Web 2.0 – almost everyone have heard the term – but few are sure about its meaning. Unfortunately, it cannot be defined easily. People in different fields have their own unique definitions for the term. In this article, I will attempt to define the term at three different level – the Philosophy, the Technology and the Design.
Disclaimer: Before anyone reacts violently to the term Web 2.0, let me make myself very clear…
Web 2.0 is an ambiguous buzz word. It has been used and abused so many times that it does not have a consistent meaning – so people are free to interpret it as they see fit. And this is how I interpret it.
The design philosophy of a web site can make it a Web 2.0 site. This is perhaps the key difference between a Web 1.0 site and a Web 2.0 site…
Web 1.0 is a web site where there is a one way communication between the web master to the visitor. A Web 2.0 site is a site where the visitors can communicate with each other.
For example, compare the Encyclopedia Britannica to Wikipedia. In Encyclopedia Britannica, the web master creates the content and gives it to the visitor – the visitor has no way of talking back. But in Wikipedia, the visitor create the content for other visitors.
The keyword here is “Internet as a platform”. In Web 2.0, the net became the platform rather than just a data transfer mechanism. For a simple example, when you visit a site, the videos in it come from YouTube, the images from Flickr, the search is done using Google API and you can bookmark pages using the API from del.icio.us.
Some technologies that are described as Web 2.0…
- Valid Markup
- Tagging, Tag Clouds
Some features that makes a technology Web 2.0…
- For example, Ajax makes simple tasks much faster.
- Ease of Use
- A good example of this is Tagging. It is a much easier approach when compared to hierarchies.
- Enabling Mashups
- APIs, Feeds, etc. makes this possible.
- Bringing Web Apps closer to the Desktop
- Ajax, AIR, etc.
This is perhaps the only area where the term Web 2.0 can be defined with a reasonable level of accuracy. A site with a Web 2.0 design is one that has at least some of these elements…