Monday, November 27, 2006

Tim as Tito ...

Well I'm a great believer for having a vision of where you want to go. I'm also a great believer in the bazaar being a tool for certain areas and the cathedral for infra-structural issues.

However, when something is new or fledgling - imposing or desiring to impose a method of operation rather than allowing a standard to emerge is almost always folly.

So have a vision, don't impose operating restrictions, allow the melting pot of human creativity compete with different ideas and then support the emergent standard if a standard is necessary or beneficial.

This is what is happening with web 2.0. A melting pot of ideas, from which standards are being rapidly created or adopted, for example REST over SOAP, Mapstraction etc

Of course this is a nightmare for any purist or committee that wishes to control or impose their own idea of how things should operate. Such evolved behaviour or evolved standards bypasses the need for committees or imposed computing standards.

You can almost hear the nashing of teeth as the purveyors of what is "right" discover they are irrelevant.

So we come to Bill Thomson's tirade against web 2.0 and his description of Tim "Marshal Tito" O'Reilly.

Tim's vision or collection of concepts into his vision does nothing to state how things will operate. It is more a description of important concepts (from open data to commodisation of operating environments to social participation to rich interfaces to new business models to a data centric view) and describes a progression to a different type of web. It subscribes to the view that this is not dictated to but is emergent.

Bill however takes issue with this, describes it as window dressing and a dictatorship and says you can't build "real" applications with javascript and XML. - these are important computer science issues which any "good" computer scientist would agree with him (therefore assuming that disagreement makes you a "bad" computer scientist).

A "real" application is one that is used and is useful and has no bearing on language or transport protocol. As for supporting messages between distributed objects - well those are standards which will emerge rather than be dictated to.

Bill's thesis is we should stop all this, as there is the real chance of it turning into a nightmare. That's a mantra against creativity, against the melting pot.

So is this a case of the kettle calling the pot black?

It's not Tim who is Tito ...