It's a small world network after all

I’ve been spending most of my time over at Message lately working on a big intranet project. It’s not just a website behind a firewall. It’s more like a desktop application on the web that happens to reside in a walled garden.

I came across a great word for web apps like these: Weblications. I recommend reading the whole article which makes great use of hyper-linking and quoting. It begins by discussing weblications in general but quickly moves on to JavaScript and the DOM, GMail and GoogleSuggest in particular:

“I think that increased leverage of the browser and the DOM is a good thing. It’s also a clear trend and for many applications, the browser is good enough. Good enough for Google, good enough for Yahoo, good enough for me.”

With all this talk of 2005 as the year of the DOM, I’m beginning to think that JavaScript may be approaching a new tipping point.

I can’t casually throw in a phrase like “tipping point” without mentioning the book by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s an interesting exploration of social network theory and it makes for an entertaining read.

That said, if you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of network theory I heartily recommend the book Nexus by Mark Buchanan. It goes into far more detail than Gladwell’s book and looks at the ramifications of network theory on a huge range of topics. Where The Tipping Point focuses purely on social networks, Nexus examines the formation of river basins, the synchronisation? of fireflies, the structure of the internet and the human brain.

The topics may, at first glance, appear completely unconnected but if you have any experience of object-oriented programming, you’ll soon experience a familiar sensation. You know that feeling you get when you start to “smell” a pattern? Well, this is the definitive pattern-smelling book.

Actually, that accolade should probably be bestowed on a work of fiction that brings network theory right back to social networks and epidemics. But then, William Gibson is always worth reading.

Thinking about it… read all three books. They’re all connected and they may just come in handy next time you’re programming a weblication.*

*Y’know, maybe “weblication” isn’t such a great word after all. I’ve just used it four times and I’m sick of it already. I think I must be buzzword intolerant.

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