Social Standards: Web 2.0 Vs. Enterprise 2.0 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
11/22/2011
08:49 AM
David F Carr
David F Carr
Commentary
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Social Standards: Web 2.0 Vs. Enterprise 2.0

The OpenSocial approach to defining social software standards has the backing of Jive, IBM, and others--and the scorn of upstarts like Yammer.

When OpenSocial 2.0 was ratified in August, one of the main themes of the release was harmony with other social standards, such as the Activity Strea.ms specification for syndicating news feeds and OAuth for authorizing access to profile data and other social assets. OpenSocial 2.0.1, which finalizes the specification's support for OAuth 2.0, is currently up for a vote of the OpenSocial developer community. Support for OAuth 2.0 had previously been tagged as an "incubating" portion of the specification because OAuth 2.0 was still in the process of being finalized by the Internet Engineering Task Force.

Although everyone in the social software world seems to be in love with OAuth, the Yammer contingent is critical of other standards OpenSocial seeks to align itself with, such as Activity Strea.ms. Pisoni said Open Graph is "a lot simpler of a description than Activity Strea.ms" and that the trend in social software is to "keep simplifying because, at the end of the day, it's about adoption."

OpenSocial advocates also tend to speak favorably about CMIS, the Content Management Interoperability Services standard, and its potential for integrating enterprise document management systems with social software. A more formal integration between CMIS and OpenSocial is under discussion.

When I spoke with Box CEO Aaron Levie prior to his keynote at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, he dismissed CMIS as too oriented toward "legacy" technology rather than the spirit of open Web standards. This was part of a conversation in which Levie dissed OpenSocial using almost the same words that Pisoni did.

"If I had to bet, I wouldn't bet on OpenSocial," Levie said. Google and MySpace may have embraced it but since Facebook didn't, developers have had little reason to invest in OpenSocial, he said.

When I organized a Designing Social Applications panel discussion for the Enterprise 2.0 conference and show, I wound up with an OpenSocial-friendly crowd, including OpenSocial board member Jonathan LeBlanc and Jive Software's Ryan Rutan (one of the people saying nice things about CMIS).

LeBlanc told me he hears that dismissive talk about MySpace a lot. It's true the initial OpenSocial specification "had all these weird social features and profile things that didn't make sense in a larger context," he said, during our Enterprise 2.0 panel discussion. Essentially, that early spec made too many assumptions about how a social system would be constructed. To make OpenSocial relevant to a broader audience, its architects broke it down into smaller components, making it possible to adopt just the portions that are relevant to your applications. With OpenSocial 2.0, they have moved to map OpenSocial to a family of other relevant standards like OAuth and Activity Strea.ms. While OpenSocial may not be welcome at Facebook, MySpace and Google are far from its only fans, he said. It's widely used by social sites overseas, including the largest one in China, RenRen.

In the enterprise world, IBM has committed to supporting OpenSocial in multiple social software and collaboration products, with those releases to start coming in 2012. "For IBM to say that, that's big--a big, blue chip player in this space--and really lends credence" to OpenSocial, Rutan said. Because OpenSocial incorporates a common REST style of application integration, any well-built application ought to be able to integrate with the framework, he said. Most enterprise systems now offer REST interfaces, and even legacy applications can be adapted to include REST support, he said. Meanwhile, the rest of the OpenSocial specification is based on Web basics like HTML and JavaScript--making integration a much lower hurdle than with previous portal standards built around Java, for example.

Still, OpenSocial aspires to be an enterprise standard, influenced by companies like IBM who have worked to make sure it meets enterprise requirements. That may be precisely the reason it's treated with suspicion by upstarts who see themselves as more a part of Web 2.0 than Enterprise 2.0.

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard

Apply advanced analytics to the sales pipeline, Web traffic, and social buzz to anticipate what’s coming, instead of just looking at the past. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek: A practical guide to biometrics. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Deb Donston-Miller
50%
50%
Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/28/2011 | 5:18:40 PM
re: Social Standards: Web 2.0 Vs. Enterprise 2.0
This is a great article, David. I kind of honed in on the "integration with legacy apps" piece of the arguments, both for and against the different "standards." Enterprises may be moving toward a cloud-based world, but legacy, onsite server-based apps aren't going anywhere anytime soon. I think any standard or standards body that is dismissive of the legacy apps currently in use (and likely to be in use for some time to come) is tone-deaf to the needs of the enterprise.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard
Commentary
Why 2021 May Turn Out to be a Great Year for Tech Startups
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  2/24/2021
News
How GIS Data Can Help Fix Vaccine Distribution
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/17/2021
Slideshows
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Slideshows
Flash Poll