There is a new, global DIY do-it-yourself revolution happening.
My new favorite magazine is Make, http://makezine.com which is a
wonderfully screwball journal of hacks–e.g. “open source cars”–that
is totally fun and inspiring. In a way, Make summarizes for me what is
going on around the world as the number of educated, creative people
expands dramatically–reaching into at least the hundreds of millions
In information and communication technology, DIY do-it-yourself
revolution is expressing itself, and enabling itself, through
do-it-yourself open superservices made available on the web–and a
massive, parallel expansion in the number of individuals who are using
these superservices to create new applications, many of which are in
turn made available as new superservices. These are “DIY services” or better, “DIY Superservices.”
These services are super in many ways, including:
Web superservices are capable in theory–and sometimes in
practice–of scaling to serve large numbers of users and transactions.
Web superservices can be created by anyone with access to the web.
Web superservices are open to all users across the planet.
Superservices are user scriptable in most instances. Users can
combine services into networks of intwined inputs and outputs, creating
service clusters that are far more valuable than the sum of their
parts. User-created hacks and mash-ups are becoming commonplace.
Web superservices reflect the imaginations of their developers, and
are not forced into any typology, registray, or typing system.
DIY Superservices are not traditional corporate web services
Thus while superservices exist on the web, and they are services, and they take
inspiration from traditional web services, superservices have sprung
free and are fast evolving into something very different from their
Traditional web services were tightly typed and constrained by the
typology within which
they were developed. Traditional web services are of necessity
sponsored by large corporation because only a powerful economic entity
can fund the design of a grand service typology, enforce a complex
implementation of typing, and establish the training and tools and
conferences and other institutions needed to establish a community of
developers willing to work together under a particular framework.
This is why there is really no competition in web services to the two
corporate enties, Java, supported by Sun, and .net from Microsoft.
The new world of web superservices has no
such limitations. Web superservices are by design only minimally
or loosely typed, in order to promote the freedom of developers to
imagine what they will. This is the big idea. The less typing the
better. The less change in the basic standards–for example, URLs and
RSS–the better. Loose typing promotes community participation.
For those who are “Snow Crash” fans, the new world of
superservices is more akin to the Metaverse, Stephenson’s imagined
digital city that has no boundaries, and allows every hacker to build
whatever house or building he or she desires. The city expands
without limit as new structures are built on open ground at its edges,
edges move out to encompass more territory.
Infrastrurcture in the metaverse springs up like a-list bloggers in the bloggosphere. Certain nightclubs
become central gathering places. Roads and corridors lace
through the Metaverse, traversed by motercycles that could travel at
nearly infinite speeds.
Fifteen reasons why DYI Web Superservices will transform the landscape
Many people observe that we are in the fastest information and
communication technology market yet seen. Why is this so?
Here, for your consideration, are some things I have observed about the
virtual world that is emerging around us:
1. We are planting and cultivating a new open ecology of web superservices. Or perhaps we are joining together
to build a Metaverse in
Stephenson’s sense. In any case, expanding participation is rule number
one of our new world. Open ecologies are inherently complicated,
combinations of counter-intuitive relationships. Thus wild open
ecologies, when they have the conditions to take off, always outrace
more structured forms of cultivation. Do you have to plant
weeds? What happens when weeds meet your garden? Which
ecological form of organization wins if you don’t intervene?
See del.icio.us as an open planetary web superservice.
del.icio.us, for example, to explore a small but potentially interesting pool.
This command causes the Google machinery to perform a search and render the results in a particular manner.
4. “Pull” relationships among services have now become powerfully
generalized. We live in a pull universe. Open pull has
become the default way to design access to a new web
superservice. The simplest and most powerful version of this is
the RSS file, where an application such as blog content manager creates
a version of the blog content as any one of a number of XML dialects,
and then deposits that file in a folder that is open to the whole web,
and thus can be reached by a URL “command line” and pulled out for use
See my file for this blog.
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