Highlighted posts

Gardens?I’ve highlighted these posts as a short introduction to the things I write and think about. If you have any questions or feedback about anything you’ve read, feel free to leave a comment, or get in touch.

Building the user-centered web is a manifesto of sorts, and summary of my thinking about the future of the web.

The Internet is People
It’s not a series of tubes or a really big truck; it’s just people who need to connect and collaborate. The actual technologies will change over time, but the needs and the underlying social mechanisms are human. Also see Making the most of the web, right now, which is a simple set of principles I use with my clients.

Social networking: beyond the silo
I believe very strongly in a decentralized, open social web. Rather than the social networking silos that we have now (Facebook, Twitter, etc), social connections should work how the web does: in an open, content agnostic way. Who I link to, and what I share with them, should be dictated by my choices, not which site I choose to use. In WordPress Multi User and ad hoc communities I expand on this to talk about transient communities – collaborative spaces that only need to exist for a short time.

User control on the open web
The open, social web can only work if users have full control over their data. Also see How social networks can replace email, Activity Streams and OAuth: a social web architecture and Direct messaging in a social web architecture.

So why do we need apps anyway?
An argument for standards and open technologies instead of proprietary apps for the likes of the iPhone.

Gender differences on the new frontier
There’s a massive gender gap in computer science and software engineering, which presents a problem. The web is a democratizing medium that is finding its way into all kinds of important facets of our lives – but how can it adequately do this if its design choices are being made by a tiny subset of its users?

The Open Stack and truly open APIs
Apparent openness can be a smokescreen for client lock-in and walled garden business models. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – the glue between services on the new, modular web – tend to be written specifically for each service, which hinders a software ecosystem around niche web applications. Open, generic API standards that can be embraced by multiple sites are the future.

XMPP: powering the real time, really live web
What we think of as the web – asynchronous discussion and content, usually stored indefinitely – is being redefined by new technologies. Real-time collaboration tools are becoming a reality, and have implications for how we do business on the Internet.