My Top Internet Tech of 2021

For my column this week, I did my annual review of the top internet technologies of the year. I’ve been doing this every December, in one shape or form, since 2004. I miss the ReadWriteWeb days, as I used to love doing annual roundup stories — and in its heyday, each RWW writer had their special beat and wrote e.g. Top Mobile Tech of 2010, Top Search Engines of 2008, and the like.

Speaking of RWW, this week was the 10-year anniversary of me selling the business to SAY Media. It made me somewhat melancholy, to be honest, as the ReadWriteWeb site and brand has become much diminished over these past ten years. A big part of me wishes I still ran it, although it’ll always be a big part of me regardless.

Anywho, onto the NOW…

Notes from the Present 📱

My Top 5 Internet Technologies of 2021

In this week’s column at The New Stack, I presented my top internet tech of the year. My list this year:

  1. WebAssembly

  2. Figma

  3. Next.js 12

  4. Lit Web Components

  5. Nvidia Omniverse

Four of the five are web technologies, which is notable because there was a time (not so long ago) when mobile apps dominated the scene. But the Web is back now, as this tweet by Box CEO Aaron Levie attests:

I did include one metaverse technology in my list (Nvidia Omniverse). Even though it’s not an internet platform per se, it’s a pointer to our online future. No Web3 tech made my list, but keep an eye out for my upcoming column about the biggest tech news stories of the year — crypto and Web3 has certainly been newsworthy in 2021.

Shopify Does NFTs

The e-commerce company Shopify has given blockchain NFTs another dose of mainstream acceptance…

Web 2.0 Meets Web3

Tim O’Reilly, whose company O’Reilly Media coined the term “Web 2.0” in the early 2000s — and whose coattails I and other tech bloggers rode on for the rest of the decade — has written about the Web3 trend for the first time. I’ve noted previously that I think the true value of Web3 won’t be seen until after the inevitable crypto crash, and O’Reilly is also of that opinion:

“I like to remind people that I wrote “What Is Web 2.0?” five years after the dot-com bust with the explicit goal of explaining why some companies survived and others did not. So too, I suspect that it won’t be till after the next bust that we’ll really understand what, if anything, Web3 consists of.”

2021 in a Nutshell

Notes from the Past ☎️

Not Dead Google Services

Microsoft’s Christina Warren, who used to work at Gizmodo and Mashable, picked up on one of my tweets with this bit of nostalgia:

I had noticed that Blogger, a product Google acquired before Web 2.0, still has 1% of the CMS market. But as Christina pointed out, the equally creaky Google Sites is also still kicking around. Both are surprising because Google is notorious for “sunsetting” nearly anything it builds or acquires.

“Web 2.0 is so over.”

So said Nicholas Carr in November 2006, in a review of the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. I was at that event, and indeed Carr used one of my RWW quotes to back up his argument:

“I didn’t come away from the conference having learned much,” confessed Richard MacManus, who felt the highlight of the event “was seeing Lou Reed play live.” It was Lou himself, though, who put it most bluntly, telling the Web 2.0ers, “You got 20 minutes.”

Of course, that RWW URL is dead now, but you can see my article on the Wayback Machine. I did love all 20 minutes of that Lou Reed show, though 🤘

30th Anniversary of First US Web Server

I wrote about this in a recent Web Development History post. As for the screenshot in this tweet, look at all that white space…

One More Thing 📞

For the Trekkies 🖖

Twitter avatar for @NoContextTrek

Star Trek Minus Context @NoContextTrek

See you next week! Do reach out by email (just hit reply) or on Twitter (@ricmac) if you have any content suggestions, or just want to touch base.