Web Development

Google, Microsoft, Apple & Facebook Together on Web Platform Project

The leaders of the tech and browser world took center stage this week as details of a large scale project surfaced. Big name companies like Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, HP, Facebook, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera as well as the W3C, announced the establishing of the “Web Platform Docs” plan at WebPlanform.org. According to insiders, the project’s goal is to create a Wikipedia-like resource website for tech and programming trouble-shooting.

By Your Powers Combined…

Before digging deeper into what this ground-breaking project will do, take a minute to reflect on this situation. This kind of pact is rare. Outside of The Avengers, and the United Nations, heavy-hitters usually don’t do team-ups. Sharks are more common than Dolphins in most sectors and industries, as most organizations are more concerned with putting their competition out of work, than working with them. Granted many of these companies have worked together in the past for sociological and political reasons ( SOPA and PIPA were the most recent large scale super-powered pact), but this coalition has even bigger plans. This is Hands Across America, but with actual results.

 

Why is This Happening?

Trouble-shooting. It’s a dirty word in the technology world because it does not always deliver results. Trouble-shooting is the promise of looking into finding an answer. Problem is, there are an infinite number of issues that can arise from a programming, front-end, and back-end perspective online. So finding the answer to an issue is not always easy. Sure there are forums, and other websites that offer some answers, but the fact remains, searching for a needle in a hay stack that still might not fix your issue, is painstaking.

This is possibly the most common practice when troubleshooting. You may call it “trial and error”, Google prefers the term “scavenger hunt”. Regardless of what euphemism employed for this tactic, it is typically look at as a tedious task that can deliver diminishing returns.

Trail and Error Troubleshooting:

1.Find a potential solution
2. Enact it
2A. Does it work? Great! All done!
2B. Does it work? No? See number 3
3. See number 1
Rinse and repeat.

That used to be the case for everything online: “How old is Morgan Freeman?”, “What was Clinton’s stand on Tort Reform?”, “How many Backstreet Boys were there?”. Sure the answers were there, but they required some digging. Others required the need for multiple answers and further research. And what happens if the answer changes? Static answers were rarely updated, so out-of-date answers were very common.

This all changed with Wikipedia. Now, through this constantly evolving online encyclopedia, users were able to not only find the answers to their queries, but were able edit and fix answers to remain concurrent with the source material. Wikipedia removed ambiguity from the equation. Questions now had up-to-date answers, and they were all available at the click of a mouse. It took research time down from minutes, hours, and days, to moments. Instant answers. Pretty awesome.

So…Programmerpedia?

They prefer WebPlatform.org, but yes, that is what Google, Apple, Facebook, Adobe, Microsoft and others are trying to do for the programming and tech world. One authorized location with all of the answers to all of those little issues that can become big problems. The site will look to deliver authoritative content that will provide accurate information on the most up-to-date CSS4, HTML5, and other areas throughout the online landscape. According to Adobe, WebPlatform.org’s overall goal is to provide a “single, definitive resource to go to.” Throughout this site, users will discover informational content on browser synergy and compatibility, API documentation, best practices scenarios, the current status on a variety of specifications, and troubleshooting examples.

The website has been infused with content from the partnering organizations, but like Wikipedia, anyone can contribute and add content to the platform. W3C will act as the administrative entity for the website, however many of the partnering companies will contribute in large capacities. Through this partnership, this ambitious undertaking has the chance to truly change the shape of the online landscape.

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