Web 2.0 is or is not jargon?

September 1, 2006

This article is worth a read. To use or not to use web2.0 that is the question. Below are excerpts from the interview and I’ve added my point of view to the discussion.

During a podcast interview (transcript here) last week with Scott Laningham of IBM developerWorks, the father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee offered his view on the term “Web 2.0”:

LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.0, a common explanation out there is Web 1.0 was about connecting computers and making information available; and Web 2 is about connecting people and facilitating new kinds of collaboration. Is that how you see Web 2.0?

BERNERS-LEE: Totally not. Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

[ME: Well, it depends on what you mean by connecting people. Web2.0 is about making it easier for ALL people to express themselves, share and collaborate]

And in fact, you know, this Web 2.0, quote, it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0. It means using the document object model, it means for HTML and SVG and so on, it’s using HTTP, so it’s building stuff using the Web standards, plus Java script of course.

[ME: While this is true, the technical folks that “get it” realize that we don’t care what’s behind the page nor do we want to know how to “do code”. What the frack is a document object model and who really cares?]

So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact.

[ME: But, how much collaboration really occured? Define designed. The web was designed to ensure that we had a failsafe communications network in the event of a disaster. It is constantly evolving and the “design” changes. Today’s web is different, better and more empowering]

Now, I really like the idea of people building things in hypertext, the sort of a common hypertext space to explain what the common understanding is and thus capturing all the ideas which led to a given position. I think that’s really important. And I think that blogs and wikis are two things which are fun, I think they’ve taken off partly because they do a lot of the management of the navigation for you and allow you to add content yourself.

[ME: “Building things in hypertext, Common understanding, Capturing all ideas”? Huh? Web2.0 is different, it’s equalizing the playing field and there is no longer a “Webmaster”]

But I think there will be a whole lot more things like that to come, different sorts of ways in which people will be able to work together.

The semantic wikis are very interesting. These are wikis in which people can add data and then that data can then be surfaced an sliced and diced using all kinds of different semantic Web tools, so that’s why it’s exciting the way people, things are going, but I think there are lots of new things in that vein that we have yet to invent.

[ME: Cool, Berners-Lee is brilliant and the semantic web (hmmm, that’s a label isn’t it?), I think could be awesome. I’m all ears to learn more about it]

For Berners-Lee, the Web is just the Web (no versioning) and has always been about interaction between people online. About a year ago, O’Reilly came up with his lengthy exposition on what is Web 2.0, which basically describes how the Web has evolved over the last ten years ( by 2015 we will have Web 3.0).

[ME: I was approached by an associate today asking me what web2.0 was. I told him it was a bunch of tools, servcies and stuff that made it really cool to use the web. Later on, he sent me an email telling me he found a bunch of blogs on aviation – his passion. He thought it was “cool”. The word web2.0 whether it be a marketing term or not suggested to him that there was something different, maybe better about the web then he had prevously thought. It prompted a question, he was curious and he found something of value. I think I’ll stick with web2.0 for a little longer]

Gavin Clarke of the Register.com follows up on Berners-Lee’s comments with a story that catalogs many of the other 2.0s (Office, Enterprise, SOA. lunch, etc.) and points to a “plethora of me-too business plans, marketing pitches and analyst reports exploiting the nebulous phrase” as a sign of the times. Indeed, the 2.0 proliferation is simply a natural effect of human intelligence at work–marketers, conference creators, journalists, pundits and lexicographers all trying to capture themes, the essense of movements in time and give them names that have iconic, instant recognition, although the deeper meaning will be in the eye of the beholder. Here’s a modest proposal for solving the versioning problem: Let’s just call it Web Y15, given WWW was developed at CERN by Berners-Lee in 1991.

[ME: I’m not sure I fully understand what this means. Bottom line, call it whatever you want. It’s all really cool stuff. The folks above are all great thinkers and I respect their points of view. I guess what matters the most is what you want to call it =)]


Working Definition: Web 2.0

June 28, 2006

Web 2.0 is being defined on a daily basis but when you peel back the onion I see it as a set of tools that consumers (the masses) can use to create, publish and share content, ideas and experiences with other people. A critical piece to this is the startups and enterpreneurs who are creating these tools and experiences. Some examples of these tools and services are:

Digg – a site where consumers submit artilces they like, think are important etc. Other Digg users can rate these stories and influence the overall ranking of the story based if they also think it’s interesting and/or important.

Zvents – a site where consumers can find, post and enrol in events.

WordPress – a blog tool and publishing service

Delicious – a web based book marketing service that consumers can share with friends and the public at large.

Flock – a browser which enables users to not only view web pages using tabs but also allows you to receive RSS feeds (kind of like a web “inbox” for updated new content from sites you like), post comments to your blog and photo sharing site.

Flickr – a site where you can upload, organize and share photos with friends and the public at large.

Podcasting – audio related content that you can listen to on the web and on a mobile device like an Apple IPod.

Torrent Sites – Tools and services that allow you to share and download software and content from other consumers.

The key, in my mind, is that these services not all be gobbled up by large media empires. Some of them must evolve into the next generation business like a Google.

Click here for O’Reilly publications in-depth description and a visual framework of Web 2.0.

Click here to listen to Techcrunches Michael Arrington and CNET’s Brian Cooley about Web 2.0


June 25, 2006

Trackback helps you to notify another author that you wrote something related to what he had written on his blog, even if you don’t have an explicit link to his article. This improves the chances of the other author sitting up and noticing that you gave him credit for something, or that you improved upon something he wrote, or something similar. With pingback and trackback, blogs are interconnected. Think of them as the equivalents of acknowledgements and references at the end of an academic paper, or a chapter in a textbook.

Here is a definition from David Maister: Trackbacks are a courteous practice peculiar to the blog world that makes a conversational link between blogs, similar to comments. When bloggers link to another blog, they can send that blog an alert saying, “Look! I’m talking about your ideas and linking to your site.” The blogger who receives the trackback can publish it on his or her site so readers can follow a conversation as it moves from one blog to another.

Definition: Permalink

June 25, 2006

At the bottom of each post is the word "Permalink". A permalink is a unique web link that: a) is dedicated solely to that post and b) remains fixed to that post indefinitely.

Bloggers link to each others posts and sites. As new posts are added to blogs older ones are archived. Because they move off of the page and to other areas of the blog a dedicated link ensures that if someone links to the post … that there is no "page cannot be displayed" experience.


June 25, 2006

I've created a Glossary Section (defined as a "category"). The purpose of this define in english what something is and does. Technology can be confusing and hard to understand especially when definitions are really long and too technical. This glossary is meant to provide simple definitions and explanations about Web 2.0 related terms.