Jessie Stay over at Staynalive brings up the idea of the Lego internet, where large companies are busy making widgets, API’s and other building blocks that designers and developers can leverage in their own applications. Jessie mentions that the Building Block internet might just be a way to visualize Web 3.0 which is not a bad way of looking at the world, or how applications are developed.
We teach code designers to reuse code, we have libraries as DLL’s and other segments that allow developers to call on things that have been done so many times that they are standards of how work is done. Building blocks are also easier on information security, there is less to look at, and you are looking more at the implementation of the code segment rather than the already reviewed DLL or code library (that should have undergone security testing already).
The idea makes a lot of sense when it comes right down to it, but with all the problems with back end data providers lately and how this is taking a toll on the public perception of cloud computing (no matter what the issue is, the popular press keeps on pinging cloud computing for this) and the worry that all that hard worked data is going to suddenly get vaporized is going to slow down the adoption of any building block internet.
The only way that the building block internet is going to work out is if the companies that make the widgets, API’s and other things we build our sites on understand and deliver a consistent SLA. We joke about the Fail Whale of Twitter; we also seriously discuss those random changes in twitter, and how people code the API and how communication needs to happen. For a robust eco system, there has to be a coordinated effort between the developers, the company, and an agreement as to how changes will be communicated and implemented. There also has to be an agreement on how services will be delivered, consumed and discarded. The even harder part will be service, we might joke about the “fail whale” but when the government has to ask twitter to stay up because of something happening in Iran, the delivery of services becomes critical.
Which brings us to the one thing that will kill the Lego building block internet; it will be all about service and how service is perceived by the end user. Would anyone have trusted Facebook Connect four years ago and would anyone trust a MySpace connect now? If a service provider (and if you are providing a widget or an API, you are a service provider) fails, then it becomes a problem for the entire ecosystem that is build around that service. If the service becomes unreliable, then people will flee the ecosystem. Even a hint that a service provider is not reliable will cause adoption issues.
Right now developers are looking only at the big systems, Facebook, Google, and Twitter (even with its track record Twitter has been compelling) to build their eco systems around. Much like people built applications based on the Linux, Apple or Windows eco systems, people are focusing on the major systems because they have a longer staying power and a better chance of survival over time. When someone is building something on your API, widget or infrastructure, being 99.999% available is critical, anything less means that the developer or the company quickly loses credibility. Companies need to address the SLA issues first, and then the Lego building block internet might be something that many companies can participate in.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Maturing Twitter evolves its terms of service (vator.tv)
- MySpace plays catchup to Facebook’s open-source tools (venturebeat.com)
- Google and Microsoft in twalks to license twitter data to improve search results (thenextweb.com)
- Twitter changes Terms of Service, learns from Facebook – it’s all in the wording (thenextweb.com)
- Interviews, Unemployment, and The Cloud (punkrockhr.com)
(Cross-posted @ TechWag)