In the future, there will be No More Files (and most likely No Folders either).
Have I completely lost it, you probably wonder just about now?
All modern Operating Systems, from latest Linux to upcoming Windows 7 or Mac OS Snow Leopard, still share this fundamental flaw. I think designers and engineers have long known that Computer Industry has a major trouble with how it gets our generation brought up and used on the concept of “Files”. Bill Gates was very bold to try and change this notion with a Database based file system, but it was too soon and the biggest issue of backwards compatibility couldn’t be properly solved at the time.
But What am I talking about, seriously!?!
“File” is a primitive concept that brings nothing but challenges as we start to realize that we live in the Ocean of people, places and devices. While many Corporations out there still struggle to figure out how to connect the TV with Internet, think about the future where all devices are ubiquitously connected to one big Net. Does it really seem natural for you to have to “transfer” your latest version of that document from your Central Home System, to iPhone 5.5 GSQ, to Office Presentation Board and back to home system, as you move about your busy day?
Simple limited “Files” as we know them today will have to evolve into interconnected and Live pieces of Content. From the simplest thing (think Corporate Slogan on that Sales Pitch email you sent out) to complex living documents (like Service Level Agreement between major service provider and large Corporation(s)), everything should be “alive”.
Of course it’s hard! We still can’t figure out something as simple as Photo or Video format that everyone can agree and standardize on. How can you expect that corporate board room to show your awesome presentation automatically when you stroll into that meeting, if there are hundreds of video codec standards?!
Ok, short summary – think Tags (same concept as XML and what used to be Categories on this blog), think timelines and collaborative work of many people. But the biggest thing I am waiting for? It’s for that “Ah Ha” moment when developers realize that their software should not come as “Files” or “Packages”, or even be Developed as “Files” or “Packages”.
Ok, now you can officially confirm that I lost my marbles 🙂