Friday, April 25, 2008

The Ghosts of Web Past, Present, and Future: JavaOne, Web 2.0, and AdTech

We had a troika of conferences at Moscone in SF in the last few weeks, and the differences between the shows was remarkable.

JavaOne - The Ghost of Web Past. The heavy duty software infrastructure show for enterprises, where the old Web 1.0 crowd of enterprise vendors and customers coalesce. The only interesting things about Java nowadays are mobile and Java's slow crawl to support scripting languages. Otherwise there is nothing to see but the latest PR ploy, which this year is: Neil Young on stage! JavaFX! Wow! Java has been completely overrun by the script kiddies and other than GWT has been relegated to back-end service processing and outsourced IT guys cranking out basic CRUD apps.

Web 2.0 - The Ghost of Web Present. Completely bland show with nothing interesting at all announced or even discussed. It's old news that none of the Web 2.0 feature sites are going anywhere other than aggregators like Digg and Mint, whose whole point is to minimize the number of sites you have to go to. IBM and Intel now have Web 2.0 tools, showing that this is a market that has completely matured. What we all got out of Web 2.0 was a very high bar for how easily a webapp should work - note to developers, if your webapp needs a manual or tutorials, you've screwed up!

AdTech - The Ghost of Web Future. It is no secret that he Web is financed by advertising dollars, but the excitement at AdTech is palpable. Banner ads and keywords are not working as well as they used to and those dollars are looking for something new like white label social networks, virtual worlds, and widget syndication. The intersection of technology and creativity at this show was very stimulating (as were the advertising chicks, who were way hotter than the other two venues!).

Since these three shows span the last 10+ years of my career, I guess in summary in goes like this: build basic webapps (JavaOne), build cool webapps (Web 2.0), make money from webapps (AdTech). The past and present were good times, and the future looks very bright.

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