The Platform of Choice

I used to scoff at people that did a lot of web development. To me, it was better to be hard-core, coding to the metal in C or designing some slick Windows application in MFC. HTML was markup, not code, and the rest of making web pages was about fancy images.

But the web, and web-based applications, are emerging as viable and appealing alternatives to the typical isolated client applications. While Microsoft's vision of a .NET universe and ubiquitous web services hasn't come to pass, things are happening.

Look at Gmail. And Google search. And blogs. And online communities and photo-sharing sites like flickr.

These are the things an increasing number of people are getting hooked on, and all they require to be viewed is a good web browser.

In fact, armed with LAMP--the Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP quartet--anyone can develop complex applications that everyone can access. You don't really have to think about what OS they have, or whether they have all the right patches. And fixing bugs is easy: fix the source on the server and it's fixed for everyone.

Web services add to the coolness. Using Mono and mod_mono or XSP you can create web services in your favorite .NET language and have them served out to anyone with a browser or an enabled client-side application. These services can be accessed with PHP or any number of languages using XML protocols like SOAP. It's truly cross-platform, and mixing languages is simple, no longer the bane it was with client-side apps.

so merry christmas!