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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Just WTF is Web 2.0 anyway?!?

Just WTF is Web 2.0 anyway?!?
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Eug
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May 4, 2007, 09:38 PM
 
I see this "Web 2.0" stuff posted all the time, and I still don't know what it means.

For example, there is some analyst saying Mac users are better than Dell users for creation of Web 2.0 content.

However, as far as I can tell, it doesn't really actually mean anything specific. Wiki talks about O'Reilly's description of it, but why should we care about some arbitrary yet loose definition he made up? It seems to me just to be a term that marketers and analysts like, while the rest of us actually "creating" stuff on the net don't actually use it... cuz it's too vague to actually mean anything substantial.

What say you?
     
alligator
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May 4, 2007, 09:40 PM
 
It is a made up word so people can pretend things on the internet are evolving. If people just keep selling the same garbage without giving it a new name, nobody would buy it.

Personally, I don't believe "Web 2.0" exists.
     
Ghoser777
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May 4, 2007, 09:59 PM
 
Isn't it more of an idea, that webpages are more dynamic? I know the concept has been around forever, but most webpages used to only allow you to view content and click links, while webpages with dynamic content that don't require refreshes are becoming more common (hence 2.0).
     
Adam Betts
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May 4, 2007, 10:02 PM
 
Web 2.0 does exist but it's not as important as one may think. It merely means user-generated contents or flexible website that allow user's input without doing any complex setup themselves (ie: Flickr over FTP photo uploading, Blogger/Wordpress.com over manual MT/WP install, YouTube over uploading your movie to your server, they all are true Web 2.0 websites.)

Of course there are companies that abused the definition of it but it doesn't mean Web 2.0 doesn't exist.
     
besson3c
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May 4, 2007, 10:22 PM
 
I agree that Web 2.0 is a term that journalists made up. My take on it is that it refers to AJAX heavy websites and the growing trend of social networking types of sites (which often include a lot of AJAX), such as the sites Adam Betts has listed.

AJAX was actually conceptualized by Microsoft and, I believe, was first seen in an earlier version of Outlook Web Access. The http protocol was only designed to fetch entire web pages. With AJAX, we can reload parts of a web page. This means we can do things such as lookup something in a database and return the results in a DIV tag on a webpage, rather than having to reload the entire page.

AJAX is rather awkward though, and often a pain to work with. I think the label "Web 2.0" might really become justified when we actually replace http with something else, rather than just adding on these ugly hacks.

The result has been that web developers are able to add new capabilities to their websites so that web applications mimic Desktop applications. All of the sites Adam Betts listed were possible prior to Web 2.0, but now they function in a more elegant manner like a Desktop application would. Now, there is a lot of talk about moving popular applications to the web.

I think all of this sort of explains the "Web 2.0" thing. In summary, I think that things are changing, but not enough to justify such a bold label. Web 2.0 is not the newest killer application.
     
Millennium
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May 4, 2007, 10:40 PM
 
Basically, Web 2.0 is a model where individual pages act as applications, rather than the whole site acts as an application via multiple pages. This is usually achieved via AJAX technology or any of its myriad cousins.
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May 4, 2007, 10:48 PM
 
Also see: Blogosphere
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xi_hyperon
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May 4, 2007, 11:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
AJAX was actually conceptualized by Microsoft and, I believe, was first seen in an earlier version of Outlook Web Access. The http protocol was only designed to fetch entire web pages. With AJAX, we can reload parts of a web page. This means we can do things such as lookup something in a database and return the results in a DIV tag on a webpage, rather than having to reload the entire page.
Some of the capabilites web developers can add are beneficial from a usability standpoint, but it can be a problem when it comes to indexing by search engines. I'm curious to see how Google, Yahoo and others adapt as AJAX becomes more widely used.
     
OreoCookie
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May 4, 2007, 11:28 PM
 
For me it means being able to watch TV shows online (legally in the US) … 

But they usually also refer to things such as maps.google.com, Google Earth, (the influence of) blogs (on media), etc.
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besson3c
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May 4, 2007, 11:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by xi_hyperon View Post
Some of the capabilites web developers can add are beneficial from a usability standpoint, but it can be a problem when it comes to indexing by search engines. I'm curious to see how Google, Yahoo and others adapt as AJAX becomes more widely used.

Well, many developers (such as myself) create non-Ajaxified pages for the search engines, but this is quite awkward. If you can help it, it is good to avoid having your content depend on a Javascript capable browser.

There is talk of Google eventually supporting Javascript driven content.
( Last edited by besson3c; May 4, 2007 at 11:40 PM. )
     
Wiskedjak
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May 4, 2007, 11:33 PM
 
For me, it means:
Flickr
Wikipedia
Google Maps
Google Office
Photoshop Online (coming soon)
Digg
     
Wiskedjak
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May 4, 2007, 11:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
For me it means being able to watch TV shows online (legally in the US) …
Not true. Joost offers television online to an international audience? CTV offers Canadian produced TV shows to Canadians and is beginning to offer US produced shows as well.
     
OreoCookie
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May 4, 2007, 11:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Not true. Joost offers television online to an international audience? CTV offers Canadian produced TV shows to Canadians and is beginning to offer US produced shows as well.
Perhaps, but I cannot see shows like CSI on demand at home, because they trace my IP and conclude I'm not in the `right country'. Ditto for webcasts of BSG, I had to watch them on youtube.
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Wiskedjak
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May 5, 2007, 12:03 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Perhaps, but I cannot see shows like CSI on demand at home, because they trace my IP and conclude I'm not in the `right country'. Ditto for webcasts of BSG, I had to watch them on youtube.
No question there is limited selection outside the US, but there is still some selection and it's slowly increasing.
     
Kerrigan
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May 5, 2007, 01:49 AM
 
Wow Eug, welcome to 2004
     
Chuckit
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May 5, 2007, 03:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
The http protocol was only designed to fetch entire web pages.
That's not really true. HTTP is basically a resource-access protocol. The concept of a "page" is on a different level than HTTP. The way Web browsers are designed, yes, it's traditionally been about pages, but pretty much no Web browser even implements the entire spec. HTTP as it exists now is pretty darn good — it's the browsers and Web content standards that need to get their **** together.

Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
AJAX is rather awkward though, and often a pain to work with. I think the label "Web 2.0" might really become justified when we actually replace http with something else, rather than just adding on these ugly hacks.
AJAX can be a royal pain, but more than anything else, that's because the API is from the freakin' Stone Age. All these frameworks springing up around it like Prototype are a step in the right direction. What we need is for Web development to get the kind of library support we have for desktop development.
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Eug  (op)
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May 5, 2007, 05:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Millennium View Post
Basically, Web 2.0 is a model where individual pages act as applications, rather than the whole site acts as an application via multiple pages. This is usually achieved via AJAX technology or any of its myriad cousins.
Except that most journalists using the term probably have no idea what AJAX is.

Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
Wow Eug, welcome to 2004
Actually, the reason I brought this up again is because I read an article yesterday using the term, and realized that after all these years, I still don't know WTF "Web 2.0" means.
     
Chuckit
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May 5, 2007, 05:52 AM
 
Much like Modernism didn't necessarily use different paints, Web 2.0 is more of a movement than a specific set of technologies. It is basically just a philosophy in which Web pages are meant to feel like real applications instead of documents or a series of clunky forms. So yes, you could say it's an idea that's more useful for commentators than it is for people actually doing the work. Most of what they call "Web 2.0 technologies" are basically what they called "DHTML" 10 years ago.
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May 5, 2007, 12:02 PM
 
Web 2.0 for me means that a site looks like a blog. With tag clouds. There ya go.
     
Kerrigan
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May 5, 2007, 01:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by C.A.T.S. CEO View Post
Also see: Blogosphere
What are these "blogs" you speak of? Please enlighten us.
     
Kevin
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May 5, 2007, 08:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
FPhotoshop Online (coming soon)
That would be awkward.
     
Eriamjh
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May 5, 2007, 08:52 PM
 
I thought Web 2.0 was supposed to be the super-duper fast internet. 1GBps, etc. We're still stuck here at 6MBps. Fast internet my ass.

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May 5, 2007, 08:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
I thought Web 2.0 was supposed to be the super-duper fast internet. 1GBps, etc. We're still stuck here at 6MBps. Fast internet my ass.
Your thinking of Internet 2.0, a bit different.
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besson3c
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May 5, 2007, 09:21 PM
 
Internet 2 is a research focused high speed network that is separate from the general commercial internet, AFAIK.
     
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May 5, 2007, 09:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
What are these "blogs" you speak of? Please enlighten us.
Go here for an example.
     
moep
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May 6, 2007, 08:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
That would be awkward.
It's coming, soon. (around autumn)

http://news.com.com/2100-7345_3-6163015.html

I like the idea, although I'm somewhat curious about the performance of it.
What worries me is that it's probably going to end up so watered down that it's a direct replacement to ms paint.

As for the Topic, Web 2.0 means to me being able to interact with the page you're using. I think of Web 2.0 as a "read-write web" with dynamic and interactive pages using AJAX, CSS and semantic XHTML instead of "read-only web" with some text and a few images wrapped in static html.
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Eriamjh
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May 6, 2007, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by C.A.T.S. CEO View Post
Your thinking of Internet 2.0, a bit different.
Internet, Web, whatever. Both suck.

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