Tom Coates at The Future Of Web Apps summit

Tom begins by pointing a laser at Simon and thanks Andy for calming him down. Aw, bless.

User interface: most people think about rounded corners and gradient fills. He shows lots and lots of examples. But Tom’s going to talk about higher-level stuff than that.

  • What is the web changing into?
  • What can and should you build on top it?
  • Architectural principles for Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has way too many ingredients. Let’s concentrate on the web of connected stuff: APIs and data. The web used to be silos of information. Now it’s a huge accumalation of testicles: well, that’s what the diagram looks like. A web of data (sources and services) and how people can use them.

Here’s a mashup of Astrology and News made by Simon and Tom. Browse the news by “things that happened to Capricorns”, for example. Compare what was supposed to happen to someone with what actually did: very good for obituaries.

That’s what mashups are all about. Taking two data sources and mashing them together in a way that makes both things more interesting. You get a network effect of services.

Every service builds on top of the existing web of services and contributes to the network. No-one needs to make the same thing twice.

There is money to be made. You can use APIs to drive people to your stuff. People will do work that, in the long run, drives people to your stuff. Soon, we may see more people charging for APIs.

Here’s the question developers must ask: “How can I add value to the Aggregate Web?”

A war is about to begin about the ownership of core data: location, identity, calendaring, etc. Tim O’Reilly says “Data is the new Intel Inside”.

Ask yourself, “Can I find new ways of connecting users together?”

When you’re designing an app, start designing with data, not with pages. Design for normal users, developers, and machines.

Like the previous two speakers, Tom really emphasises the importance of readable, writable, hackable URLs. Be predictable/guessable/hackable and as human-readable as possible. Good URLs are beautiful and a mark of design quality.

Three core types of page: the core object destination page, the list view page, and the manipulation interface page. Ajax and Flash are great, but don’t break the Web. Right on, Tom!

Building on top of the core pages, you can have parallel views, for example in XML and RSS.

Tom’s slides will be available on his site.

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