A whole new internet

I love the optimism in Janice Fraser’s latest essay for Adaptive Path: It’s a Whole New Internet. Normally, an article similar to this would have just been another link. I guess this one deserved more. Janice captures a lot of the enthusiasm and energy building up around a new connected experience.

I happen to think it’s a little more than just Ajax though. Technologies are ripening everywhere. A culmination of lots of ingenuity at once. One small quote from the essay might be the key:

“Invention inspires invention.”

Embrace what’s happening around you. Contribute something of your own. And heed her words:

“Things are about to change in a very big way.”


  1. Jeroen Mulder jeroenmulder.com/

    It’s great you give her article a bit more exposure. The first time I read it I didn’t feel much from it, but I realized that I have been saying exactly the same thing to people.

    Things are changing and I love it. I never actively was a part of the first up (so to say) of the internet, but I am liking what I am seeing. A lot.

  2. Ryan Nichols apples-to-oranges.com

    I agree as well. We are all feeling it in some way. Just yesterday I posted about how things are changing and we’re seeing a lot of innovation come from the bottom up.

    Janice hit on her point really well. There’s change happening on multiple levels. How we interact online, the technology we are using, and how products and ideas are being developed.

    Fun times :)

  3. beto betobeto.com

    Welcome to the Wild Wide Web, v2.0.

    I prefer to call it “the phoenix rise from the dotcom ashes”… After the crash-and-burn sector crisis of 2000-2004, lessons were learned (often the hard way), a lot of deep rethinking and research ensued, and it is now when we are finally sowing the first fruits of this long process, in the form of matured programming approaches, a real sense of community, and a refreshing approach to web applications and interactivity (Ajax, ROR, etc), while aiming to do the right thing at all times (webstandards).

    Some have feared this new wave of optimism would head us into a new bubble of sorts, but I don’t think so. For me, it rather feels like we are finally on the right track.

  4. Jonathan Fenocchi cmmwebdesign.com/

    Amen! A friend of mine and myself are currently working on a project that we think will be a big success. Originality isn’t the number one goal anymore. It’s all about how you use existing ideas in an innovative way.

  5. AkaXakA akaxaka.gameover.com

    The biggest change I feel is that webhype is moving from idea’s to actual usefull sites that do stuff. Both on the technology side and actual ‘user’ side (e.g. respectively Ruby on Rails and Google Maps/Gmail).

    And that’s a pretty fundamental – good – thing to have happend.

  6. Randy

    I saw Backpack today at the Building of Basecamp workshop and I’ve never been so excited about about a web app. 37s rocked this one.

  7. Anthony abosio.com

    The end of that article gave me goose bumps the first few times I read it. It is a anxious and inspiring time on the web right now. The potential seems almost overwhelming again.

  8. Mike

    Does anybody remember HalfBrain? They were doing this (or something very similar) way back in 1999. They built a similar (same?) web messaging framework using HTML/Javascript called BrainMatter. Communication with the web server was managed by a hidden frame which would update the UI using the DOM. The result was no more page refreshes for every request/response – to the user it was as if they were running a full fledged client application. They had a few slick demo apps, but it looks like they’re long gone now. Who knows maybe some of them ended up at google.

  9. paul

    it looks like they’re long gone now. Who knows maybe some of them ended up at google.

    A number actually ended up at Yahoo with the acquistion of Oddpost.

  10. Patrick Taylor

    Regarding AJAX… “Called Ajax, this approach removes the redraw-refresh paradigm for interacting with web applications.”

    I followed many of the AJAX-related links and did some reading. Not that I’ve properly grasped it yet, but with the increasing penetration of broadband and the myriad of efficiency improvements that can be done with PHP (easier to write than pesky JavaScript) – not to mention accessibility considerations, separation of style from content, etc – I’m not sure I see the justification for “the firestorm of excitement…”

    If things are happening (and I agree – there is a ‘feelgood factor’ around), it’s more likely a result of what is being done at server level rather than client.

  11. Chris Johnson

    I just like seeing techniques such as this get more attention. I’ve seen considerable activity in various web app techniques using xmlRequest. In my case it was XUL that really got me excited about the future of the web.

  12. Adam adamfellowes.com

    Now what needs to change is the way in which business success is calculated. Unfortunately these new application scare the hell out of commercial business with the loss of their all important page impressions.

    Has there been any discussion of how to do incorporate these splendid techniques into current measurement methods? or is the commercial sector going to have to catch up with what seems to be the obvious way to go?

  13. Ed

    Has there been a point in the past 10 years when the web wasn’t changing? :}

  14. Adam adamfellowes.com

    I supposed not Ed, the problem which may occur is that large commercial business who have been struggling to decide upon the best, most reliable and accountable way to measure user numbers, page impressions and CTR’s will take time to come to terms with this ‘new web’.

    These new delivery methods will undoubtedly improve their customers service, providing a better customer experience, however changing the way in which success is measured will be quite a struggle.

  15. 8 thick

    Regarding measuring, and PHP vs Javascript.

    1) AJAX still makes requests to the server (WHICH ARE WHAT IS MEASURED) so your question has been answered. No changes are needed to properly measure traffic.

    2) For the guy comparing PHP to Javascript, and going on about stuff happening on the server…umm, you don’t get it. No offense, but AJAX isn’t hard to understand, and has been around for a while–but let’s refresh (no pun intended.)

    Instead of having to REFRESH the browser for every server request, AJAX, uses JavaScript to make the server call, handle the response, and then REWRITE a PORTION of the page, without refreshing the browser. This is driving a lot of the EXCITING features of google maps, gmail, basecamp, etc. ad nauseum. This is what made Flash RIAs all the rage for their fifteen minutes of fame until sane people realized that Flash sucks.

    There are indeed interesting things happening on the server side too, but when you compare PHP to “pesky” Javascript, you deserve to get flamed as the former is a server side language and the latter is a client side language thus comparing them is like comparing Postscript to CSS.

    The MOST exciting thing about 2.0 is that those of us that had to deal with the influx of dimwits during 1.0 now get to go through all of it again. Cool, I can’t wait until Adobe Dreamweaver comes out with built in AJAX support and clients want web applications for $499.

    Maybe 3.0 can filter out the NOISE.

  16. Ed

    Adam, I think you missed the point of my comment. Obviously, the benefits of AJAX are numerous, but I’ve been doing this long enough to chuckle every time I hear someone say “This is it… the Internet changes NOW. No wait… now. Hold on… uh, NOW.”

    As if (starting way back in 1994 when displaying images on a web page was fairly new), that animated GIFs, Javascript, Shockwave, Quicktime, Flash, ASP, PHP, PDAs, WAPs, DOM, CSS, XHTML, and RSS weren’t significant changes at the time.

    The web is constantly evolving, so saying that everything changes from this point forward is redundant. It’s changed since that statement was uttered. That’s the beauty of this medium.

    I welcome the challenge of adopting this new methodology where applicable… and look forward to the next one.

  17. Nathan Smith sonspring.com/

    I second what has been said by many here, that we all feel this big change on the horizon. I was thinking about what to write here, and how to sum up my thoughts on the subject. I think what it all boils down to is that knowledge is being more widely shared than in the earlier days of the ‘net.

    The attitude with which people share information has also shifted. Gone are the days of browsers warring over custom display tags / functions. Now browsers compete to be the most standards-compliant (with the exception of IE).

    I think that open-source is what it helping to change the face of the internet for the better. Between Apple making the switch to UNIX and Firefox eating away at IE’s dominance of PC users, much has already happened. Add to that the fact that the majority of web-servers run on some form of LAMP, and it’s easy to see that tight-fisted companies are being passed over in favor of those that are more open-minded.

    I agree with what has been said in the previous comments, that one cannot single out a particular point at which the web jumped forward, but that it has been gradually evolving. Here’s to hoping that by being open-minded and sharing ideas, we can help accelerate this change.

  18. P.J. Onori somerandomdude.net

    As someone who does a lot of development in the Flash environment, I read the article and quickly was met with excitement because AJAX, from my still very ignorant point of view, seems to have many facets that I have come to enjoy about Flash but all set in an environment that is obviously the best for the web.

    Very interesting topic and one that I’ll be reading through for quite a while.

  19. ..ak

    As a web developer, I yawned.

    As a business consultant it started to put my thoughts down on paper. Most of my clients don’t notice the impact, capabilities, and possibilities of these innovations. Not only is the technology new(er) but a new generation of users with 8+ years of the internet are entering the market.

    The article is a step in the right direction. Now it’s up to us to adapt that message to your business. How will AJAX improve what you offer? Can a social network work for (instead of against) your company? So on and so forth…

  20. Martin extensions.pndesign.cz

    Invention inspires invention… it’s true.

  21. carl

    The article read like marketing buzz to me. So it’s a whole new internet, eh? Things are changing? Duh. Things have been changing and evolving since the internet began. Thats what technology and innovation is all about.

    I love how Adaptive Path has sorta hijacked “AJAX” and writes these articles promoting it as if they were the ones that invented it. Great marketing ploy.

  22. Tony more-solutions.net

    It is clear that Ajax is going to be more prevalent as we move on. I’ve already incorporated it into my applications as value-added improvements. It surely won’t replace standard design & actions (mainly because of compatibility, disabling JavaScript, etc.). However, it will definitely have its place.

  23. Kim radiookapi.net

    The article somewhat disappointed me, expecially when the author quotes a programmer that is astounded by an “Ajax upload module”. Of course this guy’s impressed, it’s a geek thing.

    Personnally, switching from table to div, was a much more bigger step for mankind, or at least for my users. :)

    On another note. Concerning Absolute Path’s Webby Nomination for Reliefweb, I will simply say that it’s disapointment. As a United Nations staff working on Internet projects in Africa, and a user of Reliefweb, the website rehaul that took two years and two companies is an improvement but not a worthy nomination. I think it only got nominated because of Adaptive Path’s hype!

    It’s marketing, just like the Janice’s article.

  24. Zachary Blume emptysnow.com

    @Tony: I think this change we’re all talking about is maybe even bigger than some of us thought. “Web pages” and “Web applications” are becomming less and less of different terms. Disabled javascript may become a thing of the past if the new IE kicks it up a notch in the world of Javascript Security…I mean, look at this. Now what would the Web Page version have been like? In fact, would Jeremy have even thought of that particular set up without Ajax? That seems like the blur of Web Page and Web Application to me. The content of a web page, with the functionality of a web application. Quick fast, and really cool spinning arrows that look like the pictures on recycling bins. If that doesn’t look like a big improvement to you, then your really out of it.

    I can’t beleive I wrote that last part.

    Anyway, back on subject. The whole 13% Javascript Disabled thing is really getting on my nerves, because now I have to make the web page(or is it Web App.?) in simple HTML/PHP(Or Ruby or CGI or whatever server-side language you use) as well as the Javascript fetcher page. I was thinking about having my entire website fit into one page untill I thought of that. Who would of thought of that one or two years ago? My entire website in one page; “entire website” as in Journal, links, picture galleries, about pages, experements, and contact page. Okay; one page + CSS + Javascript.

    I think I am just giving a practical angle of what Janice wrote.

  25. Petr Krontorad whoa-framework.org

    concerning the “Ajax”, take a look at the following: http://www.whoa-framework.org/?/product/bender

    These are functional desktop-like applications written in O-O js framework with native support for internationalization using xml dictionaries for locale and gui widgets definition (sort of like XUL). Currently working with both IE and Gecko browsers (Safari might be supported soon). The framework API covers most of the tedious tasks regarding writing such applications, you basically need to focus on creating event listeners only – _very_ similar to writing desktop applications, hence development is very easy.

  26. This is so unbelievably cool article. Thank you very much for it.

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