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Web-based Computing

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22-1-05 Internet Operating System
The Internet itself is, in effect, becoming a giant software platform. As tech publisher and pundit Tim O'Reilly puts it, "The real race over the next decade will be over who puts together the operating system for the Internet." However, unlike the Windows PC operating system -- which acts as a translator between software applications, peripheral devices, and the PC's hardware -- an Internet operating system would act as a translator between different databases on the Net. These databases are already becoming the foundation for the latest Web-based software.

New applications are possible because more websites are being written in a programming language called XML which is much more rich with data than its predecessor HTML, XML allows you to strip the underlying data away from the visual presentation of that data, mix it with data from another source, and then present it again any way (and anywhere) you want.

Thanks to XML, there will soon be no practical limit to the data and content that software and website developers can take advantage of. For consumers, this promises a far richer Web experience. But for businesses and software developers, it also promises a whole new set of headaches.

Each data source requires its own application programming interface.
If you are drawing from dozens of data sources, keeping track of every time one of them changes its API could easily become overwhelming. Here's where an Internet operating system could come in handy: It could manage the translation between all the moving parts. Top

An Internet operating system could keep those APIs updated, enabling software developers to focus on doing new and interesting things with all of the data instead of spending their time figuring out how to access it. This would be analogous to how the Windows operating system incorporates the drivers for peripheral devices like printers, monitors, and digital cameras. (In computer parlance, a driver is a set of instructions that lets a software program control a peripheral device.) Marc Andreessen once dismissively said, "Windows is just a bag of drivers." And that's true. "But a bag of drivers is a very powerful thing," O'Reilly points out. By incorporating the drivers for hundreds of peripheral devices into Windows, Microsoft saved PC software developers the hassle of including all of those drivers in each new PC program. Top

CES-bericht 7-1-06
Reported members of Google Pack include the Firefox Internet browser, a version of Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software, Adobe System's Reader, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, Cerulean Studios' Trillian instant-messaging software and Lavasoft AB's Ad-Aware antispyware software.

Pack will also include a heavy dose of Google, including its desktop search software, satellite and mapping software, photo management software, instant messaging application, toolbar for Web browsers and screen saver software.

Google apparently didn't include word processing and spreadsheet applications in its bundle, but there are Web-based alternatives to Microsoft Word out there that might partner later with the Goog. Plus, the company has its nascent partnership with Sun Microsystems and its StarOffice suite.

Google will also participate in a "bundle" of consumer software that will be offered free over the internet, marking an attempt by Microsoft rivals to cement their position on the PC desktop before the launch of the next version of the Windows operating system.

"I can imagine an operating system that some day does a better job storing your data, using (a) network," Mayer said in a barb clearly aimed at Microsoft. Top

Een website die niet dynamisch is bestaat uit een verzameling van HTML pagina's. Een webapplicatie die gemaakt is in ASP.NET bestaat in principe uit een verzameling ASP.NET pagina's. Wanneer een ASP.NET pagina opgevraagd wordt met een webbrowser, dan wordt de ASP.NET pagina eerst op de webserver uitgevoerd en wordt het resultaat naar de webbrowser teruggestuurd. Dit resultaat is gewone HTML dat door iedere webbrowser weergegeven kan worden. Dit betekent dat er voor een webbrowser geen verschil bestaat tussen een website die uit HTML pagina's bestaat en een website die uit ASP.NET pagina's bestaat. De webbrowser hoeft dus alleen HTML weer te geven, en u hoeft dus geen extra software te installeren om een ASP.NET pagina te bekijken. Omdat een pagina elke keer dat deze opgevraagd wordt opnieuw HTML genereert, kan het resultaat van de pagina keer op keer verschillen. Die verschillen kunnen bijvoorbeeld het gevolg zijn van keuzes die door de gebruiker gemaakt zijn, of omdat sinds de vorige keer dat de pagina werd opgevraagd gegevens uit een gegevensbron veranderd zijn. Als een pagina een formulier bevat waar een gebruiker gegevens in in kan vullen, dan kunnen die gegevens gebruikt worden om bijvoorbeeld een gegevensbron te wijzigen, een email te versturen, of iets op te zoeken. Door een aaneenschakeling van pagina's ontstaat zo een applicatie die te vergelijken is met applicaties die op uw eigen systeem werken. De pagina's vervullen daarin de rol van vensters in een 'normale' applicatie. Top

Webapplicaties bestaan uit meer dan HTML alleen. HTML verzorgt over het algemeen wel het uiterlijk, maar meer kan het ook niet, want het is alleen bedoeld om pagina's op te maken. Voor een webapplicatie is daarom ook een platform nodig waarop de functionaliteit ontwikkeld en uitgevoerd kan worden, en ASP.NET is zo'n platform. Het is ontwikkeld door Microsoft als opvolger van Active Server Pages (ASP), dat in 1997 ge´ntroduceerd werd. ASP.NET is echter tot veel meer in staat dan ASP en is bovendien veel makkelijker te gebruiken.


"Software as a service" is a term for Web-based, hosted software--which can reduce ownership costs, implementation risks and IT resource needs.

Subscribers can simply use a Web browser to access the service through a private, secure connection. Top

Google will provide:
Writely, a collaborative word processor that runs in a browser

9:40 17-6-06
If you don't want to wait for Google, a similar browser application is already available called Zoho Writer at zohowriter.com (I wrote most of this article on Zoho with as much ease as writing with Microsoft Word.) Writeboard (writeboard) is a competitor. Another program, called Ajax Write (ajaxwrite), lacks the spell checking and word count functions that Word has taught us to rely upon.

7:18 25-6-06
By pursuing Web-based applications, Maritz is pursuing the same notion as Google and Yahoo! . Those companies are rolling out new applications like word processors, spreadsheets and calendaring, where the information is stored on the Web and accessed and modified through a browser.

"The battle is shifting beyond Windows and Linux," he says. "Google isn't concerned about what executes down on the client machine, whether it's Windows or Linux. The action has moved up a level. The real innovation in software is not occurring in the context of the 1980s and 1990s PC. It's occurring in applications that reside in the broader Web. The interesting innovations are going to occur around different ways to organize and share and access information." Top

Maritz worked at Microsoft from 1986 to 2000, an era that saw the incredible rise of Windows, which today powers 95% of the world's desktop PCs. He says that while he is proud of Windows, the environment has run up against its limitations.

"There was a platform that gave birth to a huge economic community, and I take satisfaction in having done the enabling technology that let so many people do interesting things," he says. "But things move on. There is always a more interesting and better way of doing things."

Maritz views PI as part of a sea change that is sweeping across the computer industry, driven by access to high-speed network bandwidth at low cost.

"Windows was enabled by this amazing gift from the hardware community of virtually free computing cycles from the microprocessor," he says. "Now technology is giving us another such gift: ubiquitous bandwidth. And we can once again use that gift to do things in a more satisfying way. Just like the PC was more satisfying than the minicomputer. Now we need to rethink things again."

And as the technology is changing, so are business models, as companies like Google try to find ways to make money by providing applications over the Internet. Top


10-8-06 AOL said Wednesday it will make personalized e-mail domains available for free to all Internet users beginning next month.

The My eAddress service will be available in September at www.aol.com.