The Web Browser as an Information Broker

How can the Web Browser stop being simply a layout renderer and start using data in an intelligent way? Alex Faaborg of Mozilla sheds some light on this subject:

Much in the same way that operating systems currently associate particular file types with specific applications, future Web browsers are likely going to associate semantically marked up data you encounter on the Web with specific applications, either on your system or online.

This is a great move for Firefox 3 (or Gran Paradiso as they like to call it). He then continues commenting the chaotic use of micro formats throughout the Web:

This is a problem that only the browser can solve. Just like with RSS, it is time for Web browsers to provide the user with a clean, consistent, and simplistic user interface.

Information Broker

Looking only at the user experience level I have to agree with Alex. But what about interoperability between different services?

Micro formats are a great thing but I only see them being used either as a publishing format or by aggregators as a way to identify pieces of information otherwise useless. What if you want to send structured information from one service to another?

Some work needs to be done on the server side as well. Applications must be aware of micro formats and react accordingly.


One thought on “The Web Browser as an Information Broker”

  1. It would be cool if they would consider implementing a sort of Operator ( ) into the release version of firefox.

    A more versatile and customizable version of Operator, ie, not wearing any brand (flickr/technorati/whatever).

    Microformats are still in their early years… baby steps. It’s always nice to allow our users to import vcards using hCard. But as microformats mature, more and more uses will be discovered. More formats created. And if the browser vendors acknowledge them, well, I’m sure the wide audience will begin using them, even if they don’t understand the underlying techniques used to achieve that.

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