Open Web Platform: Hopes & Fears

Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989, will discuss: “Open Web Platform: Hopes and Fears”. Berners-Lee is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the web standards consortium. He is an advocate for net neutrality, the Open Web and web standards.




He talks fast, wears silk shirts, and has a fanny pack. Tim Berners-Lee.

We’re looking to achieve the “write once, run anywhere” ideal. Build decentralized systems, and build platforms. It’s not a question of what you can do, it’s a question of what people can do with your stuff. Architect things with the goal of others building applications that you can’t even dream of (the vertical) and be able to work with its peer platforms (the horizontal).

There’s been a lull in the excitement about “saving the world with a computer language” like there was in the early days of the web. The web works because HTML didn’t say anything about the platform you are on: things had to be universal, so the language had to ask for as little as possible. This was completely declarative (as are description frameworks, rule-based systems). Declarative is safe, anything can use it. You don’t need to make it powerful like a procedural language. In fact, doing so decreases security.

The Open Web Platform

We have the chance for each hypertext document to be, in itself, a computer, a programmable thing. So you should be able to program. The computer isn’t just a black box.

Javascript is turing complete. Lots of ways to generate it (e.g., Python-generated). The mobile-related JS APIs for the OWP are growing (accelerometer, camera, local storage) so that there is less need for native apps (or the need for native apps is specializing).

The modularity of object-oriented analysis (reduce until trivial) only creates a closed universe, whereas an open platform can be used in an unforeseen universe.


The document as a programmable thing, a document computer, is a clean, smaller-step metaphor for the evolution of literacy from the ability to write documents to the ability to create logic within a document.

URL Naming is important because it reinforces trust when the user experience breaks down (a little or a lot), period.

What Tim Berners-Lee’s web hasn’t realized yet: Collaborative/group learning may be aligned with the read/write web: constantly staying in equilibrium with all the half-formed ideas occur in a recorded space. There’s no need for debriefing because the “why things happened” is already there on the web.