Thursday, March 08, 2007

Top Web Technologies

Jim Rapoza of eWeek compiled his list of the Top Web Technologies of All Time as a collection of slides.

Here is his list:

  • XML
  • HTML
  • Netscape Navigator
  • HTTP
  • Apache
  • NCSA Mosaic
  • CERN httpd
  • Internet Explorer 3
  • NCSA httpd
  • Firefox
  • SSL
  • ViolaWWW
  • WAIS
  • CGI
  • Internet Information Server
  • Squid
  • Java
  • HotMetal
  • Flash
  • PHP
  • Dreamweaver
  • RSS
  • WebTrends
  • Blogger
  • PlaceWare
  • Lynx
  • Perl
While I would definitely concur on many items on the list, there are others that I would disagree with or substitute.

Regarding the standardized protocols and languages: XML, HTML, HTTP, RSS, SSL, Java, PHP, Perl, RSS, and even Flash, I have no objections. They are certainly the foundations of the web. However, I do think he's missing a biggie of JavaScript which, while it had a dubious start and I avoided it for quite a while, is shaping out to be the scripting language of Web 2.0.

Regarding his list of browsers: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape Navigator, and Internet Explorer, Firefox? Absolutely. ViolaWWW? I don't think so. Yes, it came out before NCSA Mosaic, but Mosaic was really more responsible for bringing the WWW to the masses, and if you really want to show the start of the web browsers, why not point to the actual original browser named WorldWideWeb by Tim Berners-Lee? Spyglass? Come on, it's just a commercial re-branding of NCSA Moasic. Yes, it became Internet Explorer, but you could just as well say NCSA Moasic became Internet Explorer and not bother to mention this interim step. Similarly, Netscape was first called Mosaic Netscape, so do we need to list that too? Is wasn't really significant in itself. Lynx? Sure, it comes in handy from time to time, but I don't think it's a top web technology. Opera? It's a nice browser and all, but I don't think it's ever made that much of an impact overall. Yes, it introduced some new ideas like mouse gestures, but I just don't think it was that significant. Why not Safari for the Mac, or Galleon or Konqueor on Linux? Same thing. They're nice, but more of an also ran than a top web technology.

Then we have our web servers: CERN httpd and NCSA httpd which begot Apache, no question. IIS? I guess in some circles, but Apache is still significantly more important. If it's on his list because it provides the .Net platform, what about Tomcat, JBoss, or other commercial products like WebSphere and BEA for J2EE? I don't think I'd put IIS on the list, but if I did, I think I'd be remiss not to include Tomcat or some of the other Java application servers.

Next are HTML editors HotMetal and DreamWeaver. Personally, I think the Netscape/Mozilla Composer and/or FrontPage had a wider impact toward bringing HTML editing and composition to the masses originally. Jim makes the comment that, nearly all serious Web developers now use Dreamweaver, but I know plenty of serious web developers who don't use Dreamweaver so I think that was a personal bias on his part.

Finally he have various web services like WAIS and Blogger. WAIS had it's place as a search technology (though more familiarly recognized as Gopher), but I think Yahoo and subsequently Google had a more significant impact in organizing the Web to make it useful to the masses. It's hard to classify it as a Web technology when Gopher/WAIS was essentially replaced by the web. Blogger is certainly important and can stay on the list, but if it is, I think some other services should also be on the list. For example, Yahoo's provision for free email (as well as Hotmail, GMail, and others) was more important toward getting people to use the web for online services. Also, services like MySpace are more significant toward advancing the collaboration ideas of Web 2.0. And is PlaceWare really more significant than all the other similar solutions? Why not CUSeeMe or NetMeeting?

Also, what about other key technologies that make the web work like databases (MySQL anyone?).

Just my thoughts. Any other suggestions?

No comments: