Web 2.0 Archive

‘User Inyerface’ teaches you about terrible modern web design by making you suffer through it

Bad website user interfaces are perhaps the worst part of the internet: spammy pop-ups designed to trick you, dark patterns that are intentionally misleading, and just plain obtuse design decisions that make filling out a form virtual hell. But don’t take my word for it: let “User Inyerface”, a web app from design firm Bagaar, show you in an intentionally nightmarish take that tries to build the single worst online form of all time. And boy, it is infuriating. This made me want to quit computers and live in a forest far away from everything even remotely related to technology.

Microsoft To Enable Linux On Its Windows Azure Cloud

Microsoft is preparing to launch a new persistent virtual machine feature on its Azure cloud platform, enabling customers to host Linux, SharePoint and SQL Server there . . . To date, Microsoft has been balking at customer requests to add persistent VMs to Azure, hoping to get customers to develop Azure apps from scratch instead. But the lack of the ability to host apps like SharePoint and other third-party business applications with persistence was a deal breaker for a number of business users who were unwilling to consider Azure until Microsoft added this support, one of my contacts said.

Why Eucalyptus Will Win Out Vs. OpenStack

Open source history suggests vendor-backed Eucalyptus will ultimately win out over the foundation-based Open Stack as the open source cloud platform of choice for IT going forward. 'History has shown that when an open source project is dealing with a valuable layer of the software stack, that project has tended to be controlled by a single vendor that can directly make money from the project,' Rodrigues writes. 'History also shows that when an open source project is dealing with a commodity layer of the software stack, the project tends to be controlled by a foundation.' The question then boils down to whether cloud platforms are indeed a valuable layer, and thus directly monetizable, as Red Hat proved with Linux, or are they a commodity layer, like Apache HTTP Server or Eclipse. Ultimately, Rodrigues believes that the private cloud will prove to be a valuable component of the IT stack, thereby favoring Eucalyptus' AWS-based private cloud platform.

11 Hard Truths About HTML5

InfoWorld's Peter Wayner discusses the 11 hard truths Web developers must accept in making the most of HTML5 -- especially those who are looking to leverage HTML5 in hopes of unseating native apps. 'The truth is, despite its powerful capabilities, HTML5 isn't the solution for every problem. Its additional features are compelling and will help make Web apps formidable competitors for native apps, but security issues, limitations of local data storage, synchonization challenges, and politics should have us all scaling back our expectations for the spec.'

Google Docs Users Stranded by Bug

Cloud apps can be a godsend -- until they stop working, taking all your data with them. Google Docs users worldwide have learned this the hard way this week, locked out of their documents by a bug which Google says is currently its #1 priority to fix, but hasn't been able to resolve for six days and counting. The bug, associated with Google's new multiple account login feature, causes an endless redirect when people try to open a document. Microsoft has been quick to jump on the opportunity to promote its forthcoming Office 365 service, which caches files locally, as a better solution than the all-cloud solution Google is offering. Google has been apologetic about the bug but says since it is not actually an outage it will not honor its 99.9% uptime guarantee for Google Apps Premier users.

Quake II Ported to HTML5

In November last year I stated that it would only be a matter of time before it happened. Also in November Joel Webber, a Google engineer had the inspiration to port Quake II to HTML5 from Jake2--a Java port of Quake II--using Google Web Toolkit; the same toolkit used for writing Google Mail | Maps | Wave in Java and compiling into JavaScript. With the help of two other Google engineers (Ray Cromwell and Stefan Haustein) in "20% time", it works! Just!

OGG in Silverlight, MS Join SVG, Flash Improvements, WebGL

A quick round up of various web-related news items. First up, a new open source product entitled the "Highgate media suite" will bring OGG video decoding to Silverlight. Microsoft have just joined the SVG working group (arguably 10 years late, but it's better than nothing). Adobe promise significant improvements in Flash 10.1, including Core Animation rendering on OS X and lowered CPU usage. Finally, CoperLicht--a WebGL JavaScript 3D engine (Quake in JS will be here one day)

Web Applications on the iPad

Wolfire writes: "Today, Apple announced the new iPad and humbly claimed that there will be a "gold rush" of native apps for the App Store. Sure, but what I find more interesting is that Apple also ironically created the most promising open web app platform, which may eventually undermine the App Store itself. The iPad is the first mainstream device which combines all of the following factors: reasonably powerful hardware, a (potentially) huge user base, a mature WebKit implementation, and constant 3G internet capabilities. All the dominoes are in place, and I think that the iPad will knock the first one down."

A New Thin Client

The web browser has been the dominant thin client, now rich client, for almost two decades, but can it compete with a new thin client that makes better technical choices and avoids the glacial standards process? I don't think so, as the current web technology stack of HTML/Javascript/Flash has accumulated so many bad decisions over the years that it's ripe for a clean sheet redesign to wipe it out.

Twitter, Facebook Play Key Role for Iranian Protesters

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr. All demon spawn from Web 2.0, and we all love to make fun of these websites and the services they provide. However, here in the West, where everything is at arm's length and democracy is something we do not remember fighting for, it's easy to forget that what looks silly and useless to us, can be of the utmost importance somewhere else in the world. Update: I've been informed that the first casualty has fallen at the hands of armed government supporters. Hundreds of thousands of people are now on the streets all over Iran. More updates inside.

Wolfram Alpha Search Engine Goes Live

The data search and computation engine Wolfram Alpha has gone live. The web-based application, which is billed as a 'computational knowledge engine', went live for testing on Friday and was officially launched on Monday. "Fifty years ago, when computers were young, people assumed that they'd be able to ask a computer any factual question, and have it compute the answer," Stephen Wolfram, the founder and chief executive of Wolfram Research, said in a statement. "I'm happy to say that we've successfully built a system that delivers knowledge from a simple input field, giving access to a huge system, with trillions of pieces of curated data and millions of lines of algorithms."

ODF, Net Apps, Netbooks Will Invigorate the OS Landscape

This week I received a triumphal press release from the Open Document Foundation, announcing that the just-released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2 has native support for the ODF (Open Document Format) file format. This makes the latest MS Office "the last major office suite to support ODF." This set me to thinking about how movement and advancement in several areas of technology and interoperability may well invigorate the alternative OS world.

Let’s Use the Internet to Subvert Enhance Democracy!

The internet has heralded in a whole new era of citizen engagement and the latest innovations in social networking have just intensified the enthusiasm for creating a "virtual town square" where people can speak up, join together, and make things happen. And that's really happening! We're using the net to organize politically, communicate with other people who share our interests, and connect with long lost friends. But what about when people use the strengths of the network to undermine the collaborative process? You get tyranny of the minority. Update: Read below for an update on the bike-naming contest.

OSNews Goes Open Source

We here at OSNews take open source software seriously. That's why, today, we're making our site's source code available to the public. While some sites have inline SQL statements, embedded passwords, afterthought modules, and sensitive data embedded into their pages, at OSNews, we have a strict system that employs no hacks whatsoever to extend functionality. This is why our site rarely changes look-and-feel and rolls out new features slowly, only after they've been rigorously tested. This code is offered under the BSD license: feel free to use it as you wish! So, today, we're proud to offer you the code that powers OSNews.com. Be sure to start with the README file to get started! Enjoy responsibly.

Real Web 2.0: Battling Web Spam

IBM takes a two part march through the attack vectors of spam on "web 2.0" sites. 'Real Web 2.0 means harnessing the power of social groups to improve information systems. This will invariably attract nasty people who look for the cracks to take advantage of you and me. Spam on the Web is one of the biggest threats to a modern Web developer.' Part 1 of this series shows you how to assess visitor behaviour and control work-flow to reduce Web 2.0 spam. Part 2 shows you how to use the power of community against spam.