Monday, March 20, 2006

complete explanation of Web 2.0: Part 1.0

Here's one way to approach the subject of the revolutionary Web 2.0: quote a big chunk, the beginning of the Wikipedia Web 2.0 article. Attach my chump running commentary to it, turning into an ungainly, unremarkable monstrosity of ill proportioned muck.

"Brilliant!" I whimpered masochistically to myself, since no one else is ever around.

I had just slumped exhaustedly into my office chair, after returning from dealing blows against the empire in an IT forum on how IT staff should dress.

I treated the narcissistically collapsed capsizing, domination system, white male patriarchal, cat-herding, lemming-lurching, command and control, unrestrained control freaky, seductively superficial, infamously fascist aspects of corporate dress codes...

...while unabashedly admitting that the dumb things, purely materialistic whimsy, must be accommodated, for self-sacrificial heroism faced with visually dependent, Harem Mentality bigotry.

But a great many IT workers said a tie is a hazard around printers, and that they crawl around inside computers and get dirty, torn up, abused. Suits, thus not practical, except in client meetings or other occasions of visiting dignitaries.

I look at dress code from a metaphysical and psychoanalytic perspective, as much or more so than the Machivellian angle.

On a happier topic, let's look now at Web 2.0


Wikipedia: Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term popularized by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International as the name for a series of web development conferences that started in October 2004.

It has since come to refer to what some people describe as a second phase of architecture and application development for the World Wide Web.

Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997).

[VASPERS: Easy mnemonic: "web 2.0" = web objects and services that are much more like the 3 step simplicity and user-control/customization of blogs, Library Thing, Swicki, Gmail, Blogger, iTunes, Odeo, etc.]

They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The term may include blogs and wikis. To some extent Web 2.0 has become a buzzword, incorporating whatever is newly popular on the Web (such as tags and podcasts).

A consensus on its exact meaning has not yet been reached.

[VASPERS: Consensus? On what? "Web 2.0" or "blog" or "user-centric" or "internet"? Or "truth", "justice", "ethical"...who cares about consensus on a definition? Just define your terms as you use them, hopefully close to how most others use them, if possible, and move on.]


1 Introduction
2 Market Drivers of Web 2.0
3 New web-based communities
4 New web-based applications
5 Advanced technology
5.1 Overview of Web 2.0 techniques
5.1.1 Technical
5.1.2 General
5.2 Rich Internet Applications
5.2.1 Server-side software
5.2.2 Client-side software
5.3 RSS
5.4 Web protocols
6 Criticism
7 External links
7.1 API references
7.2 General coverage and commentary


With its allusion to the version numbers that commonly designate software upgrades, Web 2.0 was a trendy way to indicate an improved form of the World Wide Web, and the term has been in occasional use for several years.

[VASPERS: How I basically see it is this: the Blog Revolution of the Universalization of Web Content has spawned the sleepy giants' awakening to a world of simplicity, ease, and average user dominance.

We common unwashed masses even have customized search engines, free ebooks, video, music mp3s, games, and all the stuff the stuffy corporate web disregarded with their "brochureware" and commodity internet.]

It was eventually popularized by O'Reilly Media and MediaLive International for a conference they hosted after Dale Dougherty mentioned it during a brainstorming session. Dougherty suggested that the Web was in a renaissance, with changing rules and evolving business models.

The participants assembled examples — "DoubleClick was Web 1.0; Google AdSense is Web 2.0. Ofoto is Web 1.0; Flickr is Web 2.0" — rather than definitions.

Dougherty recruited John Battelle for a business perspective, and it became the first Web 2.0 Conference in October 2004. A second annual conference was held in October 2005.

In their first conference opening talk, O'Reilly and Battelle summarized key principles they believe characterize Web 2.0 applications:

* the Web as platform;

* data as the driving force;

[VASPERS: No, something must *drive the data* and the functionalities, and that driver is User Needs & Expectations.]

* network effects created by an "architecture of participation";

* innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of "open source" development);

* lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication;

[VASPERS: From web to pre-surfed web to delivered, customized web.]

* the end of the software adoption cycle ("the perpetual beta");

* software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of "The Long Tail".

[VASPERS: The idea of all products being "perpetual beta" has both positive and negative connotations.

Positive = being open to user feedback, incorporating customer suggestions, designing for problem solving for end users.

Negative = knowing released with bugs and unforeseen limitations, hoping for "free usability analysis" from users, whom you should be pleasing, not burdening.]

An earlier usage of the phrase Web 2.0 was as a synonym for "Semantic Web", and indeed, the two concepts complement each other. The combination of social networking systems such as FOAF and XFN with the development of tag-based folksonomies and delivered through blogs and wikis creates a natural basis for a semantic environment.

Although the technologies and services that comprise Web 2.0 are less powerful than an internet in which the machines can understand and extract meaning, as proponents of the Semantic Web envision, Web 2.0 represents a step in its direction.

As used by its proponents, the phrase refers to one or more of the following:

* The transition of websites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming a computing platform serving web applications to end users

[VASPERS: I see blogs evolving to portals and arcade zones: a place where a user can read posts, play games, hear podcasts, watch videos, download music, view photo galleries, search for specific information, and navigate to relevant sites.

The blogger establishes a trust factor within his readership, then she nonchalantly promotes, in a blase manner, waffled with comical self-loathing, a product or book or service.]

* A social phenomenon referring to an approach to creating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation."

* A more organized and categorized content, with a far more developed deep-linking web architecture.

* A shift in economic value of the web, possibly surpassing that of the dot com boom of the late 1990s

* A marketing term to differentiate new web businesses from those of the dot com boom, which due to the bust now seem discredited.

[VASPERS: A good resource for the dot com bust is F'd Companies: Spectacular Dot Com Flameouts, by Philip J. Kaplan (Simon Schuster, 2002).]

* The resurgence of excitement around the possibilities of innovative web applications and services that gained a lot of momentum around mid 2005.

[VASPERS: Again, just think blog, iPod, iTunes, Skype VoIP, Swicki custom search engine, RSS/Atom, Google, Odeo, Krugle.]

Many find it easiest to define Web 2.0 by associating it with companies or products that embody its principles. Some of the more well known Web 2.0 entities are Google Maps, Flickr,, digg,, and Technorati.

Many recently developed concepts and technologies are seen as contributing to Web 2.0, including weblogs, linklogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds and other forms of many to many publishing; social software, web APIs, web standards, online web services, and others.

Proponents of the Web 2.0 concept say that it differs from early web development, retroactively labeled Web 1.0, in that it is a move away from static websites, the use of search engines, and surfing from one website to the next, to a more dynamic and interactive World Wide Web.

[VASPERS: The more dynamic and interactive web will *also* be more democratic, decentralized, complex, diverse, ubiquitous, tyrannical, usable, customizable, integrated, mandatory, and faster.

We're being given a mercy killing goodbye gift from the machine world, as it prepares to obsolete and usurp us.]

Others argue that the original and fundamental concepts of the WWW are not actually being superseded.

[VASPERS: What is happening is the cool stuff Charles Babbage, Konrad Zuse, John Atanasoff, Howard Aiken, John Mauchly, J. Presper Ekckert, Vannevar Bush, Doug Englebart, Vint Cerf, J.C.R. Licklider, Robert Taylor, Tim Berners-Lee imagined, argued for, and wished to just now beginning to happen for a universal clientele: us, the common people.]

Skeptics argue that the term is little more than a buzzword, or that it means whatever its proponents want it to mean in order to convince their customers, investors, and the media that they are creating something fundamentally new, rather than continuing to develop and use well-established technologies [1].

[VASPERS: Ha! "well-established technologies", what an oxymoron. Try telling the telephone, ISP, video rental, IT suppliers, auto industry, music stores, or cable companies they're "well-established".

In the digital age, there is no "well-established", no "inevitable", but merely a play of forces that depend on champions and inherent user benefit.]

On September 30, 2005, Tim O'Reilly wrote a seminal piece neatly summarizing the subject. The mindmap above sums up the memes of web2.0 with example sites and services attached. It was created by Markus Angermeier on November 11, 2005.

What is now termed "Web 1.0" often consisted of static HTML pages that were updated rarely, if at all. They depended solely on HTML, which a new Internet user could learn fairly easily.

The success of the dot-com era depended on a more dynamic Web (sometimes labeled Web 1.5) where content management systems served dynamic HTML web pages created on the fly from a content database that could more easily be changed. In both senses, so-called eyeballing was considered intrinsic to the Web experience, thus making page hits and visual aesthetics important factors.

Proponents of the Web 2.0 approach believe that Web usage is increasingly oriented toward interaction and rudimentary social networks, which can serve content that exploits network effects with or without creating a visual, interactive web page.

[VASPERS: Again, this is merely what the original idea was, and it was working so good, the corporate world tried, and keeps trying, to make a buck off it.]

In one view, Web 2.0 sites act more as points of presence, or user-dependent web portals, than as traditional websites. They have become so advanced new internet users cannot create these websites, they are only users of web services, done by specialist professional experts.

[VASPERS: What's this "new users cannot create these websites"? Heck, new users can't do much of anything at all, and who can blame them? If we make good web sites, ease of use is proof of goodness, not design accolades based on tempermental whimsy.

I don't want "new users" making any websites, not if they don't even know how to use the ones that already exist.]

Perhaps web content will become less under the control of specialised, so-called web designers and closer to Tim Berners-Lee's original concept of the web as a democratic, personal, and DIY medium of communication. Content is less likely to flow through email and more likely to be posted on an attractive webpage and distributed by RSS.

Market Drivers of Web 2.0

While the term might have appeared out of nowhere, the underlying fundamentals of this evolutionary shift stay the same:
Broadband has become mainstream and ubiquitous, resulting in an increased usage of the Internet for even small tasks on different devices.

More people go online for a variety of tasks and shopping-related activities.

The founders and executive management of the first batch of companies have moved on - either joined one of the big players, left to join VCs, or start or join a completely new thing. This means a lot of experience of what did and didn't work is in the mix.

New ventures can grow more slowly - barriers to entry are lower, there's less pressure to gain venture capital, less hype to cater to.

New web-based communities

Web 2.0 has created new online social networks amongst the general public. Some of the websites run social software where people work together. Other websites reproduce several individuals RSS feeds on one page. Other ones provide deep-linking between individual websites.

[VASPERS: Thus, blogs are a form of web site, and web sites are of necessity heavily linked entities, which is why it's called a "web", and not an ocean, or abyss. Deep linking, what other legit linking is there?

Only rarely is there a need to link to a main page, generally it is a formality, a way to reference a source or list a service, but even then, there is surely a better page to enter the site at, than the clunky main index home page?

Linking means thought connecting to thought, not to institutions, unless the institution is a key ingredient in the thought.]

The syndication and messaging capabilities of Web 2.0 have created, to a greater or lesser degree, a tightly-woven social fabric among individuals that would have formerly been impossible.

Unarguably, the nature of web-based communities has changed in recent months and years.

The meaning of these changes, however, has pundits divided.

Basically, ideological lines run thusly: Web 2.0 either empowers the individual and provides an outlet for the 'voice of the voiceless'; or it elevates the amateur to the detriment of professionalism, expertise and clarity.

[VASPERS: Such a silly, empty-headed attitude, this "elevate the amateur", as though the technology itself could perform a non-discriminatory "levitation", or better: "remote levitation" on the undeserving, postmodernly correct "dabbler", the mad scrabbler, fit for no one's shoes anymore.

Much moping around, fretting about the "amateur", i.e., "consumer armed with digital power"--unleashed, the ultimate Pandora's box! I champion it, to the bitter end.]


1 comment:

steven edward streight said...

From Randy Primm via email:


so what is this web 2.0 all about really?

i googles it, and got back the usual techno-crud talk, very similiar to yours in fact.

couldn't make heads or tails of it unless...

it sounds to me like an advertiser's attempts to brand everybody, which is amusing, and odd.

5 billion brands?

or is it (and i think i understand this part) about putting everybody in some kind of can or shelf of products in the supermarket of the net:

sugar, beans, politics, my puppy, bikini babes or whatever.

some help here would be appreciated, as i hate to be left out in the moving stream of the new tekno electronic earth consciousness.

desperate to get a grip, i remain


Anarchy is better than no government at all

Reality Frame
LA Express
Marching Morons


VASPERS: Anarchy Rules!

All tech has unintended consequences.
An unintended consequence of business entering the internet with their dot coms was:

slowing down, dumbing down, lowering of quality, mute gazing at static web sites that were just online catalogs...or worse, usually much worse.

Then came blogs, the personalized, personally controlled web site for the average guy or CEO.

Suddenly, the personal trivia bloggers started studying HTML, CSS, and digital imagery.

The result: Web 2.0