Web as a platform is an interesting topic for most people in the software industry. Marc Andreessen (Ning) recently made an attempt to classify this platform in his post The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet. In the follow up analysis posted by Josh on ReadWriteWeb Platforms on the Web are Platforms on a Platform, this classification and value of different platform levels is questioned. Before I state my views on this, let me capture Mark’s classification in a summary below:
L1 platform. Loosely coupled REST/SOAP based API integration. Example: Flickr API.
L2 platform. More deeper integration of developer’s application injecting into the platform UI. Example: Facebook API.
L3 platform. A runtime that hosts developer code. Example: Ning.
Marc’s argument that L3 platform are the best, is certainly questionable and Josh makes points in this line. While a scalable web platform with Social Networking API is a powerful one, expecting others to bring their users and user data to your hosted platform is not in the best interest of the company/group that wants to add those features to an existing site/application.
A better solution could be a add-on social networking platform with API which the company/group can co-host and integrate. They get to keep their users and user data and can achieve better integration.
This is like a “Web 2.0 Application Server” as shown in the picture below. Deployed alongside the current Web 1.0 website and can provide social networking features overlayed on top of it.
Would this be more acceptable to those currently on using web as a Web1.0 platform and would like to add social networking among their users (use web as a Web2.0 platform)?
Technorati Tags: Platforms, SAAS, Web Services, Web 2.0