Cheat Notes for Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is yet another religious issue for people actually building it—both those on the tool side, and those on the content side. It’s a natural development from the roots of the Internet as a communication system, and not anything like as sudden or revolutionary as some would make it.

The Web as it is now, and as it is developing, increasingly depends on broadband and cheap server space. These are going to both grow exponentially and become ubiquitous.

I. Web 2.0 grew out of Content Management Systems/Blogging/Wikis and similar tools.

These tools:

  1.  Server side—they exist on a server, and rely on Web front ends on the user side (a Web browser,HTML/XML, Javascript/Ajax, CSS) for the UI, and work in partnership with a database backend on the server (Oracle, Microsoft Sequel Server, MySQL), and a scripting language (Perl, PHP, Ruby/RubyOnRails) that works between the database and the user’s Web browser or other content viewer (middleware, if you will).
  2.  The UI of these tools is such that ordinary mortals can create, edit, publish, post, and moderate content—and the content can be image, text, audio, video (Rich Media for buzz word fiends). The use of Javascript/Ajax/CSS have a lot to do with the usability/user friendly nature of these tools. The difficulties include adapting to the constantly changing standards, and, especially, supporting Web browser idiosynracies.

II. Web 2.0 content is malleable. Content, or data, can be reused, reformed, “repurposed”

(Sub principle: digital data is liquid)

  1.  The content once created is subscribable, and reusable; Web 2.0 assumes Web Services. There are new content friendly protocols—things like RSS and Atom and any number of others—that allow content to travel with metadata (content about the content that describes the kind of data, the creators, the time and date, etc.).
  2.  The content and the content presentation encourage community and data sharing.
    1.  The content is editable; it’s not static.
    2.  The content is social—people subscribe to feeds provided by a Web service. People Comment on Blog posts, Edit Wiki entries, or use pings/trackback to signal reader interaction on their own blogs/wikis.
    3.  Links and search are the tools for finding content; tagging, “smart” parsing, indexing, and related phenomena grew out of users’ (readers) desire for better ways of finding and organizing content.

    III. Web 2.0’s “business philosophy” is described in think pieces by a variety of writers and readers of the Web, including (but not limited to):

    You’ll see lots of jargon about “the market conversation,” but really, it comes back to content, usability, and audience awareness—the principles of rhetoric from before Aristotle.

    Give people what they want, in the way they want it, and do it courteously and well.

    Originally written in 2005 or 2004?