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Gen4 Computing II
(February 8, 2005) Continuing from yesterday's article. In the first Generation, it was the shift from dumb terminals to desktop capacity, including the explosion of desktop publishing. The second generation was client server and the final elimination of the secretary. The third generation was the web. We're teetering on the brink of the fourth generation (Gen4). Like all of the others, it looks subtle at first and is easy to dismiss, particularly if you are in a universe dominated by a web view of the universe.

On the web, people "go" to databases for transactions. They "go" to have 'personalized' experiences. They go.

We're still having a hard time getting the articulation of Gen4 simple enough. It seems, though, that Gen4 is about interactions between users. My database talks to your database.

The early adopters, flush with the business-to-business implications of XML, think it's a way to consolidate centralized databases. You'd expect that.

We think the real, near-term revolution involves the use of XML at the desktop. It's working in the Weblog world already (and most of these moves forward start in publishing). The best way to understand, for now, the implications of Gen4 is to imagine that a web page can offer multiple elements of a database's functionality. In Weblogs, each news item can be individually syndicated and monitored because of its XML tagging. We're beginning to consider a world in which the value comes, not from having the largest resumé database, but from knowing where the resumés are. It comes from delivering value to a user's desktop through interactions with her desktop database.

- John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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         © 2013 interbiznet.
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         Materials written
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         © TwoColorHat.
         All Rights Reserved.