provoking what happens in IT

web 2.0 alpha

I have been dwelling on this means for some time and have sat on the sidelines listening to the rhetoric from a number of camps about what it is, who owns it and what it will and won’t deliver.

and the more I read about anything related to IT nowadays, the more I hear about web 2.0. it seems as though, as a journo, if you submit a story with web 2.0 in it you’ll get a run.

interestingly enough, when I went to a recent conference that had a focus session on web 2.0 I wasn’t convinced that the people espousing to have web 2.0 products knew what they were talking about it. some years ago I read an article in scientific american about the new symantic web that would not be based on the current trust principles (in http) that the current web is based on. this was meant to be the second generation of the web that it made it more secure and flexible that the current infrastructure that we have (and love/hate).

here’s my take so far – there is no web 2.0. just a bunch of products that use ajax or something similar in delivering something more functional to the user. ie the increase the functionality and experience.

this increase in functionality, for those that can’t code, comes at the price of security. already I have had these discussions and arguments with the devs that work for me.

I look at it from this perspective. version 2.0 is supposed to mean that things have gotten better. if you increase functionality but reduce security, especially in this day and age, how have you moved forward? I don’t think so. one could use a dozen analogies to describe this.

to me it seems like web 2.0 is just another over-hyped alpha release that will go down in history with ibm’s m-business and all of the other IT marketing buzzwords of the past 10 years.


November 7, 2006 - Posted by | Blogroll, technology


  1. So I guess that you see Web 2.0 as an upgrade or change in the engine or format that the web takes. As opposed to the SOA.

    However, I would surmise that web2.0 could an interpretation or better a label, all be it a bad one based on your description, that describes what the web is doing at the moment even if it is the SOA.

    The scene that is the WWW now is a lot different than it was 5 years ago. Sure it is all the SOA underneath but on the top of it all it is vastly different. How do we describe the proliferation of social networking, interactivity, proliferation of RSS and user generated content, blogging, podcasting and new media. Or is it just the “interactive” web? As opposed to the just “visit a page” web.

    Users and commentators need to call it something. I do however agree with you. The name implies something different under the hood. We know it isn’t, but the landscape has changed and we are definitely in a new era of how users interact, work, live and have fun with web technologies. What then do we call it? I bet when the architecture does change it will be called something entirely different and the technologically correct of commentators will insist that it is web 2.0… again we will revisit the semantics of this argument.

    I think I know what web 2.0 is and yet it is extremely hard to describe. Although I do not adhere to the “strict” definition. Rather I think that we do need to acknowledge what “this” is and call it something, it seems that web 2.0 is as good as a bunch of descriptive terms or concepts or the original 7 (web) page article from O’Reilly. Call it popular online culture but the meaning of words is as much governed by custom and culture as the strict definition of them. It seems that the online community as a whole – I agree possibly wrongly – has decided to call the changes in user and website behaviour “web2.0”. Do we accept that or argue differently?

    I agree that the majority of people out there have NFI what web 2.0 really is (I am still getting asked). Neither does the non tech minded “public” – say symantic web to most people and they have NFI either.

    Lots of questions and bugger all answers. Personally I am enjoying the ride so far…

    Comment by The Rooster | November 7, 2006

  2. Dave

    I am so glad that you took the time to write such a detailed comment. perhaps at some stage this topic needs to be discussed on the show.

    I guess where I come from with my POV is that I have been in this game for over 20 years now, firstly as a dev and seeing the types of structures and architectures that have been around and revisited from time to time.

    SOA is just a new fancification of the old EDI process and the CORBA protocols and architecures that went with it. I have this debate with people all the time when they talk about SOA and web services. one day when I move house and get my stored books out, I’ll post you a book on enterprise architecture with patterns from the 90s and you’ll see that what’s being espoused in SOA now is just a recycle of old themes.

    similarly, web 2.0 (as it exists now) always existed, it just didn’t have the legs to really stand up and walk 10 years ago when the web became apparent commercially.

    years ago, flash was the dominant technology that allowed this interaction to occur, albeit the presentation layers were heavy and unusable for most people on the web due to low available bandwidth. [if you really want interactive usability in a secure environment on the web, in my mind, flash leaves ajax for dead from a functional and design perspective.]

    then from that came the online caching and stripping functionality called bullant which allowed people to have heavy browser sesssions (full of rich functionality) to be able to download this sort of stuff in a small bandwidth environment.

    the only problem with bullant was not the technology, but the fashion of the web and usability – people opted for the ‘3 information level only’ approach to building web sites: the simpleton approach, so bullant was lost to the masses.

    as a civilisation, we then become more demanding with our content and so the 3 info level approach became boring – we have now (in the past 4 years) moved to the ‘gimme all I can handle’ content approach.

    now we are moving in to the ‘gimme rich functionality and content mixed together’ phase. this is not web 2.0. this is simply an extension of what people want when they become maturer with the technology that they have.

    let’s take a step sideways for a moment and explore the desktop pc and its relationship in the world. it has a similar story to the web.

    prior to most commercial organisations adopting pcs at the desktop level, to access data, most people would access a green screen console somewhere on their floor at work. basically, a very thin client.

    this was not considered efficient, and the desktop pc, networked, was introduced. on it not only came the mainframe app, but a number of other apps for productivity (ms office or that lotus stuff). a very thick client.

    as more and more apps were introduced, and the sophistication of those apps became greater, the thicker the client became (ie add more ram and bigger chips).

    now, as *we* become more sophisticated with what we want out of our productivity apps, we are, as a civilisation, moving more and more toward thin client apps again; vis gmail vs outlook, writely vs word etc etc etc.

    swings and roundabouts.

    I think that to call it all web 2.0, it actually needs to have a fundamentally causal shift to it in the underlying principles in what it does and delivers. web 2.0 as it stands at the moment does not.

    what it does deliver, in my mind, is a new excitement to the web but also a lot of unnecessary hype (generated by those within and outside of tech) that has the same danger of over-promising and under-delivering of dotcom.

    if you asked what I would call it, I couldn’t answer you. shazbot for all I care. but to label it as a new web or web 2.0 is not right.

    does that mean then that when messenger was introduced, we were at web 1.3 and the introduction of napster was web 1.4? or web now with the introduction of gmail synchronisation tool for mobile devices?

    and we don’t have to agree with general concensus in opinion in IT about web 2.0 either – especially on a term that is generally created by someone who is in marketing.

    if we did, then I would have been setting up my completely autonomic distributed web serviced computing network via a grid computing layer (web 2.6.1). 🙂

    I have just heard web 2.0 used to death – asked richard giles about the auction guy we say at influence…

    so are we really at web 2.0? the core hasn’t changed. the same principles are in place – you send a message that was based on the same POST | GET principles a long time ago.

    I think not…

    but all that said, I do like the shift that web 2.0 has bought about. for all of its potential bad, I think that the potential good is that it will really shift the way in which people believe they need to work.

    more on that later.

    Comment by provokeit | November 7, 2006

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