By now, it should be clear to everyone that the future of the Web is mobile devices, social networking, and linked data. Although this realization did not come to me until I attended the World Wide Web Conference (WWW2009) in Madrid, Spain, at the end of April. Several keynote speakers, tutorials/workshops, and dedicated tracks and sessions emphasized this fact. I’ll say a few word on each of the three pillars:
As Sir Tim Burners-Lee said in his keynote presentation: “more people will have their first encounter with the Web through a mobile device than a laptop.” The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has task forces and standards to promote and standardize the mobile Web. They’ve been doing it for years, but only now that people are listening seriously because it is already happening.
What this means to the Web community is that Web sites should have a mobile version that conforms to standards and guidelines and works well on mobile devices.
It is a given that social networks are taking over the Web. But that’s not what “the future of the Web is social networking” means. Social networking on the Web refers to enabling the end users to interact with each other on your Web site. Without this interaction, your site will fail to deliver the expected value by the growing savvy Web population.
The Semantic Web is dubbed as Web 3.0. Many believe that a widespread of the Semantic Web is at least a decade away. Linked Data, on the hand, is already a reality. Linked data consists of the now-feasible subset of the Semantic Web. At the very basic level, it is RDF + URI: a common data representation format and standard for addressing and linking data items. The academic community emphasizes the important of Linked Open Data – making your proprietary databases accessible on the Web in the Linked Data format. This movement is new but strong. Many tools are being developed to facilitate the transition to Linked Data for the masses.
In short, as a Web site owner, if you want to survive on the Web for the years to come, you better ensure that your site is accessible from mobile devices, that you facilitate social interaction among your users, and that your data is open and linked, and linkable.
Thanks to Christopher Gutteridge for this wonderful tool to search and browse the WWW2009 proceedings.