Jonathan Zittrain on Walled Garden Coding

January 23, 2008

From Berkman co-founder and faculty co-director Jonathan Zittrain...

I love Facebook — it’s a great way to keep up with friends and acquaintances, and it’s got a gorgeous interface.  It’s gone through several phases of growth, and the most important milestone — beyond opening up to the world at large instead of just people enrolled at a school — is opening up the Facebook platform for nerds at large to code.

Today’s kids who mess around with code are not writing software for Windows or Mac. They’re writing applications for platforms like Facebook.  There are well-known benefits to Web apps — generally all you need is a browser to use them; they work independently of your own PC, so they’re as good at a cyber cafe or school terminal as on your own; they connect to your online data — so you can work your Facebook friends into Facebook apps in any number of ways.

But there’s another key difference: apps written for PCs are not easily monitored or controlled by outsiders, even by the PC or OS vendors...

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Last updated

April 3, 2008