While all our colleagues (including us) are doing bold predictions on what will be hot or not in 2009, let’s take a quick recap of what was hot in 2008. In a true Web 2.0 collaboration fashion we (@mnankman, @rickmans and @leeprovoost) discussed through Twitter the candidates and collaboratively wrote this blog piece using Google Docs. True, our personal top threes might be biased since we are looking at the domains that WE are interested in, but that’s also why we call it our PERSONAL top three 🙂
Rick Mans (follow me on Twitter @rickmans)
TweetDeck: If I have to twitter without TweetDeck I feel lost. TweetDeck is the best tool there is to Twitter, especially when you follow more than 30 people. These are the killer features of TweetDeck:
- Groups: you have the ability to group your tweets. I use these groups to prioritize who I have to read, who I should read and who I could read. Besides that I have a group containing all my Capgemini and Sogeti colleagues and I have a search on Capgemini since I am very interested what other tweet about Capgemini.
- Cross platform: since I am using Windows Vista on my Capgemini laptop and Ubuntu on my private laptop I am very pleased that I could use TweetDeck on both laptops.
- Support: TweetDeck’s creator (Iain Dodsworth) seems to answer all the issues of TweetDeck that are mentioned on Twitter. Besides that he is quote democratic in the development of TweetDeck since he also uses Uservoice in the way it was intended to.
Minggl: Minggl is a real timesaver, it is my PA for my social networks. This way you can manage all your connections without having to take care of any tool. It is easy to tag / group people and to define who will receive which message and who can see which data. Besides this functionality Minggl also offers a tool for social annotations on sites (or parts of sites). These sites can be any site which is available at the WWW or at local servers. You can decide who can see your annotation on the site (All Minggl users, all connections, some connections). The annotations can be display only (“social graffiti”) or it can be complete separate social applications in which users / connections can interact with each other. I am still getting used to it, however I see great power in these kind of tools.
Sproutbuilder: Sproutbuilder is the future of web development, you do not have to know any coding language. The only thing you need is your mouse to click your sprout (widget) to its final stage. Creating mashups? Absolutely no problem, select the components you need and again drop and drag and click to get your widget to its final stage.
Lee Provoost (follow me on Twitter @leeprovoost)
Animoto: One of my favorite applications of 2008 and also one of the few ones where I actually paid for a pro account! You give them pictures (upload or through Facebook or Flickr), select a song, highlight the pictures you find most important and Animoto delivers you an impressive photo video with awesome effects. Not happy with it? Remix it! Recently they’ve added the feature to add texts to your movies, something I quite missed. For the ubernerds amongst you: Animoto becomes even cooler if you know that it has been fully built on top of the Amazon cloud! Boo Yah!
Facebook redesign:I admit, I’m highly addicted to Facebook and an early adopter of their Facebook Mobile. However, I started to dislike more and more Facebook for the very reason that made Facebook big: the applications. I am in Facebook more for the conversations and staying in touch and barely use applications. So I got pretty annoyed with the fact that the applications were really cluttering up the profile pages and made some very tough to load. The Facebook redesign put the user and the conversations (wall) central again and put the applications to the background. Add to that the Facebook chat and that’s why nowadays Facebook has replaced a lot of my email conversations and did me ditch my MSN messenger and Skype. Now I’m a happy farmer with Facebook messages, Facebook chat, GTalk (over Gmail) and Gmail itself.
blip.fm:The best way to describe this gem is: Twitter with music. Same interface, same concept, same character limitation but you express yourself rather with music than with your tweets. I manage to resist for quite a long time since I know from myself that I’m very easily hooked up to things like this, but @alkronos‘ influence was stronger (damn you!). Now I’m blipping my way through cyberspace while getting to know tons of new songs. The concept is pretty simple: tell blip.fm what kind of bands you like and they present you with 30 likeminded souls (or DJs). Since they should have a similar taste for music, you suddenly get to know a whole bunch of artists and songs you’ve never heard about, but that you quite like.
Mark Nankman (follow me on Twitter @mnankman)
280Slides and other cool sassy (read: SaaSy) stuff: 280Slides uses the Cappuccino Web Framework, but that is not why I like this product so much. I like it because it looks great, it works great, does everything anyone would ever need in a slide tool. And the best thing is that you don’t need to install anything besides a Web Browser. No worries about having to install updates, and no worries about backing up your slides. Of course, that can be said for all your sassy software. Here’s my new credo: don’t worry, be sassy!
Webkit for the incredible penetration I believe it is going to get next year: I am impressed by the number of products WebKit is currently being integrated in. This ubiquity makes WebKit a platform that cannot be ignored. I predict that this ubiquity will further increase in the next years, making WebKit one of the most important platforms for SaaS application development. Currently, developing SaaS applications involves lots of Ajax coding, and we all know about the browser compatibility struggle. Every Ajax application that does more that saying “Hello World” will have an if statement somewhere for checking the browser vendor and version. What if you could simply develop for a single platform and being able to run the application everywhere. Allright, there are several alternatives for achieving that, but who would have thought that WebKit would be one of them.
Dell Inspiron Mini (basically any Netbook, because these devices have huge SaaS potential): My ideal netbook is affordable for everyone (wow, how communistic of me), boots up in mere seconds, has long battery life (see, I am green too), is small and light enough to make it REALLY portable but also just big enough to keep it usable. Also, a netbook gets you online in a few seconds. These qualities make the netbook the ideal device for delivering SaaS. The netbooks will be the devices to deliver SaaS to the masses, mark my words. ISP’s are already giving netbooks away for free with their internet connectivity plans.
We encourage you to disagree with us and drop your 2008 favs in the comments below.
Rick, Mark and Lee