People like Tim O’Reilly and Jon Udell are “internet trend-makers” just as much as Microsoft and IBM are. In his weblog on June 18 2002, Tim O’Reilly writes that their vision of web services is that they create a loosely coupled architecture in which people could build new functionality out of small, independent tools. O’Reilly looks back at the (short) history of web services, and writes about the early days (two years ago): “But I was disappointed to see that web services seemed to go off into an enterprise black hole (what Clay Shirky calls EDI++), rather than becoming the freewheeling next generation internet programming and power user environment that Jon and I had imagined.”
O’Reilly argues that web services should be seen as disruptive innovations: “Innovation will come from APIs that support “unintended consequences”. As Bill Joy likes to say, ‘All the smart people don’t work for us.’ Giving developers a playground extends your development staff, bringing in new ideas and features at the same time as it builds your brand and image. ”
Loosely coupled architecture allowing for disruptive innovations. What a great concept!
Just as Cluetrain Manifesto co-authour David Weinberger’s concept of the web being small pieces loosely joined is a great concept, mainly because he brings in the human perspective on the web: “the Web is binding not just pages but us human beings in new ways. We are the true “small pieces” of the Web, and we are loosely joining ourselves in ways that we’re still inventing.”
Googling around, I found LooselyCoupled.com, “the entry-point to a family of websites providing comment, news and resources on the use of loosely coupled web services to automate online business services,” which is definately a site to watch.
Agile as I am (or like to think I am … :-), I’ve also put together another example of small pieces loosely joined: My
favorite blogs monitor is a (RESTful) web service, where I grab my blo.gs XML/RSS-feed and runs it through an XNL-parser for presentation. The blo-gs feed itself is using weblogs.com‘s feeds, which consists of lists with sites pinging weblogs.com. Hence I have a dynamic blogroll, since the most recently updated of my favorite blogs comes up on top of the list. Since it runs live queries it is a bit slow at the moment (I think others than me use blo.gs! (what a fantastic domain name, BTW).