Web 2.0 – Intro

December 29, 2007 at 5:58 am Leave a comment

Bruce Lee once said:

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.”

I personally try and live by those statements as I think that it really hits the mark in both personal and professional lives of people…and if you look around you in the IT world, it seems that people are applying that statement as well.

At first, there was the days of mainframes. We then evolved to client-server programming, which has now evolved to service oriented applications. SOA has been the biggest buzzword in the past 3 years and it’s advantages are well talked about. Everyone knows that by developing loosely coupled services you increase re-usability and enable better integration amongst disparate systems, thereby allowing for increased data sharing. But as our friend Mr. Lee said, knowing that is not enough…show me the application of that concept.

Well Mr. Lee, the application is Web 2.0.

For those of you that might have heard of Web 2.0, but not really spent a whole lot of time bothering to find out what it is all about, in a nutshell, it’s about a new generation of web applications that:

– provide a more desktop like user experience (no long synchronous request/response cycles that involve page reloads)
– provide users with a collaboration type experience, where they can share and use data with/from other users
– in many instances, give users control over their own data, so that they can use it the way that they see fit

Why Web 2.0? Think of it this way – the web has been around now for a number of years, and if you are used to the request/response style usage of the web, then these new applications will provide you with a different experience – where you will hardly have to wait for page refreshes and will, in many cases, be able to leverage not only your own data, but that from others to enhance your user experience. This new experience has been tagged with a new version – 2.0.

Having said that, I must add the disclaimer that this is my take on Web 2.0. Others will tell you their own version which might vary slightly from mine, and the prevailing truth is that there is no standard definition for Web 2.0.

Almost all Web 2.0 apps make use of AJAX at some level, with many making use of AJAX heavily to provide that desktop like user experience. Look around you on Google and you will see just how many Web 2.0 apps are coming out every week. Some good examples of such apps are Google Maps, del.icio.us, flickr and Writely. Rest assured that there are very many bad apps out there as well.

But that is not the point. The point is that there are many creative minds out there that are applying what they know – that SOA is slowly, but surely, leading to breaking down of information silos and allowing these minds to develop apps that leverage existing apps and services to “mash together” apps that are presenting information to users from disparate sources in a unified fashion. In other words, they are trying to make SOA’s goals a reality, and we are at the very early stages, but it’s a good start.

Vendors like Amazon and Yahoo are making APIs for their services available to the people and the people are using these APIs to transform the idea of reuse and information sharing into a reality with Web 2.0.

Also, in my opinion, AJAX is hard to code in. There are some major drawbacks with using AJAX, and not just on the browser side (no bookmarking, etc) but more to do with AJAX programming itself (due the limitations in OO in JavaScript). JavaScript 2.0 is in the works and is getting a lot press because of the popularity of AJAX. What do you think of JavaScript 2.0? Will it become a reality? If so, what does it mean for us and the developer community?

Until next time…


Entry filed under: Web 2.0.

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