Monday, May 05, 2008

The Web in 2013

In 2013, the web will be fairly similar to the one we all know and love today. There will be several key differences however.

The first and most obvious will be the adoption of XHTML 1.0 Transitional as a standard. Some web sites will be using pure XHTML, but the mainstream will be stuck on 1.0 Transitional due to the high percentage of users still running Windows XP and Internet Explorer 8.0 (the last supported version of IE on XP) with its horrific XHTML Strict rendering.

Another key difference will be the proliferation of high-resolution video advertisements. With 50Mbit fibre-to-the-home being standard, and 100Mbit available in some startup markets, high-definition video ads will have all but replaced the static and low-res animated graphics of 2008. Upon visiting sites, users will be bombarded with motion, forcing them to click on the ads or risk being sent into epileptic seizure.

Instead of the traditional Flash, video ads will be streamed out in standards-based MPEG-5 which will become the ISO standard for compressed 2160p High-Definition content. Thanks to the standards-based codecs used, playback in browsers will be accomplished via built-in code, no special plug-in will be required to view the embedded videos.

By 2013, frames and tables as layout crutches will have been all but eliminated from modern web sites. Instead, well-placed div tags will denote content while CSS scripts will tie everything together, effectively separating content from layout once and for all. All still using XHTML 1.0 Transitional however...

Instead of writing code by hand or using current craptastic programs that generate unreadable code, web developers will use a free open source toolkit for WYSIWYG development that generates completely readable XHTML and CSS code (including ECMAScript glue code that automagically works around known browser bugs/deficiencies).

These tools will use advanced NLP algorithms to automatically add semantic attribute data to pages. Users can manually tweak this attribute data (which will be represented as RDF embedded in XHTML), but for the most part the automatic processing will greatly increase the searchability and indexability of all web documents by providing standard semantic attributes which can be used by both search engines, mashup engines and query services.

As for the question of whether or not the web will be "better" than it is now... Things will be much more standards-compliant, although not necessarily compliant to the standards of 2013, but by todays standards an incredible improvement. In fact browsers of 2013 will block and refuse to render any pages which do not validate due to unspecified behavior. Because advertisements are more graphical, they tend to be more distracting than what we deal with today, but those same technologies allow for advanced interfaces with fluid 3-D effects and transitions making everything feel much more interactive.

But when it comes to actual content, people will be using this new enhanced web in much the same way as we use ours now, it will simply be flashier, interfaces will be more animated and fluid, and it will be much less bandwidth-efficient.


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