Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
Over on my personal blog I’ve started a new semi-regular series called Fixing the Web. From Part I of the series:
I propose some starting ways to address this and fix things:
To start, I see four areas that are broken that must be fixed:
1) Make developing for the web much easier and more powerful. There are gaping holes in the web that need to be fixed. Examples include:
* Layout – layout needs to be _much_ easier. We need real, kick-ass, drop dead simple layout. You shouldn’t have to be a CSS wizard to get multiple columns, for example.
* Bling – Browser’s need much better native multimedia support, real vector graphics, and _fast_ (really fast) animation
* Tooling – We need much better open web tooling support, such as IDEs.
2) Solve the standards problem. The web standards process is broken. There is a real disconnect between developers needs and the W3C’s standard setting process, creating a dangerous power and leadership vacuum. We need to come up with better mechanisms for creating standards, as well as organizations that can help manage them.
3) Solve the distribution problem. Both Gears and Yahoo BrowserPlus are attempting to address this area. There is just a sheer mass of inertia on the web. It doesn’t matter if you have the most amazing standards, developer tools, etc. if they aren’t in enough places to do anything. This problem can also be re-framed as ‘Solve the Internet Explorer problem’, because the other browsers are pretty damned good at getting things out there — IE is the mass that blocks any positive forward web progress. IE 8 is a start, but at the end of the day it’s not doing enough. This is also linked to how hard it is to do web development, since you have to be a wizard to know the potholes or do crazy workarounds.
4) Solve the innovation problem — There is a saying in politics that you create ideas so that you can draw on them when there is a crises, such as we are seeing now. Much of the innovation on the web has surprisingly happened by Flash, with some by Silverlight lately — when we get excited about being able to do video on the web, which is great, that’s a pretty sad indictment of the open web ‘owning’ the future. We’ve got to have better mechanisms for stamping out potential futures and innovation that can then compete, the successful ones turning into standards. Mozilla has done a good job of this with the web “concept cars” type work they’ve been doing.
What do you see as the major areas we need to address? Expect to see the issues above, and others, discussed in future blog posts in this series.
Posted by Brad Neuberg at 8:30 am