Hitchhiker's Guide to Software Architecture and Everything Else - by Michael Stal

Saturday, March 18, 2006

What the hell is Web 2.0?

To continue with the discussion of my last posting, I'd like to discuss Web 2.0. As most of you will know, this term has been around for several months now. If you ask people what that could be, they will mostly refer you to new technologies such as AJAX. Applications like Google Suggest are prominent known uses for AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML). The AJAX concept however is pretty old. There were many Web applications available that used the same kind of approach. Take Web-based mail applications as an example. The concept behind AJAX consists basically of hiding all communication activities between clients and servers by introducing a kind of business delegate. Well, that business delegate is implemented using JavaScript when you use a HTML client aka browser.
Originally, Web 2.0 was just a name for a series on Web conferences. Wikipedia (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_2.0) defines Web 2.0 as follows

[...] Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997). They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The term may include blogs and wikis [...]

If you read this definition, then it becomes obvious that this buzzword is another example for an attempt to keep the IT technology market continuously running.

On the positive side, the Web 2.0 hype makes people from different companies think on old but proven technologies so that they can be leveraged in Web applications more efficiently and effectively. As another side effect this might lead to standards. Standards despite of their liabilities such as being slow or being least common denominators at least foster developer productivity because we don't have to deal with dozens of incompatible and proprietary solutions.

Hence, Web 2.0 may boost our set of possibilities and capabilities. Take it, forget the hype, and use it to your own advantage.

At the end, that is what really counts


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