Monday, December 31st, 2007

Matt Webb on the Web 2007 Wrapup on the Web

Category: Editorial

Ah the end of the year, the time to write top ten lists and predictions. I am not going to go this here. We do that enough in our State of Ajax talks.

What I will do though, is the digital version of something I dislike. As an experiment, I used a “highlighter” on Matt Webb’s piece on wrapping up 2007, which is a fantastic (and long) flow of consciousness that manages to say everything and nothing.

Here are the yellow bits as I saw them:

So what does phenotropics mean for the Web? Firstly it means that our browsers should become pattern recognition machines. They should look at the structure of every page they render, and develop artificial proteins to bind to common features.

While browsers look for patterns inside pages, search engines would look for inter-page, structural features

I have a feeling that refactoring code is not a good thing. I am not in favour of deleting code. If there are problems with code the way it is written, there should be mechanisms to code over it gradually, and leave the old code there.

A codebase should be its own source repository: seeing what the code was like a year ago shouldn’t be a check-out from source control, but archeology.

What the Magna Carta did – or rather, what the process that the Magna Carta was part of did – was turn the king into a thing. The thing-king is the king revealed. The important feature of the document isn’t the constraints put on the king, but rather the fact that it is possible to bind to the king at all.

This means we’ll have metamarkets, in the end. Mini free markets captured and tuned to perform particular tasks, inside a society we can’t currently grasp, just as China held Hong Kong in a bubble to propel it into orbit, and the Large Hadron Collider intends to create new zones of particular kinds of physics in order to perform scientific experiments.

I want to think about social software in reverse. Can we take activities that are already group-based and irreducibly social in the real world, and make software that is good for them?

Perhaps the login system could be based around questions: ‘what is a name of a blonde person in your group?’

To generalise Flickr’s attributes, successful interactive systems will bend users back towards them, whether by play or not.

The cleverness of Getting Things Done is to wrap this finite-state machine in another finite-state machine which instead of running on the tasks, runs on the human operator itself,

Websites can also be seen as finite-state machines that run on people.
Instead of a finite-state machine, think of a website as a flowchart of motivations.

Imagine popularising a method like Getting Things Done crossed with the creation and value of the diamond industry

I am looking forward to see what you come up with in oh-eight.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 8:30 am

2.3 rating from 17 votes


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Makes me wonder what on earth would be a better method for “archeology” than source control revisions… Commenting out old code? Ugh. Other than that there are some good thoughts.

Comment by Jani — December 31, 2007

Like what he is writing… It’s a f*ing challenge to get these things done in 2008 ;)

Comment by Andreas Kalsch — January 1, 2008

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