Unfolding the Web

Originally posted at the O’Reilly ONLamp Blog:

What if you could use the Web as a whole as a data storage object? What if you could write simple applications that would simply live on the Web and feed from the Web?

I think the Web right now is cut down into a million pieces that don’t talk to each other properly. What you’ve seen so far is information being gathered from the edge into aggregator applications. What about using everything as a whole? No more edge and center. No more aggregators. The information will just grow organically.

This is just a simple idea right now. Maybe it will grow into something. Maybe not.

So far some people have expressed their opinions and gave me some approaches to this kind of interaction. In no particular order:

Project Xanadu and NLS/Augment (Hyperscope’s and also Open Augment‘s precursor) were born more than 40 years ago. Both argue that paper based information should be replaced by a network of interconnected information.

Quoting Project Xanadu’s Xanological Structure paper:

The World Wide Web was not what we were working toward, it was what we were trying to *prevent*. The Web displaced our principled model with something far more raw, chaotic and short-sighted. Its one-way breaking links glorified and fetishized as “websites” those very hierarchical directories from which we sought to free users, and discarded the ideas of stable publishing, annotation, two-way connection and trackable change.

Where are we heading to? The Arcadian Visions blog took it further by discussing this concept around the usage of widgets and mashups.

Anyway, my original intention was to start a discussion around this topic, which happened. I know all this might sound very esoteric to some of you right now, but these ideas are older than most of us, so bear with me on this.

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