eWeek’s article “5 Steps To Next Generation Web Applications” got me to thinking about the virtual world offerings. And if these two hot topics are really running 180 degrees apart from each other. As I went through the 5 steps I tried to determine how VW vendors might respond.Step 1 -- Build Rich Web Applications. “…hghly interactive and intuitive user interface…”Virtual worlds have the interactive down cold, the ability to create objects, manipulate them in the space and interaction only limited by the builders imagination. The intuitive is still a little vague, it depends is probably the right answer and most world developers will say that they ‘got it right’. Navigation and interacting is still not as standard as the OS or even web page type implementations. All in all give a check mark to the virtual worlds for the richness.Step 2 -- Remain ‘Open’-minded. “…choose the open and standards-based path wherever and whenever possible.”This is a bit trickier for the VW people to come to terms with, since the standards have yet to arrive on the scene. However, there still remains areas of the virtual environment that should and could stand some ‘open’ness. Communications and collaboration is probably the biggest whole for me. With these well established standards, why is it still a struggle to communicate over different modes and sharing from one world to another is simply not an option today. Question mark for the ‘Open’-minded.Step 3 -- Keep Data Dynamic. “…old-school Web applications, data is treated in much the same way that a faucet treats water: The application can access the data but doesn’t have much control over the data once it arrives.”????Step 4 -- Make It Available Offline -- “…they have to embrace the seemingly old-fashion notion of offline access.”With the exception of a few NPC (non-player characters) connections to external applications this is a complete miss by virtual worlds.Step 5 -- Be Flexible -- “…when it comes to next-generation Web applications, locking down your application is a mistake.”Another question mark for virtual worlds. While this is a clear direction for Web applications, more questions than answers come up when we talk about virtual worlds. Does this mean putting a map of one world with avatar population into another virtual world to plan raids? ???