Chris Anderson, editor of premium geek fodder Wired recently wrote an article discussing the death of the Web (the www) as a medium for utilising the Internet. Naturally, we were intrigued.
He makes some valid points. The Internet is now being used primarily for applications other than browser based web exploration. So much for Netscape's prediction that browsers would eventually take over from computers as app servers; computers being merely "a poorly debugged set of device drivers".
What they didn't count on was the emergence of alternative Internet access methods (like your iPhone, iPad, Skype application or P2P network), or highly customisable and extremely usable mini apps that utilise APIs (like your Facebook app).
Now the internet has been made into a series of locked mini networks, all supplying high quality services to multiple devices and continually drifting away from the browser.
We have an interesting future in store if the picture Chris Anderson paints is the final word.
Good thing it's not. Web design isn't a static vehicle, limited by predefined and restrictive rules. Web design is constantly evolving to be more powerful and more engaging, and it's the tools we use everyday and those that don't yet exist that make this possible.
One fantastic example of the changing nature of the web is found in the rebuild of Twitter's website. Twitter is a fantastic web application that's accessed through all sorts of devices, increasingly through non-browser formats (like TweetDeck and Seesmic).
Rather than sit back and allow their users to conduct their interactions away from the browser, Twitter have redesigned their web interface to take advantage of new technologies.
The web isn't dead, it's changing everyday. It's just one of the ways we take advantage of the Internet. In the same way that many of us now use the web to watch television, television still isn't dead – now it's 3D and HD.
The challenge for web developers is to stay one step ahead of apps, it's a challenge we openly accept. We also make fantastic apps too though, well... you never know.