Why whine about Web 2.0 ?

web20.pngEverything is Web 2.0 nowadays. It’s trendy. It’s AJAX. It’s rounded corners. Sometimes one might wonder if it’s the same dozen of guys/gals (almost in their thirties, from Texas, has a cat and a little kid) that writes all the Web 2.0 sites. Yes, it’s a bit dogmatic, it’s even getting a bit conformist (“Hey, where’s the rounded corners! That’s not Web 2.0!”). It is a bit blown up, for sure.

So is it all just crap, old news or no news at all? Actually, a simple comparison between any Web 2.0-site and it’s Web 1.0 predecessor, or desktop program, shows the differences. There are a few very apparent advantages of the Web 2.0. Sure, the technology isn’t that new (“My grandpa was a XMLHTTPRequest pioneer back in summer of 1999!”), but it’s now about the tech, it’s about how you use it, mate. Web 2.0 offers for example:

  • Mobility – the service is accessible from any (modern) browser, anywhere with Internet.
  • Instantly up’n running – no install, just type it in your browser.
  • No more updating software – server-side software can always be up to date.
  • Usability – almost the same as desktop programs, and far better than previous web sites.
  • Social collaboration – basically, sharing information in a way previous sites did in a halfhearted fashion, and that desktop programs don’t do at all.
  • Business interest. Thanks to Web 2.0, whatever it is, the Web is hot again and you can start earning money. I guess that’s good?

Someone wise said that Web 2.0 is basically just about making the browser into a virtual machine, like Java. And in a sense, that’s very true, the browsers are becoming full-fledged software platforms. Buta browser is network oriented, while Java and other virtual machines are desktop oriented – which makes a clear difference. You still have to install a Java program (sometimes from the command line – that’s usability folks 😉 ), and you have to get the updates yourself and there is very little use of the Internet in the Java software out there.