Web 2.0: Something's Missing

To some (small) extent, you can think of web 2.0 as the sudden realization that:

'hey! with Ajax we can build the entire Office suite online!'

There's lots of contenders to replace and extend many apps/features of the Office Suite:

  • Word -- writely and a hundred others...
  • Outlook -- gmail and a hundred others...
  • Excel -- numsum and a hundred others...
  • Calendars -- kiko and a million others...
  • Powerpoint -- s5 and a few others...
  • IM -- meebo and a few others...
  • One-note -- webnote and millions more...
  • even Visio! -- gliffy and probably some others...

But there's one glaring ommission. One of the most influential parts of Office seems to have evaded web 2.0 completely. (and no, I don't mean clippy)

(continues...)

What's missing is the modern-day internet-native replacement for...

MS Access!

Yes, that's right. Scourge of the development world that is, there's no denying that MS Access (and its contempories like FileMaker Pro) provided an incredible ability for non-experts to instantly turn their business cases into working applications.

Here's a simple definition of Access, that we can use to try and envisage a Web 2.0 replacement for it:

Access is a self-contained two-tier application (forms and database) that lets non-developers quickly build and deploy their own self-contained two-tier applications.

So I think a Web 2.0 version of access would be:

[Access for Web 2.0] would be a self-contained web-application (web-forms and database) that lets non-developers quickly build and deploy their own self-contained two-tier web-applications.

Your thinking game for today:

envisage a self-contained web application (web-forms and database) that lets non-developers quickly build and deploy their own self-contained two-tier web-applications

Limitations to be overcome:

To help with your ideas, maybe it should overcome the following limitations of Access:

  • Low tolerance for simultaneous users
  • Database can be suddenly corrupted
  • Difficulty of integrating source/version control
  • Inability to script the creation of access db's through DDL
  • End users eventually learn to recognise an Access application and they seize up and start crying rather than touching it. As do developers.
 

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