There has been a lot of great discussion on Read/WriteWeb recently, so I thought I'd pick out some highlights from a few of last week's posts...
Engelbart's vision exists!
Douglas Engelbart's HyperScope 1.0 Launched: early this week saw the launch of HyperScope 1.0, an advanced browsing application based on tech legend Douglas Engelbart's 1968 NLS/Augment (oNLine System). As Bob Walsh nicely put it in the comments: "sometimes those old dogs have tricks we should all learn from!"
Also in the comments, Rob Mallicoat asked what are the differences between HyperScope and Ted Nelson's HyperText/Xanadu Project? HyperScope software architect Brad Neuberg replied: "HyperScope exists and runs right now; it's at a 1.0 state and is quite robust." That was in reference to Nelson's Xanadu project, although he noted that Nelson's latest project ZigZag "exists as well". Brad has more info on the OPML and HTML Hyperlink features on his blog.
Photo Sharing Faceoff
The Web Photo Sharing Site Faceoff: Alex Iskold's latest R/WW post profiled the red hot photo sharing space. We noted that the mainstream market is led by KodakGallery and Yahoo! Photos, while Flickr leads the 'social web' photo sharing market. Meanwhile PhotoBucket is a successful cross between the two. In the comments soxiam noted:
"I would add 2 important areas of future growth for any social photosharing sites that not many people are talking about: mobile space and the international market."
Marco Mugnatto also pointed out that PhotoBucket has very generous photo uploading limits:
"Flickr has a limit of 250 photos and only three albuns for free accounts. Photobucket has a limit of 1GB PER ALBUM, no limits for number of albuns and 10GB of bandwidth per month, wich is a lot of bandwidth."
Browser-based Apps preferred by R/WW readers
In Ebrahim Ezzy's latest R/WW post, Webified Desktop Apps vs Browser-based Apps, he concluded that internet-connected desktop apps have the edge over browser-based apps - "offering almost all the benefits of web applications without any limitations."
We ran a poll to see what others thought. As of writing the poll has had 12,943 respondents - 62% of whom prefer browser apps and 38% webified desktop apps. As some people pointed out, R/WW readers are possibly biased towards browser apps. But still, it's certainly a large enough sample to show that - for many of us - the convenience and portability of browser-based apps is preferable. I'm sure this debate will continue on though! Here are some interesting comments from the two posts:
Emre Sokullu: "Writely is a very good example of what web based applications can do. You never lose data, you can access it everywhere. Connectivitity should not be seen as a drawback because the world is getting more and more connected everyday."
bdeseattle: "I find that a combination of a finely tuned OS (ala winxp with all the great del.icio.us xp tuning hacks) along with a finely tuned Firefox browser + extensions can deliver the best of both worlds."
scott: "It just won't be feasible for software developers to continue to create desktop applications, especially when these applications will need to also run on all sorts of mobile devices."
Doug Karr: "I honestly think that you're missing the boat on this one. 'Webified' vs. 'Browser' is a comparison that will be dead in the near future as Operating Systems become more 'browser-like' and browsers become more 'application-like'."
Gibu Thomas, Sharpcast CEO: "The issues you cite as the shortcomings of a web-only world (requirement for a reliable, fast always-on connections, etc)are amplified in a mobile environment."
Mark Birbeck, x-port CEO: "I think from the comments and views that I've read, that one permutation is missing, and that is the creation of an additional layer above the desktop that web applications can make use of to turn themselves into desktop applications. A key part of this idea is that this layer should be standard."
Dave Winer: "Note there are also browser-based desktop apps. I use them all the time. The server is on my desktop, but the app presents in a browser, using HTML as the user interface." [Richard: great point by Dave - personally I always thought of Radio Userland as a desktop app, because it required a download. But as Dave said, it's an interesting hybrid...]
Cloning vs Originality
In Cloning vs Originality, we looked at the issue of international markets cloning Silicon Valley web apps like Flickr and digg. This post received some excellent and thought-provoking comments:
hombrelobo: "I think both have a place. Original ideas are the clear winners, but the clones normally come with something "extra"."
scott: "Regarding the international copying ...companies should be offering more languages. We intend to be out in 8 languages soon after launch. Many big companies have figured this out, small web2 companies should be looking at it. (8 languages = 8 language files)"
adria: "I agree, clones are often better than the original and sometimes blow the originals out of the water (who would have thought MySpace would kill Friendster?). At the same time, maybe this means that originals need to move faster by maintaining close communication with their users and adjusting accordingly."
Regarding the photo I used of a Chinese Flickr clone, yee commented: "the cloning site is called bababian,located in China's Shandong province. i've chatted with bababian's employees and they thought copying flickr was just their competitive strength."
Toxic: "The magic of San Francisco isn't the raw materials (brains,tech,money), it's what can be made with these materials when you've got SF's attitude and its history of counterculture. That's not something that you're likely to clone (on a large scale, anyway) anywhere else."
Richard (not me though): "Indeed there are many copycat services in China, they do normally adjust to the local flavor with added features."
Thierry_BEZIER: "it is totally normal to create a copy of flicker in China, because there are more potential user speaking chinese (more than a billion) than people speaking english.... the world wide web is about the world not about California or 3 countries..."
All R/WW posts last week
There are comment gems in most of these posts, which is great to see!
Do you prefer desktop or browser apps?
08: Digg Changes May've Increased Quality, But The Community Is In Turmoil
08: Cloning vs Originality
07: Asian Mobile Web Years Ahead
07: Discussion: Webified Desktop Apps
07: Webified Desktop Apps vs Browser-based Apps
06: Google Office: Image Gallery
06: Zimbra: Mashing Up The Office
06: Google Instant Intranet
05: China - World's Largest Internet Market By '07
05: The Web Photo Sharing Site Faceoff
05: Douglas Engelbart's HyperScope 1.0 Launched
04: Top Italian Web Apps
04: Read/WriteWeb Sponsors And Contributers
03: ZapTXT: promising RSS topic subscription service
Time now to prepare for the new week!