In academic circles, there are intense platform wars. We have a talk next week from the head librarian about offering Google-like services, but on an academic platform. I won’t go to the talk because I no longer care about library portals. Regarding courseware, there are wars between Moodle and other hybrids. As a professor, all that I care about is to have some tools to post content online, conveniently. The last thing I want to do is live within a monolithic proprietary platform.
Everyone is fighting for his platform. What a tragic mistake! In 2008, only one platform matters. No, it is not facebook, nor Windows Vista, nor Moodle, nor Dot.NET. It is the Web. In some sense, the Web is the platform to rule them all.
Something deeper is going on as well. In Death of the software application, I argued that software as a discrete quantity was finished. How many software applications do you run right now? Nobody cares. Similarly, the term platform is obselete: people hook up the software they need dynamically.
If someone asks you to pick a specific platform for a project, refuse to do so. Pick software the way a taylor will pick fabric: a little bit here, a little bit there. Also, if you are building a Web platform, please stop right there. Turn around and rethink your objectives.