I'm no stranger to web programming. In fact, the version 2 of this web site was written from scratch in PHP and MySQL. It had articles posting, users registration and comments and some sort of back-end interface 8)
It was a few years ago. Nowadays there are tons of APIs and frameworks to supposedly simplify even more building "applications" for the web.
Yesterday I watched an introductory video to Google App Engine. ..More of the same !
It looks like just any of those frameworks out there, it's made to make the same stuff. They always show you how "easy" it is to make a simple message board.. it's a complete API entanglement. The guy in the video knows what he's writing, but others will have to learn.
Learn and learn some more. This is not programming !
Recently I read an interview to Don Knuth where he expresses his doubt about fun of writing software in this age of APIs.
APIs and frameworks certainly help people to be a lot more productive, but I feel that in many cases to API truly takes over the fun. Writing an application becomes like a recipe.
I see the same in graphics. Everyone can get down in C++ and Direct X and write some neat demo with some shiny shaders.. but that's not programming. If it's too easy, it's not programming 8)
Another disturbing thing is that all those APIs are made overnight and most of them aren't going to be that successful.
I like how this article from The Register criticizes OpenSocial, OpenID and Google Gears. One may not agree on everything, but the bottom line is that there is a lot of API creation and publicity but a little substance.