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December 26, 2010 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
O’Reilly to Anderson: It’s the back end that matters. While there’s no question that both Facebook and the mobile app ecosystem provide clear challenges to “the web,” the idea that the browser front end was ever the key to the web’s dominance is so, well, 1995 , from the days when Netscape thought that the “webtop” would displace the desktop. But the competitive action has always been on the internet as transport, with data-driven services as the back end. Back when I put on my first conference, the Perl Conference, in 1997, I was already talking about how the internet was becoming a vast repository of programmable services, that screen scraping and overloaded URLs were pointing towards a future internet operating system. And when I put on my “Building the Internet Operating System” conference in 2002, I was already focusing on how Peer-to-Peer distribution, distributed computation, and web services were pointing forward to something much bigger than we’d seen before.