rather than funny because to most people that is what and how the Internet works. Not just porn, but as long as they can go get whatever it is that they like, the Internet is working and they are happy with it. Few users of the Internet think about whether they are on the WWW or the Internet. To them they are the same thing. Some of us remember their first viewing of Mosaic. We remember the Internet before the widespread use of HTML.

As long as we can go online and get the information that we want for free, the Internet will be alive, at least as it is understood to be so by most of it's users. It doesn't matter if that is porn or the latest crap from faux news, or blueprints for the moon lander or thesis papers for last years PhD candidates in robotics theory.

Re:I know it's still the web 'cause it still has p (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046539)

No, everybody knows, the INTERNET is for porn [dailymotion.com] !

it might be more complex now (0, Redundant)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045595)

but one constant remains: pRon!

theres still more porn on the inter tubes than one can shake a stick at

Oh No! (1)

Gription (1006467) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045725)

Just what we need.
More complex porn...

Re:Oh No! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046047)

You mean you'll soon have to at the very least have read the Kama Sutra to even understand what's going on on some of the more adult oriented pages?

Re:Oh No! (4, Funny)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046109)

Complex porn? You mean like porn with things like sqrt(-boobs)?

Re:Oh No! (4, Funny)

lazyDog86 (1191443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046387)

You're going to need some real porn to go with that. As it stands, it's just imaginary.

Re:Oh No! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046687)

Of course, boobs and sqrt(-boobs) are both complex. What distinguishes the two is that boobs is real whereas sqrt(-boobs) is imaginary.

Re:Oh No! (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046697)

If only I had a mod point; the world needs more rude math puns.

Re:it might be more complex now (5, Funny)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046195)

theres still more porn on the inter tubes than one can shake a stick at

When referencing porn, could you PLEASE choose a better expression?

What web? (5, Insightful)

e03179 (578506) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045601)

The point of a Web is to make one, wait for visitors, catch them, and then eat them. It doesn't really matter what the visitor does once it gets in the web. It's just a matter of the spider finishing the deal.

Re:What web? (2, Interesting)

T3Tech (1306739) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045709)

Mod parent up. In that sense, the Web is more true to it's name than it ever was. And there's alot more spiders now.

Re:What web? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046403)

Yeah, it's a Web. Get it?
(12 oz. mouse for non-[Adult Swim] fans)

Good Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24045619)

Are today's stupid questions still 'stupid questions'? Thanks Taco for answering my question with this post!

Fluff or content? (4, Insightful)

thogard (43403) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045635)

You have two options:

1) Pages that provides information
2) Fluff

99.9% of the sites that provide information are static text pages with a bit of html mark up and most of the rest is fluff.

Re:Fluff or content? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046171)

Sad but true. Fluff is pretty much all the "new technologies" are about.

Let's be blunt here. Was it so much "harder" to navigate a page before the advent of Flash? Or did a page offer less information? 99% (at least) of Flash in existance is, as you put it, fluff. I'd call it waste of bandwidth.

What does Flash accomplish? There are basically 3 main applications on "the web" today:

1. To get Ad-Spam past blockers.
2. To hide there's no content between all those glorious special effects (for reference, watch a movie).
3. Games

Basically, there is very little content (aside of information that can only be relayed sensibly through movies) that cannot be done in plain ol' HTML. You can't even tell me that those Flash pages are easier to navigate. First, navigating a webpage was never so hard that you couldn't figure it out in 5 seconds, and second, those 5 seconds are wasted on a Flash page with the time it takes to load the crap.

Re:Fluff or content? (2, Insightful)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046759)

So you're saying that Slashdot is fluff?

Depends... (3, Insightful)

TheRedSeven (1234758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045643)

From a technical perspective, one that is concerned with transfer protocols and knows what "http" "CSS" "ISP" and "FTP" stand for and why it matters, I suppose that the current uses of our series of tubes no longer fits that rudimentary definition of The Web.

From my mother's perspective, my boss's perspective, and 90% of people who are not concerned about the actual way data is transferred, it will be The Web until something supplants it on a wholesale basis. It doesn't matter if they think they're Surfing, Instant Messaging, FTPing, AJAXing, or .Com-ing, so far as they know, they're using the web. (Don't SMSs travel on teh internets?)

So it depends. Given our forum, yes, the web is probably not the same as it was. For the majority, they don't know the difference.

So the question is, could we continue to have this interoperability if we more frequently used different protocols, technologies, and backbones for different uses? (eg. if we took AJAX/online apps off the "Web" and put them on their own infrastructure to keep the "Web" fully indexable/searchable)

Re:Depends... (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046729)

For the majority, they don't know the difference.

I think that sentiment can be applied to just about anything these days...

It works, doesn't it? (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045665)

This reminds me of what I started doing AI and we spent ages fussing over the definition of "intelligence".

I asked my dad, who is an engineer, about it and he said: "who cares as long as it's doing something useful."

I know, I know, we might get better leverage from new apps with a big paradigm shift and massive restructuring, but as long as what we're using still fulfills requirements, there needs to be a very strong argument for messing with it.

The argument is that it DOESN'T work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046391)

The argument (from the OP, I didn't RTFA) seems to be that the web DOESN'T work.

Essentially, the OP is making a case which amounts to "well, we already accidentally killed a few flies, and flies were never perfect at digesting our trash anyway, so let's just wipe out all the insects and build a better kind of insect."

Dumb question... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045691)

The web is an abstract term to describe the general topology of interconnected connected computers. It has nothing to do with interfaces, etc. This would be like asking is the internet still the internet now that most of it's users don't use lynx and gopher. It's a ridiculous statement.

The web is merely a platform, what companies and software developers come up with to deliver what people and/or their customers want, is up to them.

How is it different from the real world, the real world is a 'web' if you think about it, a bunch of interconnecting roads and transportation lines (trains, etc), although people don't think of it that way, it is essentially a network, a platform for serving needs and solving problems.

Re:Dumb question... (4, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046225)

The web is an interconnected collection of documents. You're confusing the web with the internet.

The web is being destroyed because it's being monetized. To monetize something is to assert control over it, then exploit that control. This is the antithesis of what made the web powerful in the first place.

Hell, look at Google. "Organize the worlds information" was a very lofty goal. What did they do once they got there? They sell the right to lead users away from the information they're looking for towards professionally written propaganda, and they're given a disgusting amount of power and influence as a reward.

As far as I'm concerned, the promise of the web died when we decided there wasn't anything wrong with giving citizens dynamic IPs that they can't use to self-publish and selling those IPs to large corporate interests.

Big Money wanted the Internet to be a Television, and lazy short-sighted sheep rolled over and let it happen. It's old news, and discussing the technical particulars this late in the game is kind of irrelevant.

Yes (1, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045693)

It's still the web. So you're receiving something a little more sophisticated than just text and gif images. Big deal. No need to get excited and try to invent new terminology. As for clients not evolving fast enough. Uh, welcome to the real world where not everything conforms to your view of perfection.

Since this is an article with somebody complaining, that would seem to be prima facie evidence that it's still the same ol' web.

More mainstream... more useless.. (5, Insightful)

brxndxn (461473) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045705)

The more mainstream the web becomes, the more bullshit we have to sort through... the more useless it becomes. There used to be a banner ad. Now there's a banner, links on the left, links on the right, popups, flash over the actual text, sound, video, and 10x as many pages all with the same shit to click through just to get the same content. And, we're already hearing about ISPs adding their own shit to our shitty internet experience.

It doesn't make any fucking sense that an article that could be entirely scrolled through takes 27 clicks to read.. It doesn't make any fucking sense that clicking 'yes' one time on the wrong thing can allow malicious software to install itself (that is your fault, microsoft). It doesn't make any fucking sense that our own damn web clients allow the developer to disable right-click on a page. It doesn't make any fucking sense that I have to watch a 30-second advertisement to watch a 10-second video clip.

The web is quickly turning into television - a bunch of stupid avertisements created by stupid people geared for stupid consumers. The web is still way better than anything else we got.

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (1)

2short (466733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045951)

Yes, I've noticed that I find the web much less useful than I did in the mid nineties.... Oh, wait...

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046211)

The web is quickly turning into television - a bunch of stupid avertisements created by stupid people geared for stupid consumers.

And we like it that way!

The web is still way better than anything else we got.

To continue your metaphor, there's more channels than cable and satellite put together, so the odds are better that something somewhere is worth watching.

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046273)

The more mainstream the web becomes, the more bullshit we have to sort through... the more useless it becomes. There used to be a banner ad. Now there's a banner, links on the left, links on the right, popups, flash over the actual text, sound, video, and 10x as many pages all with the same shit to click through just to get the same content.

Actually, I think my experience now is better than it was in the 90's. I no longer experience ads that shout or play loud music at me, I don't have flyover adds blocking my content, I don't have have to ignore the flashing monkey I'm supposed to click on, etc.

Of course, I had to go through the minimal effort of choosing a browser and plugins that let me discard all the crap I don't want to see, but I think that's something that anybody could do with a short list of instructions nowadays.

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (1)

MilesAttacca (1016569) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046481)

This is a minimal effort for you, but a lot of people aren't very well-informed. They might not know how to find out how to block such things; they might not know that blocking them is even possible; and hell, they might not even know that they should care. Even if they do care somewhat, it may not seem worth their time to go to the trouble to set up blacklists when they can just tune out all but the worst intrusions upon their browsing experience.

And that, my friends, is why adblocking and flash-disabling and noscripting are still just niches and why companies feel they can get away with it -- the amount of resistance is so minimal as to not even be irritating.

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (2, Funny)

a-zarkon! (1030790) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046325)

Plaintext ASCII. I don't see the need for anything more than courier and perhaps bold/italic/underline for emphasis. Bring back Gopher!

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046347)

The more mainstream something becomes, the more useless it becomes. That's not a new development. Take whatever technology and look at the difference before and after the invasion of the idiots.

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046657)

Links on the left!
Links on the right!
Web ads! Popups!
Blight! Blight! Blight!

Re:More mainstream... more useless.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046691)

It's called sound to noise ratio. And it was the deal when Radio became main stream, when TV became main stream, when amateur radios were being built by companies and not individuals, and when every single "indie" punk band "sells out".

It's not useless, it's just not the same tight fraternity with elite status anymore.

I started using the net (pre-web) in the late 80's, and believe it is getting where it was intended to go at the time. (Those that were using it at earlier times would disagree.) You need more people to get more content, and with more people you get more noise. Sometimes the noise is utter bullshit, and sometimes it's just entirely irrelevant. But there's more useful stuff too.

As to the original question of "is it the web?" Well, if it runs on port 80, it uses the HTTP protocol, and it is viewable in a "web" browser, then yes, by my definition, it's the web. It won't render well in Netscape 0.9, but so what? For all "back in my day..." there are a lot of people that pre-date you. It's called getting older. Wanna hear the story of how I found the first white nostril hair in my nose the other day? ;-)

google (2, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045737)

In the sites I visit, it's still pretty rare to see content presented in flash that would more appropriately be presented in html. I assume this is because people want to get indexed by google and have a high page rank, and they know they won't get indexed if it's in flash. If that's the case, then it's actually a bad thing that google is going to start indexing flash content.

As far as silverlight, what are the chances that it will succeed? I'm optimistic that it will fail. Although Windows has a high market share, especially in the US, IE doesn't have anywhere near that market share. There are entire countries in Europe where Firefox is the majority browser. I don't see how any web developer could commit themselves to silverlight when it means locking out so many users.

Re:google (0)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045881)

Hmm? WPF's XBAP was IE only (now works on Firefox, though still Windows only), and is made mostly for actual applications/software without requiring an explicit installer. Thats the closest thing I can think of that you may be refering to, since it shares a common architecture with Silverlight 2.0.

Silverlight however, is NOT exclusive to IE, the official version also works on Macs, and there's a Linux version too, that will all be available when Silverlight 2.0 hits the market (Silverlight 1 is Windows and Mac only, but it barely counts, it is such a pathetic technology. 2 is where its at).

So I'm not sure why you're talking about IE's market share when talking about silverlight.

Re:google (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046739)

(Silverlight 1 is Windows and Mac only, but it barely counts, it is such a pathetic technology. 2 is where its at).

If we follow the Microsoft (and Netscape) paradigm:

1.0 is useless
2.0 is a little less useless, but still pretty bad
3.0 is pretty darn good
4.0 is overly bloated because no one can leave a good thing alone
5.0 removes most of the problems introduced in 4.0
6.0 is all bloated again (see 4.0)

What? Who cares? (0, Troll)

DJ Jones (997846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045751)

Everyone on this website is now dumber for having read that summary. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

Seriously...

No, it's the Web 2.0 (3, Funny)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045809)

That is, with 238% more lolcats, buttsecks, and social networking sites

Re:No, it's the Web 2.0 (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046233)

That is, with 238% more lolcats, buttsecks, and social networking sites

O RLY? :<>

The Internet is no longer Technical, It's Cultural (1, Insightful)

Quantus347 (1220456) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045835)

The basic idea of the the internet is connections. It was originally just computers connected, and so the web they carried was computer oriented communication, sharing and growth.

Now, its connecting people, and when you offer a new means of connecting people, especially one as broad and global as the Internet, then it will become as diverse as the people involved.

If you dont think so, think about the differences between the stereotype programmer, vs the Corperate Cog with his Blackberry, vs the average WoW-head, vs a MySpacer, vs the Goons, vs We here at Slashdot. We are all widely different, but we are all sharing the same common forum: The Net

No, it's... (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045855)

The "W3B," dude.

Infrastructure (1)

2short (466733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045909)

"...should we be shoehorning these apps into the Web's infrastructure..."

You might as well ask if we should be shoehorning data communications into lines laid for analog phones and TV.

Is the web a quirky, limiting platform for app development? Sure. If you want a platform where as many people have and are comfortable with the client software is there an alternative? Nope.

Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (2, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045919)

Acoustic and electric guitars are fundamentally different, but an electric guitar is still a guitar to a guitarist. Seems to me that we're in the electric guitar age of the web now.

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046311)

And the next will be what, the Guitar Hero age of the web? We're doomed.

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046401)

I think the comparison is fitting.

Instead of a thing that you had to play with a hint of skill to sound at least decent, you now have a thing that every moron can get some sort of ok sounding something out of. Of course, you need a lot more than just the thing, you need some amplifyer, some revib, some other thingamajig and a lot of electrical power, but hey, every moron can use it!

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (3, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046617)

I don't agree. I am a moron who cannot get anything ok-sounding to come out of an electric guitar.

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046631)

With lots of distortion.

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046701)

there is less difference between electric and acoustic guitars than many think. the only real differenece is that most electric guitars have a solid body and all of them have some kind of a pickup.

Re:Is an electric guitar still a guitar? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046773)

Acoustic and electric guitars are fundamentally different, but an electric guitar is still a guitar to a guitarist.

Apparently we don't know the same guitarists.

Presentation over content (1)

Kingston (1256054) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045975)

It was the commercialization of the web, that happened early in its history, that drove the importance of presentation over content. Technologies like Flash and Silverlight fit in well with the corporate desire to present a slick image to the public. Old style information based sites stated to look out of place. Adding flash and tweaking CSS doesn't usually add much to the users value of a site but for corporate marketing, it's essential.

1 link? (4, Insightful)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#24045981)

When did we ever just have 1 link between 2 points? It's always been complex, unsettled, and a bit anarchistic. This is just the newest facet of it.

The change in the internet is continuous. This is not something different, this is the way it always has been.

Re:1 link? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046795)

BBS days? I use to game by calling my friends computer and play DOOM head-2-head.

it's now "da wacky wacky webbiepoo" (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046005)

while the functionality (see any ads for a Gopher maintainer lately?) and access topology (the original Arpanet was by definition not commercial) have changed radically, the core definition is still valid. put a smiley behind www if you have to, but Your Connected Internet has grown up, and is chasing the almighty dollar like the rest of us.

Series of tubes (1)

Pincus (744497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046019)

The web, since going mainstream, has never been as open as article suggests. There have always been the few who could access the source and understand it, just as now there are those who can some Flash and manipulate. I suppose that knowledge barrier was once more easily overcome, but increasing complexity is the nature of society. The web is just the transfer of information from many to many.

Is it still the web... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046033)

if a peer cannot share files with another peer?

What defines the Web? (1)

intx13 (808988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046069)

The question is really "what defines the Web?". If the Web is just any system of transport and file protocols over the Internet that allows for easy indexing and cross-server linking, then sure, what we have today is still the Web. Personally, I'd like to see a major change in the Web - forget HTML, forget CSS, I want a real client-server approach. I think that so long as the protocols are easy to use (or at least scalable - the average 14 year old OMGPONIES girl needs to be able to throw together a site, but not at the expense of "Enterprise" sites) and it supports cross-server linking and indexing, then the average person will still identify it as the Web.

From an abstract viewpoint, how different is the modern Web from a bunch of remote X11 clients that can link to one another - XHTML, PHP, Javascript make a complex programming system with a myriad of frameworks, tools, and interfaces - much like the state of X11 and wrapping toolkits on the desktop! It's time to stop extending Tim Berners-Lee's first attempt at the Web; now that we know what we want and where the Web is going, let's come up with some real tools to do it and dump the HTML/Javascript mess.

Strew man (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046077)

Redefine "the world wide web" to your own private definition that nobody has defined it as before, and then claim it's dead?

Got news for you sparky, the web ain't dead.

Yes. (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046103)

Is it still the Web if[...]

Yes. All the "problems" you mention derive solely from your preconceived notions about what "the web" means.

Directness of navigation, indexing, searching, and browser compatibility have nothing to do with "complies with HTTP".

Now, in the last case (only certain clients or devices work), you can say that something using port 80 for non-HTTP traffic doesn't count as "the web"... But that seems like complaining that your PC doesn't run your favorite games when you use it as a boat anchor.



Such questions bely a much bigger question for Web developers

Well, yes and no. Web developers may need to ask themselves whether they want to write standards-compatible web pages, or arbitrary network-enabled apps (which would, IMO, make them no longer "web developers"). But beyond that... Nothing to see here, move along. If you eat an orange, don't complain that it doesn't taste like an apple.

By that definition, the Web ended 15 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046155)

As soon as POST forms were put into use, you stopped being able to access any page from any other page.

Pointless pontification (4, Insightful)

exley (221867) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046189)

Does this really matter at all? For anything?

Re:Pointless pontification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046551)

Does this really matter at all? For anything?

Does Slashdot?

Re:Pointless pontification (3, Insightful)

raddan (519638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046763)

If you're a computer scientist, the difference between physical, logical, and semantic relationships is very important. Network = physical relationship; Internet = logical relationship; The Web = semantic relationship. And like any dichotomy, there are places where these distinctions are inadequate-- that's where the science part comes in-- figuring out how to make our conceptualization match the real world.

This reminds me of a quote:

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.
-- Alfred North Whitehead

If you don't care about these distinctions, don't be a computer scientist. Those of us who care about making computation easier, faster, and more useful should pay attention. Sometimes the niggling little details you don't care about are the key to understanding all of it.

Slashdot, you answered that in your post! (1)

MikeV (7307) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046221)

If you're implying that the web is an entity by which you can go to point B from point A, in your very post, you've answered your question of "is the web the same or entirely (not partially) different."

Okay, for those who missed the answer in the very post or are too lazy to scroll up and read it again - there are two links in it. Yep - going from point A to point B.

In fact, I have thousands of bookmarks directly to articles, products and whatnot - yep, they still work. I have found only a few - relative to the amount of sites I visit - a few sites that don't have this linkability.

So - the answer to the last question would be no - it's not "something entirely different." The web is still the web.

Flash and Silverdark may intrude, but they're certainly not going to remake the face of the web. And especially since Google will soon be able to crawl Flash - linkability could be applied to Flash. Perhaps Silverfart will follow.

Higher Maths (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24046267)

Hmm... an interconnected system based on mathematical algorithms designed to transfer information... ...The Matrix?

It's stil theWeb. (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046291)

Now it's the Web plus plastic.

Remember Java applets? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046339)

Bogus article. Adobe must have made a big PR push to get so much attention paid to their indexing tool for Flash. Google has been indexing .swf files for most of a year.

As for "Web 2.0" adding execution capability, Java applets have been doing that for years. They work pretty well, and most browsers can run them. Most of the unpopularity of Java applets seems to stem from the fact that most of them look ugly, but that's not an inherent problem with applets. (Sun just has no clue about fonts.)

The big win with Flash is that it standardized video formats. There's a lot less of "download our annoying proprietary player to play this video." That's really YouTube's doing. Real has taken a big hit over this, and it's cutting into Microsoft's player. Today, if something starts downloading a codec, you probably hit "Cancel".

Re:Remember Java applets? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046579)

in all fairness, flash is also an annoyingly proprietary codec.

The difference though is it's supported on pretty much all OSS platforms (if mozilla/firefox will install, then the plugin will run).

The medium is the message (1)

wilsoniya (902930) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046355)

The fact that the WWW exists on a two-way network is its fundamental distinction from traditional one-way media. To say that the web today is no longer 'The Web' due to the introduction of more complex or proprietary content platforms is incorrect so long as the original mechanics (i.e. http and html) are still available and in use.

I'm not disputing that many would like to see the net put to use as another TV-like consumption platform through closed, proprietary, uncrawlable means. However, the myriad sites that enable and thrive on the participatory features of the web are considerable. The fact that it's so damn easy for even the average joe to make web pages these days (even if they are myspace pages) makes the current web more like 'The Web' than the TB-L web.

I thought TFA read like a rant by somebody mad AJAX and Flash (or Silverlight or whatever) exist because they are tough to index. Here's an idea: if we got rid of the web, it would be much easier to index the web!!

Re:The medium is the message (1)

phobos13013 (813040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046731)

Good Point! Marshall is that you?

Stepping down to your "one-way" metaphor as an example. Originally TV was broadcast over the air as-is by forcing it with high wattage. Now it is transmitted through wiring that allows one to access it with interfaces that change content delivery, etc. It certainly makes it harder to index cable television compared to a fixed content schedule, but it is still done. Also, I dont think anyone would say its no longer TV, its just not your parents TV.

still the web (2, Interesting)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046357)

I suppose you'd like to only visit sites coded in HTML?

I can still directly navigate, what's he smoking? (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046359)

I can still type in an ip address with directory trees or a direct URL for a piece of content and 99% of the time i'll get what i was looking for.

Sure macromedia has made the spidering on flash video's an annoying freakin whore to get to, but if your client doesn't blow you can still get the direct link to the raw flash (FLV extension) through it's version of safari's "activity" window.

I can still load NTTP, and the technology still does a reasonable job of routing around censorship if you're savvy enough with tech to program the "off timer" on your TV.

This is yet another scare-mongering or "omg the good ol' days are gone" story.

When last I checked there were still people composing jazz, there are still people writing comic books, there are still sports cars and after-market parts that will let you make a hot-rod (or people who will do it for you), they still sell model M keyboards, and the internet is still there.

Things change, and usually the "old model" doesn't go away if it has any merit, but the evolution continues, expanding choice (unless the MAFIAA makes it illegal, in which case someone needs to be shot).

Case and point, the jitterbug [jitterbug.com] phone is available to people who don't want the bloat, complexity, and OMGKITCHENSINK they throw into today's phones (15 menus to start dialing, oh I wonder why the vehicular collision rate among users is so high!).

inappropriate question? (1)

jmhoule314 (921571) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046361)

>> is the web still the web?

Are you still the same person after you get a haircut, tattoo, piercing, lobotomy(too far?)? My point is that every major technology, especially technologies that gain widespread acceptance are constantly being modified or used for other purposes than originally intended. Was electricity originally intended to power telephones, dishwashers, mars rovers? No,no, and no. At the inception of any new technology the best its creator or the general public can wish for is that the technology is used in creative and novel ways.

Aside from that, although the editing and creation aspect of wikipedia relies on technologies which may not be considered the web, the viewing of wikipedia is almost the definition of the original web(all indexed static pages). Wikipedia alone I think is enough to maintain the original web structure to the age of 50 before replacement.

Not that any of this is particularly meaningful, since the article summary is, 'Is the web still the web' and the article title itself is, 'do new web tools spell doom for the browser'

likewise - SharePoint == web accessible?? (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046365)

...or is it actually designed to break the open web in the cause of Microsoft lock-in?

The "web" (0)

neokushan (932374) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046413)

I remember when I was a wee lad, I used to think that "the world wide web" and the internet were the same thing. I didn't realise for years that the internet refers to an internationally connected network of computers and the web simply refers to sites linking from one to another.

It's more about sociology than data. (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046595)

If it can't be archived, is it still web? Perhaps that's the main question that should be asked. So perhaps it's not a static web of hyperlinks and content anymore, but a dynamic web of everchanging content. But HTTP still defines the means for us to find content that has moved.

Now, what about user generated content? How about Youtube videos that were removed by some greedy corporation? The inclusion of video and audio in web content is definitely changing the web - content is no longer text-only.

And this brings into the map, the "semantic web" and the recent news that Adobe gave search giants the mean to index Flash content. Perhaps in a few years we'll be able to extract text from audio, and maybe later we will have textual descriptions of video elements in a scene. And who knows if there will be a revolutionary music compression method which will replace MIDI music - but with MP3 quality?

The web may have been thought as static, but it's not. To paraphrase Hannibal Lecter, "it's refining its methods. It's evolving". The web is no longer about simple information. It's becoming a part of our society, as we can see in internet cults, internet political campaigns, news containing uploaded user videos, internet video memes (Rick rolling), cyberbulling, etc.

As part of society, the web is subject to experience dramatic changes. Maybe one day we will find ourselves navigating in the Matrix, or submerge ourselves in dot hack's "The world".

Perhaps this is the true meaning of "web 2.0": The Web and Society merging into a third entity. I'm beginning to believe that the movie "Ghost in the Shell" had more truth in it than we originally thought.

What's in a name? (2, Insightful)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046653)

Web, Internet, Web 2.0 whatever. Nobody fathomed what it would become when it first started and its hard to predict what it will evolve into.

Violation of principles? (1)

deathbeforedishes (710515) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046707)

I'm sure Sir Tim would agree: with the web, it's far better to have violated its principles than to have violated its principals.

Neil McAllister must be new here.... (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046751)

Is [the Web] still the Web if you can't navigate directly to specific content?

That's why web documents have internal hyperlinks ... and have since Berners-Lee's original ENQUIRE prototype.

Is it still the Web if the content can't be indexed and searched?

The Web (1980) predates the first search engine (Archie in 1990, Wandex in 1993) by at least a decade.

Is it still the Web if you can only view the application on certain clients or devices?

What, like a web-browser? Remember, a browser is a "certain [class of] clients": though they are ubiquitous now, they weren't always.

Is it still the Web if you can't view source?

Viewing source code has never been the primary interest of most users.

In short, it sounds like the author is saying "ZOMG! The Web has changed." Well, guess what, bucky--the Web (and computers in general) changes every single day. Old technologies give way to newer ones--sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing, but it happens.

HTTP (1)

djwavelength (398555) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046767)

I still use hypertext transfer protocol to access this stuff. Looks like the web to me.

Back in my day (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#24046781)

We had text only and liked it, now get off my lawn!
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