Emerging Web OSes Will Need a Standard API

Yesterday I blogged about a product that appears to define an entirely new product category; not a new idea, just one that no one's been successful in bringing to market yet. But the on-line demo of YouOS demonstrated succinctly one of the major drawbacks of a web-based desktop: network downtime.

This may be partly why a viable Web OS hasn't emerged (with the possible exception of YouOS, maybe - I can't really comment until I've seen it working!). A more likely reason, though, is that the (pre-Ajax) web UI hasn't been up to the job, until now.

Another issue that I can see emerging with web OSes is one of standards fragmentation. Just as with any burgeoning Web 2.0 idea, we can expect to see a hysteria-driven land-grab as tech startups with exciting and unpronounceable names spontaneously ping into existence and announce their own competing web OSes. The one that eventually gets to lock the most vendors and users in with its proprietary APIs will be the winner, unfortunately.

What's needed, then, is some pretty snappy standardization in this emerging area. So can we expect to see a web OS JavaScript API standard from W3C anytime soon? Best not hold your breath.

About the Author

Matt Stephens is a senior architect, programmer and project leader based in Central London. He co-wrote Agile Development with ICONIX Process, Extreme Programming Refactored, and Use Case Driven Object Modeling with UML - Theory and Practice.

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