Don't believe the hype

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By  Published  September 30, 2006

Last month's ACN featured an article about emerging technologies, entitled 'Beneath the hype'. The core of the article was a Gartner report in which it said it believed Web 2.0 technologies were still two years away from mainstream adoption.

The article certainly seemed to cause a stir in the online world, with one web designer, Saleh Esmaeili, deciding to address what he felt were inaccuracies in the article via his blog, prompting a flood of responses. You can see the debate in full at http://dot1ne.com/article/right-on-the-hype, but the edited highlights are below:

SALEH ESMAEILI>> Right on the 'hype'
ACN features an article titled 'Beneath the hype'. The article takes the whole Web2.0, Ajax, and the Mashups hype and gives examples of who's using Ajax and how the semantic web and location sensitive applications are going to change the world. Where were you all this time?

Ajax, Ajax, and Ajax

I'm ashamed to even talk about it. I won't say anything, just take this quote from the article and digest it yourself.

"Cryer: Contax aims to be one step ahead of the game with early Ajax adoption."

Knowing that Ajax is a technique and it is actually mentioned in the article:

"Ajax is a collection of techniques that web developers use to deliver an enhanced user experience in the confines of a modern browser."

Does it hold? Adopting a technology or a set of techniques could get an organisation the edge. Very obvious. But getting something that has been there for more than two years and using it is not having an edge! Ajax for most is nothing but the addition of XMLHTTPRequest object to client-side Javascript. And we all know that! Now you want to market your products with a new tag? Cryer?

If it's about the interface and the responsiveness of applications, then Flash has always been there and even supported HTTPRequest since version 4.0(that's four years ago!) and its player penetration has always been above 90% of users. Read my AJaX vs. Flash if you need more info on that.

Shame, Shame, Shame Shame on you!

eVentures, Emirates' software development arm, has also used Ajax for its ground-breaking web UAE hotel-booking system for global tour operators.

I'm happy this has happened, but is it really worth mentioning? If this is such a cool internal app, good for them. Are they giving up knowledge and sharing something? Are they sharing APIs and Web services? or do they share a framework they've developed?
If worse comes to worse, and this is a market status and how the implementers think and reveal information then we're in a sorry region!

Mashups and Social Networking
Social services such as Flickr, YouTube, and MySpace are all blocked by the only ISP available in UAE. So what are you really talking about?

Once again, Web services have been around for a long long time. But now that it's called Mashup and API sharing with XML RPCs is something big. How many tags/buzzwords could clients afford?

Spraying Jargons and cool-guy words

Pushing envelopes using buzzwords won't get us anywhere but to the dictionary!

It's going to look ugly if I keep on quoting the whole article and comment on. It's shameful. It is.

Blog feedback:
DINESH>> I agree with you to a certain extent. AJAX has been around for a while, but really started going places this year. I think what's more relevant is the concept of Web 2.0. Making websites and applications feel more responsive.
What these concepts are supposed to do is to increase the usability of a site without the dread of reloading a page etc… So instead of hyping the use of Ajax I think companies should focus on making their sites more intuitive and usable, adopting standards so that it works on all browsers and platforms, and also accessibility. Ajax is a tool to reach that and not the primary focus. The focus is and will always be the USER!

DOTONE>> "The focus is and will always be the USER!"
Exactly! Exactly what is supposed to be discussed. User behavior, usability researches, and best practices instead of brainwashing clients with tech buzzwords. Better user experience is the point to be discussed not the renamed tags.

HANI AL WALID>> Old habits and practices(using names and foreigners to market).

HAMAD>> I think they try to be flexible with how the region moves. I am not the best one to talk about all this, but I believe ITP is trying to bring all people to map.

RIDA AL BARAZI>> Instead of admitting how late they are, they say that they are the first adopters in the region? I can't believe this…

If they really talking and encouraging the Web2.0 movement and so on, why didn't they support comments and pingbacks on their websites? Isn't it about interaction and sociality?

At least they would read this conversation to understand that the power is in the individuals that the ME big companies never supported or encouraged but always ignored.

Editor's Note:
Appreciate the input and the debate, but must point out that this whole article is based on what technologies Gartner believes will make it mainstream and when. Its "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2006" report is not designed for those in the inner sanctum who are way ahead of the adoption, deployment, use, or call it what you will, technology curve. More than 1,900 information technologies and trends across more than 75 industries, technology markets, and topics are evaluated by more than 300 Gartner analysts in what it says is the most comprehensive assessment of technology maturity in the IT industry. Gartner's hype cycles assess the maturity, impact and adoption speed of hundreds of technologies across a broad range of technology, application and industry areas. It highlights the progression of an emerging technology from market over enthusiasm through a period of disillusionment to an eventual understanding of the technology's relevance and role in a market or domain. It sees Web 2.0 and related technologies and tools just hitting or about to hit what it terms the "Peak of Inflated Expectations". Ajax is approaching the "Trough of Disillusionment".

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