How "open" is the open web today?

"Openness"is the heavily used term in the current tech era. It has its roots penetrated into several areas like mobile/consumer electronics markets, data protectionism, open source platforms etc. While the debate on who is the openest of them all is a never ending battle, with respect to web technologies,developers are seeing  positive trends.Here are some of my observations:

 

(1) The open web platform:

It is a collectionof web technologies which W3C and other bodies have put forward. It includes HTML5 markup, CSS3, SVG, ECMAScript, Web Storage, IndexedDB, Web workers,Microdata, Geolocation API, XMLHttpRequest and more.. Ever since HTML5 became the buzz word, there was lot of hazzle in forums over HTML5, flash, silverlight. It is interesting to note that the biggies are voting for open web, apart from pushing their own RIAs, a win-win for both communities.

 

(2) HTML5, the jewel of open web:

Unless developers are living in the age of dinosaurs, the term HTML5 should dance on their lips and finger tips. WHATWG's recent announcement that "HTML is the new HTML5" itself indicates the shift to openness. The idea of not versioning markup and leaving it as a living document reveals means- there are so many things happening in the open specifications and there is no definite point in timewhere "everything is done". 

 

HTML5 might still bethe marketing term (along with the new logo), but it will remain as HTML to the developers heart. For me (andhopefully for every developer), this is openness not just in technology butalso in heart and soul :)

 

(3) The open web stack:

This is one areawhich I'm very much interested. This forms the foundation for the way different web APIs talk to each other, Openly. In simple words, if you build a mashup with twitter API, you are locked in twitter. Similar is the case with any otherAPI, which is incompatible with each other by design.

 

As of now, there is NO open way for building mashups and developer needs to start from scratch forevery mashup he builds. Hopefully, OpenStack will fill this gap with several open protcols like OpenId, Oauth, XRDS, Activity streams, Portable contacts, OpenSocial etc. The unresolved issues like privacy, user's control over data could possibly dealt with common agreement over the open web stack.

 

(4) The Zuckerberg saga:

For a layman, Web2.0 may not be a catchy terminology, but they are using every feature of Web2.0 with Facebook. In a way, Facebook is "Humanizing" the web2.0 revolution, bringing it into everyone's life. Through itss RSS (news feeds),mashups (content aggregation), widgets, personalization, collaboration,  using oAuth/Open Id etc,  Facebook has shown the web2.0 taste to its~600 million users. This,  I strongly believe is a result of deciding to be open(though there are some gaps in FB's open strategy).

 

(5) The Open data movement:

This, I'm sure will take lot of time to evolve, since it is not just about technology but it is also about mindset of people. The open data movement is all about 'put yourdata on the web and make it open' and this involves governemnt, scientific,academic or whatsoever data. This can be used by people to come up with amazingly useful mashups.

 

UK government's launch of open data, people's ideas to it is an excellent demonstration of this. My friend Thejesh has put commendable effort on this, working with Indian Governent. I strongly sense that Aadhaar will play a crucial role inOpen data movement in India and would love to contribute to it.

 

These have been my observations and learnings in the past one month, where I had a chance toattend 5 good International conferences and interact with awesome people. Am loving it :) Do share your ideas on the same.