Tuesday, September 18, 2007

GMail, Lotus 1-2-3, and why history repeats itself

Joel Spolsky just posted a brilliant article about software optimization, the downfall of established giants (such as Lotus 1-2-3 in the 80s), and why history is prone to repeat itself in front of our very eyes.

Those of us who were around in the software industry in the 80s will become dreamy-eyed as we think back to the "golden age" of computing and nod in agreement. And all you youngsters should read this very carefully, because history can ineeed teach an important lesson here!

I almost agree 100% with Joel, but would point out one additional aspect that he has overlooked: the browser isn't static, and so it's not just about inventing a "NewSDK" with JIT-compiler for JavaScript and better AJAX apps. The new paradigm (i.e. NewSDK) that will sweep away all current Web 2.0 apps could also come from those that provide the browser (e.g. Microsoft), and its predecessor could be under our very nose today in the form of XAML, Silverlight, etc.

1 comment:

D. Himes said...

Ah, such is the "innovator's dilemma." Heck, it's hard to even predict what the driving force will be behind the displacing technology. We all know how hard many-body problems are to solve. For example, as I was driving my kids to school this morning, I was discussing the new (to them) emphasis on literacy. The challenge is: define literacy for the next ten years. The writing style for a 5 page thesis is different from that of a 2 minute podcast. What will they need? What are the forces at work here?