Web 2.0: Something's Missing
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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.




'Daniel' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 01:49:17 GMT, sez:

Hmm, well there's Google Base, but that's only a small part of the picture, I suppose.



'Mike Gale' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 01:53:59 GMT, sez:

I never took them seriously, but there have been web front ends that let you add tables and fields, plus list the table.

Some versions I played with (years ago) could (I think) interface with different databases.

I know Google had something along these lines under beta. I saw some reports on performance and tuned it out. (Pre-Alpha...)

So an Enterprise Manager type application has been done several times. (It's not hard to write your own.)

I guess with an XCopyable SQL Server Express or similar database it's also got performance advantages.

Then you can always use a schema file and csv to achieve similar functionality without a "real database" at all.

(I also think that Web 2 doesn't exist, other than as a label.)



'Dan F' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 02:02:58 GMT, sez:

DabbleDB could be seen as an online access I suppose. The main difference is it shields the end user from data types, form design. Worth a look at though, funky little product.



'Rik Hemsley' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 06:39:11 GMT, sez:

You forgot:

Inability to process more than one line of SQL at a time.



'Bob Balfe' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 14:17:36 GMT, sez:

That is because Lotus Notes replaced it 10 years ago.



'Hermann Klinke' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 18:33:05 GMT, sez:

Zoho Creater replaced Access for me. It also meets your definition of Access and a Web 2.0 Access.



'lb' on Mon, 17 Jul 2006 20:59:44 GMT, sez:

DabbleDB and Zoho Creater are both interesting apps. Thanks for the links Dan.F and H.Klinke

I wonder if lotus notes is able to provide the kind of browser-based application and database design that i'm imagining here. i doubt it, but i'm no notes guru.



'Eric D. Burdo' on Tue, 18 Jul 2006 09:44:51 GMT, sez:

It has been about 5 years now since I worked with Lotus Notes (or Lotus Bloats as we used to call it).

But the app was nowhere near as newbie friendly as Access is. Notes had a much higher learning curve. But, it did handle the multiple users better than Access.



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