Monday, May 05, 2008

The state of the web in 2013

I am going to take the slightly pessimistic view and say that I don't believe there will be any revolution of the web in the next five years. Evolution, along existing lines will take place, but I don't believe anything major will come along and displace what we currently know as the web. I also expect the "Semantic Web" to still be gaining traction, but at its currently slow pace.

Perhaps the most significant difference is that there will be more "small screen" browsers accessing the web than "full screen" browsers. Mobile phones with real web browsers, will dominate the the User-Agent HTTP request header in server logs. The iPhone is just the beginning of enabling full use of the web on small mobile phone screens. In five years, many more people will be surfing the web from their mobile phone than from their laptop or desktop.

HTML5 will be a standards document, but browser support for it will not be complete, and even fewer sites will make use of it [1]. The good news is that HTML5 adds some minor semantic markup to the HTML specification, but it will not bring about the semantic web revolution [2]. I believe blogging software and other content management systems will have built-in support for semantically tagging content, but the majority of websites will either not use it or still develop sites with tools that do not handle semantic markup.

"Web 2.0" will have gone mainstream. Users will have their choice among a large selection of mostly interoperable online office suites including photo and video manipulation applications. And just about everything else will be accessed through a web browser, native platform applications will be thought of as "old school".

All in all, nothing revolutionary will happen in the next five years, only evolutionary extension of the current technologies.

[1] []
[2] []

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