What’s the opposite of the Web 2.0 architecture?

Dave Winer was nice enough to respond to my question:

So what do you call this architecture where your data is on your site, running the code you want, with your own terms

with a full blog post titled My Architecture is called RSS.  I guess I should have seen this coming ;-) but I meant to ask a question broader than about syndication and data formats.

To explain, let me compare and contrast the architecture I have in mind to the state of the art on the web, which, for lack of a better term, I’m going to call Web 2.0.

  Web 2.0 architecture The “other” (better!) architecture
Where? At some big internet company’s site, like facebook.com At my own domain, hosted by a hosting provider, physical or virtual hardware provider of my choice.
Data is: Whatever BigCo lets me and makes me store there Whatever I decide to store
Sharing: Whatever BigCo decides to share of my data (some, but not all, of which I can influence with their privacy settings) Whatever I decide to share
Sharing formats: Whatever BigCo supports technically and according to their TOS Whatever format I like. This may require me to run a suitable app on my site that supports the formats I like, but it’s my choice. Obviously, HTML is a logical choice, as is RSS, OPML, Microformats, or even MQTT. It only depends on what I want my site to do, but there’s plenty of choice, and adding and removing formats is a relatively small change that doesn’t impact the overall architecture much.
Communications: By means of the Big Co in the middle, and generally limited to users on the same site Any way I want, including directly with others, without a third party in the middle, e.g. by means of RSS or MQTT subscriptions, or Pingbacks and Web mentions.
Legal terms: BigCo’s. Not negotiable. Mine. (And if a hosting provider changes their’s, I change hosting providers.)

I’ve gone through many iterations of attempting to name this architecture. I think at some point I also named it “RSS Architecture”! But I’ve come to believe it encompasses more than just a particular format and the notion of subscriptions. Other terms I’ve used were (and some are better forgotten in the mists of history…):

  • Personal Network Computing
  • P2P, and variations on “peer”
  • Personal identity
  • Decentralized (this and that)
  • Personal Cloud
  • Indie

Of those, I like the last one (“Indie”) the best, because it stays away from technical details, and focuses on the big issue, which is “who has control”. And I think if we put “if it is my site, I should have control” front and center, the the second column above almost necessarily emerges.

Personally, I don’t care very much about this format vs that format on an architectural level. Swapping one in for the other is just a bit of coding for a contractor, with no major ramifications (Of course, some are much easier to implement than others, some much more widely deployed, some really hard to get reliable, some have funny politics and not-invented-here syndromes etc. etc.)

But IMHO whether it’s Indie (my term) or Web 2.0 is fundamental. Would be nice if we could agree on some kind of name for this architecture that transcends the details, because IMHO, the future of the web, and perhaps more than just the web, depends on making that architecture more widespread.

Can we somehow get everybody using this architecture already today pull in the same direction? Everybody who posts to their own domain! Everybody who uses POSSE, or uses RSS! Everybody who runs a home web server! There are so many of us, but somehow we have failed to articulate what brings us together, often focusing on the gory differences. This architecture brings us together. Whatch’llwa call it?

Comments are closed.