Mar 18 2008

Is Web 2.0 Buzzword BS?

Posted by Mike Brunt at 12:09 PM
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Rainy days and buzzwords really get me down; aka Is Web 2.0 just BS?  Having read odd references here and there to Web 2.0, okay there and there; I thought I should make a conscious effort to educate myself as best as I could, about Web 2.0. My world is very much back-end-server based so I think that has sheltered me or perhaps hidden me from a lot of Web 2.0 things which are not just front-end related, databases being a key component.

O'Reilly have always been an organization I respect a lot.  Of course they are known primarily as a publisher of excellent books; they were also one of the first companies to market a Windows based web server; O'Reilly WebSite (Professional) and also a very good commercial Forum product; Webboard.  From memory those were both products driven by Bob Denny, in any case I am digressing back to Web 1.0 days, well that is what it is called now and I am not being sarcastic.  Apparently O'Reilly were instrumental in coining the phrase Web 2.0, the article I read to become more informed "The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O'Reilly VP".  The full article, by Tim O'Reilly, someone I have great respect for, can be accessed here. 

So I read through this article twice, I am not sure I am any more sure of a concrete feeling of what Web 2.0 is and I think it is because to me it was always there and evolving, in fact the whole aspect of anything to do with the Internet is and has been in constant evolution.  I am a bit leery also of the bent of the article toward all things Open Source, as I say I am very respectful of Tim O'Reilly yet the most promising of technologies in melding web and desktop worlds together, Flash-Flex-AIR are pretty much ignored, yet iTunes gets an honorary mention as a bastion of that desktop-web world,  Lazlo gets a mention yet Flex does not, if his article were purely aimed at Open-Source and nothing else, iTunes would not be there. 

One inalienable fact of life, whether we like it or not, most innovations come as a result of a profit opportunity.  I am waiting for the day when jobs are open-sourced! Also,there are significant security and scalability concerns with Ajax which do even get one iota of a mention. 

Speaking of jobs, I thought I should visit Dice and see how many Web 2.0 jobs are posted and which companies are posting them.  Here are some details of that.

Web 2.0 Job Listings DICE - Using Web 2.0 as the search criteria brings up 1,961 positions on Dice, the first in the list is interesting, it with company called "Tibco".  Some of the Tenets of Web 2.0, are loose-coupling and hack ability (accessible by all); I have worked on a couple of projects with Tibco products and I can tell you they are neither loosely coupled nor accessible in fact in both cases I had to assist the users to get beyond 20-30 minute instantiation times.

Web 2.0 Job Listings MONSTER - Using Web 2.0 as the search criteria brings up 2,529 positions on Monster.  

One last point I wanted to note, almost all the job details I looked at mention Ajax.  As RIA and agnostic web-desktop applications are a key part of Web 2.0 why, I ask myself, is Adobe not active in pushing Actionscript-AIR-Flash-Flex as key parts of Web 2.0?  Whether I like it or not, Web 2.0 is a concept (be it a buzzword or not) that has a heck of a lot of traction.



Rich wrote on 03/18/08 1:50 PM

I don’t disagree with you that Web 2.0 has become a buzzword, but you cannot deny that Web 2.0 is in fact a significant movement in Internet technology regardless of how you define it.

If you consider the Internet prior to Web 2.0 you’re in a vast world full of inconsistency and ambiguity; a real wild west of in the technology realm. Come Web 2.0 and we begin to see the standardization of the Internet as a development platform. Want proof? Microsoft is developing browsers that meet standards compliance. Adobe is developing SDKs that allow developers to build desktop-like applications on the Internet and we're seeing the envelope on JavaScript, CSS, XML and HTML being pushed to new heights almost daily.

So weather you define it as a front-end movement, a server-end movement or database movement, the truth is Web 2.0 is a shift toward making the Internet a more reliable and robust experience through standardization.
Mike Brunt

Mike Brunt wrote on 03/18/08 3:07 PM

Rich, thanks for taking the time to comment, my main point here is not necessarily that Web 2 is BS rather that the thrust of that O'Reilly piece; which neglects the main technologies melding desktop and web, Actionscript-AIR-Flash-Flex. To me the bias is obvious particularly as Lazlo gets a mention. If Web2 is about the blurring of desktop and web Adobe products should be front and center stage not conspicuous by their absence. - Thanks again.
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