Unfolding the Web

by Bruno Pedro

What if you could use the Web as a whole as a data storage object? What if you could write simple applications that would simply live on the Web and feed from the Web?

I think the Web right now is cut down into a million pieces that don't talk to each other properly. What you've seen so far is information being gathered from the edge into aggregator applications. What about using everything as a whole? No more edge and center. No more aggregators. The information will just grow organically.

This is just a simple idea right now. Maybe it will grow into something. Maybe not.


Chaim Krause
2006-08-31 06:54:59
I'm not sure I understand what you mean, because while reading what you wrote all I kept thinking was, "It already does". Just to name a few things, web services, mashups, and Amazon's S3/SQS/EC2. And then there are all those Pyton/PERL scripts, like yum, that treat the Internet as one big app. I'm not sure how they differ from what you are describing as "a whole".
Bruno Pedro
2006-08-31 08:36:17
In the current scenario, you as a user either a) consume information aggregated or from various sources, or b) publish information at a single source. That's why you have so many different web applications that offer the same type of service. Think, for instance, of bookmarking or blogging.

What I'm imagining is a completely different approach. One where the information you produce is saved at different places on the Web and where you can consume different pieces of that information through any of those places or through any aggregator.

2006-08-31 10:35:51
I'm not sure what you are talking about, but it sounds similar to http://www.xanadu.com
Vance Dubberly
2006-08-31 10:42:47
Has one of those "Dude, like, what if the I had a wallet that had infinite space in it, so like I could put anything I needed to cary with me in it. Heck I could put my house in it! And just pull it out when I needed too. I'd never have to pay another hotel bill! Wooohhhh Dude! We gotta make that!" Gotta think and articulate a bit more before posting. Not meant to be discouraging, please think and articulate more, I'm sure somewhere in that cluster of meaningless words there is a great idea waiting bloom.
Vance Dubberly
2006-08-31 10:47:13
Ha! Now if this was in response to this: http://www.oreillynet.com/onlamp/blog/2006/08/patently_obvious.html

Then it's just damn funny.

Bruno Pedro
2006-08-31 11:12:23
izzy: I guess xanadu fits into what I'm just imagining. Quoting its front page:

Today's popular software simulates paper. The World Wide Web (another imitation of paper) trivializes our original hypertext model with one-way ever-breaking links and no management of version or contents.

Vance: I know all this sounds pretty vague right now, but who knows what might happen by discussing it like we are doing right now? And yes, I read the Patently Obvious post, specially the following part:

The first thing to do is to start blogging about every obvious invention you can think of. It doesn't matter what it is. If you think of it, blog it. Blog everything you can. Don't keep it to yourself, or assume everyone knows its the next step.

So, let's keep the discussion open and see if we come up with something new.

Bruno Pedro
2006-08-31 11:42:30
The Arcadian Visions blog extends this subject into the world of widgets and how they interoperate with data.

I think it deserves further discussion as you can see in this excerpt:

Is the web ready for the idea of apps whose data is pulled from disparate sources? The existence of mashups says yes, but how widespread is reliable, successful interop?

My guess is that the Web is more than ready for it. People are now starving for information. Not only for consuming it but also for contributing with their own ideas and artifacts.

Vance Dubberly
2006-09-05 14:27:28
Maybe something like this?


Brad Neuberg
2006-10-23 12:00:59
Hi Bruno; could you go into this idea deeper? Do you mean erasing the idea of sites and instead treating them all as a giant virtualized single database?
Bruno Pedro
2006-11-15 13:23:49
Hello Brad,

Yes, that's the main idea here: letting go the notion of "web site" as something with a layout where you go and consume information, and treating everything as "pieces of information".

I've been working on a prototype and will make it public really soon now. It's nothing fancy but it will give you an idea of what I'm imagining. It will be open source so that anybody can contribute.