Note: this is the first in a series of Web 2.0 entries. I know I’m on record as hating the term Web 2.0, but as I wrote in that post, I do belief there is a fundamental shift underway in computing. The industry is calling this Web 2.0, and I can either spit in the wind or go with the flow. Furthermore, for the more Web 2.0 savvy among my readership, much of what I write about in this series may be old news. But I want to blog what I learn as I learn it, so bear with me.
For example, the big mashup functionality these days is mapping. There are three big mapping services out there: Google Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth and Yahoo! Maps. 266 of the 368 mashups listed on ProgrammableWeb as I write this include mapping functionality from one of those services. That's nearly three out of four. Mapping is interesting because of the sheer amount of data involved. In fact, the code is pretty useless without the back-end data. So while I can get the code for Google Maps, it does me no good without access to the data for which I need the API key. Contrast this with the complete lack of market for browser-based rich text editors. Sure, there are various open-source script libraries like Dojo, Web Wiz RTE and Kevin Roth's RTE. But no companies offering a rich text editor service like they offer map services. Why is that? I would think the value of rich text editing would be even more widely applicable than mapping. The problem is that, unlike the map service, there's no back end associated with a rich text editor. There's no way to protect a client-side-only solution such as these rich text editors. The only people who do sell rich text editor components are ones who have integrated into some back-end programming environment such as Richer Components' RichTextBox for ASP.NET.