The World Wide Web in other words

Michael Alexander

Vodafone launched a portal in 2002 for mobile phone users that served up headlines, ring tones, vid games and later, MP3s. Eventually 35 million people gravitated to the site, so you would think that the portal was an unequivocal success, but you would be wrong, writes Alan Joch, in this month's cover story. Screens on handsets are small, and having to scroll through menus to find the right stuff was a turnoff for many users. So, in 2004, Vodafone turned to Semantic Web technology to add leading-edge search capabilities to its service. The result? Vodafone saw a 50-percent drop in the number of page views site visitors logged before downloading content and a 20 percent hike in sales.

Online service providers are competing for the attention of third-party app developers, and it's not hard to see why that is. In looking into this story, John Waters found that although their business models differ, eBay, Amazon, Google and Yahoo know that developers can customize their sites in unique ways that provide a bottom-line value and competitive advantage.

Everyone these days is looking for search capabilities that can enhance the value of existing apps, power new apps and minimize the frustration of end users accustomed to the simplicity of search engines such as Google. Alan Earls reports that vendors, some new, some familiar, are obliging with an array of products.

Also in this issue, Paul Korzeniowski reports on the unfulfilled promise of running apps on a grid, and Alan Radding looks into SOA tools for our special report. Developers will continue to use their Java IDE, C++ and other tools, Radding writes. What's new is how app dev for SOA expands the idea of who builds apps.

About the Author

Michael Alexander is editor-in-chief of Application Development Trends.