What is Web 2.0

Author: satz | Date: June 6, 2009

What is Web 2.0? Could be one among the most queried string on the search Engines. The simple reason is the thrust for acquiring the exact meaning of what it really means. Web 2.0 is the often quoted terms among the web developers.  But unfortunately, we have only partial information available on it. This is because of its very nature, its undergoing changes and improvements quiet frequently. In this article, let’s try to understand what it means.

Wikipedia defines Web 2.0 as, “to what is perceived as a second generation of web development and web design”.  It means, this can be said as, the New-Gen technologies and practices of web design and development.  Further to the above definition, Wikipedia characterizes it as, “Facilitating communication, information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web”

Origin

It is considered, Web 2.0″ first arose in “a brainstorming session between O’Reilly and Medialive International. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but rather to cumulative changes in the ways software developers and end-users utilize the Web – Wikipedia.

Characteristics:

Some of the characteristics of Web 2.0 are mentioned below. They are Web technology, user friendly nature, interactive nature, social nature.

Web Technology:

In terms of web technology, Web 2.0 would mean the New-Gen Technologies used in the web development in the recent times. It would consist of technologies like, Ajax, RSS, XHTML and CSS based scripting.

Ajax:

Web 2.0 based web technology often uses Ajax, and similar kind of technologies to enhance the user experience.

RSS:

RSS feeds are another Web 2.0 technology. Websites with RSS feeds are extending its contents across a wider audience. It helps users to get latest updates very easily with help of RSS feed readers.

XHTML and CSS:

Most of the Web 2.0 websites are validated against the W3C XHTML and CSS standards. This ensures the web pages more easily accessible and reduces the long loading time. The CSS can reduce the use of images and graphics and give even a better user experience. The strict nature of XHTML makes the cross browser compatibility of the web pages in most of the web browsers.

All these web technologies contribute Web 2.0 nature to the New-Gen web sites and applications. Apart from these, there are other techniques used to enhance the user experience. But we do not deal with them right now.

User Friendly nature:

Another characteristic of Web 2.0 is that Web 2.0 sites are more users friendly.  The traditional concept of long predefined process and specific patterns. One of the best examples could be “Ajax based suggest applications”. In this, as the user starts typing in, the suggestions matching to the typed letters are appearing! Another example could be the latest techniques used in the form validation. The user does not need to wait for submitting the whole form, but he gets the real-time validation information while typing in.

Web2.0 websites should be of fast loading by nature.  But exceptionally, due to the increased use of Ajax and other similar techniques on a page, the page could load very slowly. This is indeed, a misery of it. The Web 2.0 sites are of User oriented.

Interactive nature:

Unlike the ancient web sites, Web 2.0 websites are mostly friendly in user interaction.  The end user is active in the Web 2.0 web sites. In the older times, the user had no chance of interaction with the web site and he was served a static content on the pages, no matter, if he likes it or not.

Web 2.0 sites are equipped with analyzing and detecting the user’s likes and dislikes and serving the content in a more appealing manner.  One of the good examples for this can be found in most of the New-Gen sites, with the options to customize the interface and themes, by providing the user choice of theme.

In Web 2.0, the user’s contribution is more important. The user gets a chance to post or scribble his comments and thoughts on the web pages. The present technologies of blogs, forum and other social networking web sites are the best examples to Web 2.0 websites.

Social Nature:

The social nature of Web 2.0 is one of the important features of it. We live in the era of social networking and other community portals. Web 2.0 has paved way to a new social culture over internet. Some of the Web 2.0 websites have become the social identity for individuals.  They get options to communicate and interact with other in the websites, by means of chatting, email, etc.

The best examples could be blogger, Facebook, orkut, etc. We can create our own profiles, customize it, completely own it, and share it with friends. All these are the impact of the Web 2.0 in action!

Practice Web 2.0

Web2.0 has become an inevitable part of current web technology. It is expected of a Web Technology Specialist to have the adequate knowledge of Web 2.0 practices. Learning Web 2.0 practices gets its importance in the current scenario. Web 2.0 could be said as a “way of life of a Next-Gen Web developer”.

As a conclusion, we can say, Web 2.0 is not a scripting or programming language; instead, it is a practice!

Much is expected of a Web developer; for it’s all up to him what the web and Web 2.0 is..