all bits considered data to information to knowledge

7Nov/090

In the beginning there was HTML…

In the beginning there was HTML, and saw Marc Andreessen that HTML was good, and created Netscape browser. And while the browser was buggy and slow, it changed the world, and begat (spiritually) Firefox, Safari, IE, Opera, Chrome and others. Somewhere along the road geeks were expelled from paradise, and business moved in to cash on the Internet…

It  used to be that one could make a living coding HTML by hand, and a number of companies were created to automate the task – injecting standard headers, visualizing website structure, propagating changes, editing JavaScript etc.

Meanwhile, dynamic content generation went from CGI scripts (Unix shells, C, Perl etc), through server-side scripting languages, all the way to ASP, PHP and the likes…Java made its debut in the web via applets, followed by Microsoft knee-jerk reaction to embed ActiveX controls in the IE (and opening the floodgates for security threats in the process), before finding its way to servlets/portlets and other *lets, and Microsoft counterparts – asp.net (with code behind), web controls and webparts…

At every step the community opted for ever more tightly controlled development (naming conventions, standardized logging, error handling, continuous integration), ever greater abstraction level (reusable libraries, IDE, tools, patterns, frameworks), ever greater automation of every stage of software development – from coding to building to testing to deployment to maintenance… Enterprise level software moved from monolithic tightly coupled monstrosities to distributed component based systems, from closely coupled binary contracting to loosely coupled Service Oriented architectures…

I believe, we are entering the phase when ECM – Enterprise Content Management systems - are becoming platforms within which data and applications come together, where composability of the components allows for stringing functionality in ad-hoc applications that are enabled by all of the above: technology independent, loosely coupled, location agnostic nirvana!…

Now, back to Earth. All these concepts have to live somewhere. A number of ECM sprouted in recent time: every heavy weight (Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Oracle), and upstarts (Alfresco, for instance). None is perfect, all have dizzying array of features, are based on different technologies (.Net, Java, Flash/C etc); arcane programming models…
Yet, I’d argue that they are step in the direction I’ve just plotted in my ramblings above, and are here to stay. This is just a beginning where all these trend converge to produce a qualitative leap forward; one can tell by how the forerunners are trying to subvert it by fencing you in, trying to be everything at once… But the ship has already sailed, ultimate distributed computing (SOA) found its frameworks to move away from craftsmanship into industrial age of software development.

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.


Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.