World Wide Platform


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Label of "Web 3.0" deserves to be backed up by a fundamental change in what can be done, and what can be ignored, on the global network. Platform-as-a-Service abstraction earns the left-of-decimal uptick. Published under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0

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World Wide Platform

  1. 1. World Wide Platform: What Makes It Web 3.0The Genius of the Planet Comes to PaaSPeter inc. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0.
  2. 2. ContentsWhy 3.0 Is More Than Just a Number ................................................................................................... 1Technology is an input, not an experienceEmergence is the product of disappearanceTechnology as Enabler .......................................................................................................................... 2Multi-tenant architecture: key to “Level 3”Privacy is not confinementThe Future Must Be More Than Merely “Cloudy” ................................................................................ 3Enabling creationAvoiding duplicationAssuring satisfactionThe People are the Computer ................................................................................................................ 3The bad news is that this is a trulyintense technical and businessundertaking, and not for the faint of heart.The good news is that what it makespossible is magical. Marc Andreessen, “The Three Kinds of Platforms You Meet on the Internet” Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced. Gehms Corollary to Clarkes Third LawW orld W ide Platform: W hat Makes It W eb 3.0
  3. 3. Why 3.0 Is More Than Just a Number For more than two decades, the version number has been part of everyday language. It would be hard to say which software product update brought the expression, “SomethingSomething 2.0,” into common use: perhaps it was the March 1983 release of Microsoft MS-DOS 2.0, with its first major expansion of the power (and the complexity) of the first ubiquitous desktop software platform. Regardless of who gets the credit for the label, people immediately grasped the promise implied by changing the number to the left of the decimal point – denoting a substantial increase in capability, rather than the minor enhancements and repairs implied by a right-of-decimal “point release.” That’s why Tim O’Reilly’s coinage in 2004 of the phrase, “Web 2.0” (in connection with his subsequent series of “Web 2.0 Summit” conferences) hasStages of Sharing been controversial ever since—and even those who accept O’Reilly’s 2.0 label may look askance at more recent mentions of “Web 3.0.”The generations of the Webare best defined, not by their Following a conference in September 2007, Network World paraphrased industry analysts 1 as saying that “thetechnology, but by the [Web 3.0] buzzword is really just a marketing ploy used to hype incremental improvements over thepossibilities they create and the groundbreaking technologies that were labeled Web 2.0…”; one analyst was quoted as saying, “There are a lot ofexperiences that they enable. constituencies trying to hijack the term.”:: Web 1.0 Technology is an input, not an experience What others know, you can find; The error that’s made by many would-be definers of “Web 3.0” is the confusion of the tool with the function. what others sell, you can buy Many have suggested that the original Web was all about the HTML markup language and the HTTP protocol for linking and retrieving web pages; that Web 2.0 was all about the RSS protocol for sharing content and the Web:: Web 2.0 services protocols (such as REST and SOAP) for sharing function. What anyone thinks, imagines or These conceptions of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are too technology-centric. They lead to irrelevant argument over the creates, everyone can discuss role of various technology developments in defining Web 3.0. There’s a pointless war in progress among the:: Web 3.0 proponents of richer semantic context, of sensor-centered rather than human-centered content, and of qualitative change in experience resulting from quantitative growth in bandwidth as Web 3.0’s true hallmarks. What anyone conceives and implements, everyone can apply Emergence is the product of disappearance For those who use a technology, rather than those who create and deploy it, a technical success is almost literallyThe advent of the Platform as a invisible. The successful tool is the one that disappears into its function, in the phrase of philosopher MartinService makes it possible for Heidegger in The Origin of the Work of Art.anyone with functionalexpertise to package it, publish  The success of the IBM Personal Computer was that it made the actual computer nearly invisible to theit, and put it to work wherever user – unlike earlier hobbyist-oriented machines that exposed far more of the machine’s internalthere’s an Internet connection. workings at a level that required the user’s attention and understandingPaaS is the next step in  The success of VisiCalc, the first packaged spreadsheet application, was that it made the products ofmaking our most sophisticated custom programming possible without most of the coding effort previously required for similar taskstools “disappear into theirfunction.”  The initial success of Web browsers was that they enabled access to a global network while hiding the acts and mechanisms of connection  The current and growing success of the Wiki and the blog, two of the most common user experiences associated with “Web 2.0,” comes from letting people create and combine Web content with no need to understand or control the mechanisms that made it happen Web 3.0, the next major step, is therefore best defined by what it hides, rather than by the technology it uses: that is, by its success in hiding the Web 1.0: Transact mechanisms of creating and sharing new function and new behavior, going beyond the Web 2.0: Participate sharing of static content or even dynamic discussions of content. Web 3.0 is best defined by the opportunity for everyone to Web 3.0: Innovate program: the emergence of the platform as a service. 1 Brodkin, Jon, “Gartner touts Web 2.0, scoffs at sequel,”, 21 September 2007 W orld W ide Platform: W hat Makes It W eb 3.0 1
  4. 4. Technology as Enabler Technologies do not define the generations of the Web, but they can serve as crucial enablers.  The key conception of the Internet itself, as a dumb network2 with all of its intelligence at the endpoints, enabled ad hoc introduction of new types of content without the permission of any one network operator. If a new content type had even a single creator with even a single consumer, there was value. This enabled the explosive growth of Web 1.0 – which then evolved the security and payment systems required to support a marketplace of goods as well as ideas.  The Web’s tools for exchanging content became a medium for requesting and delivering action withMulti-Tenant Architecture the advent of XML and related Web services protocols. This paved the way for publication toPaves the Path to Web 3.0 become participation – which enabled Web 2.0 as a forum of communities and services.Multi-tenant architecture shuns  To expand the scope of the Web from participation to innovation, there must be scalable platformswasteful duplication and costly, that invite the expression of useful knowledge in a form that’s easy for others to discover and use—error-prone redundant without high costs of entry, and with an affordable model of growing capacity to support anmaintenance while stillpreserving an open ecosystem innovation’s success. The resulting liberation of innovation is the essence of Web 3.0.for competition and refinement. Marc Andreessen, co-author of the first Web browser, has labeled the required model as the “Level 3 platform,” or “runtime environment”—which offers, he has said, a “magical” set of possibilities. In his widely cited blog post,:: Data “The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet,” he elaborated: Rather than creating and manipulating separate data The level of technical expertise required of someone to develop on your platform drops by at least 90%, and structures in identical database the level of money they need drops to $0…The rate of rapid evolutionary application development that can stacks, the developer in the result from this approach will, I think, be mind-boggling as it plays out. multi-tenant environment is actually creating and editing Multi-tenant architecture: key to “Level 3” metadata representations. Achieving the technical simplification and the affordable access of Andreessen’s “Level 3” requires a complete The operators of the shared rethinking of how to deliver innovative IT function, whether the intended user is the individual or the enterprise. environment can optimize performance, perform data At global scale, it’s unthinkable to require wasteful and error-prone duplication of IT assets that add no distinctive backups, and incrementally add value. The fraction of the world’s hard disk space that holds essentially identical (and redundantly maintained) capacity without disruption. copies of operating systems and database engines is enormous today; potentially crippling tomorrow.:: Logic What’s needed instead is a model in which all common capability is shared, while all distinctive assets—whether data, logic, or definitions of end-user experience—are rigorously and securely partitioned. A single foundation of Rather than letting individual code is shared by all users, while all other assets are represented to that shared platform as metadata. customizations leak into a foundation code base, multi- tenant environments rigorously  Partitioning of data, rather than being expensively achieved by deploying multiple instances of a code separate custom logic from stack, becomes instead an element of the platform’s design—in the same way that buyers on eBay or shared platform facilities. have confidential access to their individual purchase histories. Updates to the foundation code  Customization of application behavior, rather than being done by modifying application code, is done need never break or interfere instead by configuring metadata that’s invoked on a user-by-user basis—in the same way that with distinctive customizations. different users of the “iGoogle” personal home page see different arrangements of information and New features are not imposed, but rather offered for function when logging in to that shared service. enablement—immediate, or deferred, or declined—on a This model can be compared to an apartment building, with tenants sharing the costs of lobby services and laundry user-by-user basis. rooms and other key facilities while still having locks on their own doors and freedom to decorate their own rooms—hence the label of “multi-tenant architecture.”:: Integration Broad statements about the limitations of multi-tenant architecture are often inaccurate generalizations describing Non-proprietary interfaces such shallow designs. There is no inherent reason why metadata representation can not accommodate the full scope of as Web services let the innovator choose from multiple an innovator’s originality—but platform choice requires due diligence in recognizing differences in depth. providers of complementary tools and resources. Privacy is not confinement It’s essential to appreciate that the protections of multi-tenancy are not restrictions. Non-proprietary interface conventions, in particular those of Web services, allow multiple providers of platforms and resources to offer complementary environments and tools. For every integration scenario—custom coding, native connectors to specific software products, middleware layers facilitating multi-way integration, coupling with personal productivity applications, or user interface integrations of the type often dubbed the “mash-up”—there are options available that let innovators choose their own balance between flexibility, capability, and speed of solution deployment while still gaining the full advantages of a Platform as a Service. 2 Isenberg, David, “Rise of the Stupid Network,” Computer Telephony, August 1997 W orld W ide Platform: W hat Makes It W eb 3.0 2
  5. 5. The Future Must Be More Than Merely “Cloudy” If the goal is for the tool to disappear into the function, it follows that a left-of-decimal uptick—such as the one from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0—must represent a significant growth of function, and not merely an impressive enlargement of the tool kit.What a Web 3.0 Platform Moving the present day’s cumbersome and error-prone process of application development off of localMust Provide infrastructure, and into an Internet “cloud computing” facility, simply is not enough to justify the uptick to 3.0. There must be a radical simplification, not merely a relocation.Web 3.0 is merely potentialunless it offers something Enabling creationmore, not merely somethingdifferent, than earlier A Level 3 caliber of Platform as a Service can enable a Web 3.0 transformation of experience—but only if itincarnations of the Web. liberates creative energy. The platform must be open to the definition of data models that map closely to an expert’s understanding of a problem or a task. It must have powerful notations for expressing knowledge in the:: Creation form of reliable and powerful logic. It must give the expert a blank canvas on which to draw a user interface that makes the power of knowledge and data readily discoverable by the person with a problem to be solved. The Web 3.0 must make it radically platform from meets these needs with its database capabilities, workflow and Apex easier to create new capability, and not merely move today’s Code tools, and Visualforce user interface technology that enables astonishingly rapid design and refinement. cumbersome process of development into the cloud Avoiding duplication The tyranny of “good enough” will cripple the potential of Web 3.0 if a Platform as a Service requires redundant:: Leverage re-implementation of systems that are already working. The platform shuns wasteful duplication by offering an extensive variety of integration points, ranging from custom code interfaces to packaged integration Existing IT assets, and the best of the emerging ecosystem of appliances; the developer can gain full leverage from legacy IT assets or from the best of the emerging ecosystem new cloud-computing resources, of complementary Web services or from storage, computational, or other bulk resources available in the cloud. must be accessible resources for the Web 3.0 developer Assuring satisfaction Widespread adoption of the Web has generated high expectations (and rapidly rising demands) for availability,:: Assurance security, confidentiality and data integrity. Web 3.0 offerings can not expect a favorable reception if they offer the Platforms as a Service must be “new” at the expense of the “now.” The applications built with the creative vigor and entrepreneurial spirit of Web highly available, certifiably 3.0 must be born, so to speak, already grown up: that is, with the same robustness as existing Web offerings. The secure, reliably confidential, and platform gives creative and entrepreneurial developers the assurance of proven reliability, auditable robust in capacity and performance security, and enterprise-scale robustness as a foundation for what they bring into the world.The platform from The People are the is ready to If Tim O’Reilly gets the credit for “Web 2.0,” then Sun Microsystems’ John Gage must get the credit for theserve—and to liberate the coinage “The Network is the Computer”—but Gage, like O’Reilly, has been overtaken. The collaboration inplanet-wide wave of creative content of Web 2.0 has been succeeded by the liberation of creativity of Web 3.0 and the Platform as a Service.output that will make “Web 3.0”a label worth defining The appeal of PaaS is internationally acknowledged. In June 2008, industry analyst Fredric Paul asserted3 that PaaS resources “make leading-edge technology available to everyone, including consumers, often at a far lower cost than businesses pay for similar or inferior services.” Another industry observer, in Bangalore, reported in the same month4 that PaaS is “driving a change on how future application software will be and should be developed, installed, delivered, and managed” and that it is being considered by “every major [developer], in any space.” When the burdens of hardware and code disappeared into mass-market technology, the network added the value; as the physical network disappears into the abstractions of the Web, we can rediscover that it is people who are the true source of value. Web 3.0 brings global talent to PaaS. 3 Paul, Fredric, “SMBs Will Rise To Cloud Computing,”, 21 June 2008 4 Akhouri, Priyanka, “SaaS Healing Business Pain Points, Say ISVs,”, 27 June 2008