Home Read/WriteWeb Discussion, 3-9 Sept

Read/WriteWeb Discussion, 3-9 Sept

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!

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.”

Other photo sharing apps mentioned (which we didn’t profile) were Fotki, AOL photos and Fotolog.

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
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

: “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

There are many other great comments, so if this topic interests you then delve into
those twoposts.

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

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!

08: Poll:
Do you prefer desktop or browser apps?

08: Digg
Changes May’ve Increased Quality, But The Community Is In Turmoil

08: Cloning vs

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!

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