The Future Of Computing Technologies and The Internet
It's the 26th of September 2001, and I'm thinking about the future of the internet. Buzz-words are flying thick and fast, none of them mean much, and few of the new up-and-coming technologies will survive.
More and more ways are being invented every day to get almost any device to access the internet and read html. WAP browsing, disabled browsing. Everybody and Everything is going to join the wired world.
The problem is that all browsers render HTML in different ways. Anyone trying to create a new method of accessing the internet is going to try to interpret the most common form of HTML on the internet, and this is where standards may grind to a halt. In short, here's a list the flashy wizzy things on the internet and my expectancy of their survival:
- HTML - Here to stay. Get used to it. Expect various extensions to go in and out of fashion, but expect most stuff on the internet to be HTML 4.0 compatible for a long time. Doomed rating: HTML will take a very very long time to die.
- ActiveX controls - will be used by advertising jerks, prompting most intelligent surfers to turn the damn things off. Incompatible with anything except Windows, and probably not forward and backwards compatible with various Windows versions. Prone to crashing PCs and potentially devastating security attacks. Yuk yuk yuk yuk yuk. Doomed rating: 3 years life-span, possibly 5 with a bit of backward compatibility.
- PNG - Possibly the successor to GIF and JPEG. Possibly the "third standard" which is the best, but because of it's bigger and more popular counterparts may die due to lack of demand. Expect it to be supported though by almost all browsers. Doomed rating: Will last as long as HTML probably, but with far less visibility.
- Java - elegant; graceful; powerful; platform-independent; sand-boxed where necessary; a thoroughly beautiful programming language. Doomed rating: Deserves to outlast all other technologies listed here, and probably will
- Style sheets - I'm of two minds as to whether these are a good idea or not. Shrug. Don't know. Doomed rating: No idea
- Microsoft .Net - I'll support it as long as I can see an advantage of using it that Java does not already give me. erm. erm. erm. erm. A rather brain-damaged attempt to mangle VB .Net to look like normal VB code but having all decent Object Orientation? erm. Not enough to convince me I'm afraid.
- XML - Allows you to redefine your own tags so that they do other things. Alternatively used to create file formats that can be read by something else. The new milleniums' attempt at EDI, which is probably just as likely to fail as the previous EDI. Doomed rating: Likely to survive for years in small niches and large businesses.
- Spam - I yearn and hope for a day when spam is no longer present on the internet. Sadly, unless made illegal, this isn't going to happen. In order to get rid of it, you'd have to first convince everyone that the internet is about information, not about advertising.