Welcome to the Enterprise Web 2.0

Welcome to the Enterprise Web 2.0

Summary: The convergence of Web 2.0, software services, SOA and enterprise computing is gathering pace, but overcoming the obstacles will take a lot of knowledge sharing.

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TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0
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It's difficult and dangerous to ignore an idea that has started to gain the momentum and velocity of a speeding express train. For the past few months I've been writing about something I've called Web 3.0 — a convergence of mashups, on-demand applications and service-oriented architectures with enterprise computing.

This week the crashing sound of that convergence has become overwhelming here on ZDNet's family of bloggers.Bringing these answers together will mean breaking down some hefty barriers First Joe McKendrick in his SOA blog came up with the nifty phrase, mashups as a service (MaaS). Then Dion Hinchcliffe, probably the most inspired writer on this topic, joined the ZDNet blogging community with a new Enterprise Web 2.0 blog, dedicated to commenting on the "fundamental shift in software and user experience" brought on by the convergence of Web 2.0 with enterprise computing. Welcome, Dion.

It seems the notion of enterprise mashups has taken hold just in the past few weeks. Now Dion sounds an interesting note in his first posting here on ZDNet:

"... just about any examination of the vibrant, integrated service ecosystem of the Web invariably makes SOA and EAI appear far too rigid and slow-moving in comparison. Once you see a much better way to do something, you can't wait to start."

You know what this reminds me of? Back in the early days of Web 1.0, when enterprise software vendors pursued tortuous roadmaps to 'web-enable' their existing catalogs of applications, CEOs started to ask, "Why is it so hard to get hold of information about how my company is running when my teenage daughter can instantly bring up the answers she needs for her homework just by tapping queries into a search engine?"

How long is it going to be before CEOs start asking the same question, not about information this time, but about functionality? "Why does my billion-dollar organisation take six months to change a business process or implement a new capability when my sixteen-year-old son can set up a new business on the Web in a few hours?"

The obstacles, of course, are factors like security, reliability, scalability and commercial accountability — the factors that represent the difference between Web 2.0 as it now stands and the vision of what I still want to call Web 3.0 as it needs to be to win the confidence of enterprise users. What's fascinating is that the answers to overcoming these obstacles are all there, but some of them are rooted in the practical experiences learned over the past few years in the on-demand space, some of them are emerging among early adopters of SOA, and others lurk within the annals of enterprise computing. Bringing them together will mean breaking down some hefty barriers.

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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7 comments
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  • Buzzword Fatigue

    Seriously, am I the only one who is suffering from serious buzzword fatigue? IT vendors and managers need to start speaking in plain english about real ROI - for example it would be great to see more about how Web 3.0 and "Mashups as a Service" delivers value to an organization.

    We've all been down the buzzword bingo road back in the 90's and it's interesting to see the same pattern repeating.
    mndoc
  • 16 year-old designed Web sites...

    I know a lot of 16 year-olds that can design some awesome Web sites, too, but they would in no way ever design one for a company (nor would the company want them to!).

    This mashup idea looks good on paper, but it's just not ready for primetime. And any company that jumps on this is just asking for trouble. There is a ton of hype around this, which should be a leading indicator of how bubble-ish this Web 2.0 really is.

    Unfortunately, it looks like most of the ZDNet writers have bubble flu. They are quite delerious with these ideas and are still sick enough not to see with clear vision that this is not the next killer app.
    Paul C.
  • ZDNet bloggers are not the real world

    "This week the crashing sound of that convergence has become overwhelming here on ZDNet's family of bloggers."

    Mr. Wainwright seems to conflate buzz in the ZDNet blogs with reality. The reality is that the "ancient" "Web 1.0" STILL does not work well. Once again, the iron fist of Real Life intervenes here. Trying to get "Web 2.0" or "Web 3.0" off the ground when a major web site like ZDNet cannot get their blog comment system working correctly, and major SaaS vendors like Salesforce.com cannot stay up for more than a week at a time is like trying to built a car to do a 300 MPH Bonneville run, when it can't even cruise on the highway.

    I find it amazing that ZDNet writers and the world in general jump all over traditional software manufacturers (particularly Microsoft) for releasing update after update to products that introduce new features while the core product stinks, but then celebrate this exact same practice if the bits travel via HTTP. It's this kind of thinking that makes it a "good thing" that Google may release on OS, even though core products have been in beta for years (would you want to run Windows Vista Beta as your primary machine? Or even a Linux or BSD beta?). Then why in the world do you think that a Google OS is a good idea? They cannot get anything out of beta!

    I would say that at least 50% of web applications are insecure and can be broken or hacked within thirty minutes by someone who knows little more than a few basic techniques such as a SQL injection attack and knowledge of common buffer underruns, like the recent problem with Perl sprintf. Why? Because Web development is all about "now! now! now!" and not about "right!"

    Here is a great example:
    The company I currently work for developed a web application for [mid-sized public pharmecutical company] before I was hired. I was asked to make some changes to it. Seeing the deep flaws in the code, I explained that I would need 3 - 4 weeks to re-write the code from the ground up to enhance system stability and security (it is valunerable to SQL injection attacks, for starters). I was told to make the fixes in the "next version". We are now three versions later, and the problems are still there. Because the customer is used to us turning around changes to this product in a week, they turn green when I tell them I want 3 - 4 weeks, under the premise that "none of the people using this application know how to do something like that." Funny, none of the people who lived me with a few years ago would steal something from me, but that didn't prevent someone from breaking a window and robbing me blind.

    This is the mentality that these glorious ZDNet bloggers that are all gaga over "Web 2.0", "Web 3.0", AJAX, etc. promote: who cares if it works, as long as it looks good! What if the restaurant behaved this way? "Who cares if the steak is cooked, as long as it is brown on the outside and has grill marks"? They'd be put out of business by the health department. What if Ford or GM build a car like this? "Who cares if the seat belts tighten in a crash, as long as they buckle right no one will notice." Building designers: "well, one good gale force wind will knock it down, but wow, the marble in the lobby looks sharp!" This is what you people promote, and the world is worse of for it.

    J.Ja
    Justin James
    • I fully concur

      with this post. ZD Net bloggers would do themselves a real serivce by taking a look at the real-world bailing wire and duct tape that's going on in IT instead of promulgating the hawkings of stock options-crazed industry mouthpieces.
      sduraybito
    • Please!!!

      You miss the point at every step of the way. The writers have to live at the "bleeding edge". They are not driving the trend, they are reporting on it.

      Unfortunately (and obviously from your comments about application development) you have a long way to go in the elementary stages of app development before you would be ready to move into the newer environments.

      Really - SQL injection problems? Where have you been for last 15 years. Nobody has those issues anymore. No wonder you've done 3 versions and still haven't gotten it right.

      The Kid
      no_axe_to__grind
      • Umm, not quote dude

        "Unfortunately (and obviously from your comments about application development) you have a long way to go in the elementary stages of app development before you would be ready to move into the newer environments."

        That's funny. I've been doing Web dev since '97 or so.

        "Really - SQL injection problems? Where have you been for last 15 years. Nobody has those issues anymore. No wonder you've done 3 versions and still haven't gotten it right."

        Once again, you failed to read. I did not write the original application. It is riddled with problems like this. It was written incorrectly from day 1. The multiple versions are a result of the customer changing their business rules, not due to any actual flaws. In the last two versions that I wrote, the customer has not encountered a single error or flaw in their production environment. I would have to say that is pretty good.

        The fact that you think that SQL injection isn't a problem anymore tells me that you probably work at a place with multiple coders or maybe a decent Q/A or code review process. Get into a smaller shop with a lot of self-taught people, you will see some truly horrorshow code. SQL injection attacks exist anywhere that there is a coder who simply passes a SQL statement to a database without properly parameterizing it, HTML encoding, etc. If you take someone who has done no application development, but has a lot of database experience, this seems like a perfectly normal and natural way of doing things. If someone is lazy, this seems like the quickest, easiest way of doing things. If you just quickly scan the docs and have zero education, this seems like the only way of doing things.

        Heck, I worked (back in 2001/2002) in a development team at one of the top 5 pharmeceutical companies in the world. Out of that team of EIGHT coders, I was the only one who was not simply taking direct HTTP GET and POST data, appending it into a WHERE clause and calling it "done".

        J.Ja
        Justin James
  • what is more annoying / scary

    "How long is it going to be before CEOs start asking the same question, not about information this time, but about functionality? 'Why does my billion-dollar organisation take six months to change a business process or implement a new capability when my sixteen-year-old son can set up a new business on the Web in a few hours?' "


    What is more annoying (or scary depending on your point of view) is that we actually have CEOs (making obscene 7 and 8 figure salaries) that cannot tell the difference between their business and something their 16-year-old kid threw up in few hours on the web. You would think that it would be intuitively obvious that there are major differences between the needs of a billion dollar enterprise trying to do business globally in 20 different languages, and the needs of some nerdy kid trying to score some beer money selling off his t-shirt and "etchings" collection. But I guess the lofty heights of the penthouse quite deprives these folks of the oxygen necessary to make these intuitive insights. It's a good thing their buddies on the board of directors made sure they can retire handsomely to their own island in the Caribbean, eh?
    ttocsmij