Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

Summary: During a podcast interview (transcript here) last week with Scott Laningham of IBM developerWorks, the father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee offered his view on the term "Web 2.0": LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.

TOPICS: Enterprise 2.0

During a podcast interview (transcript here) last week with Scott Laningham of IBM developerWorks, the father of the Web Tim Berners-Lee offered his view on the term "Web 2.0":

LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.0, a common explanation out there is Web 1.0 was about connecting computers andmaking information available; and Web 2 is about connecting people and facilitating new kinds of collaboration.  Is thathow you see Web 2.0?

BERNERS-LEE:  Totally not.  Web 1.0 was all about connecting people.  It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means.  If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people.  But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

And in fact, you know, this Web 2.0, quote, it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0.  It means using the document object model, it means for HTML and SVG and so on, it's using HTTP, so it's building stuff using the Web standards, plus Java script of course.

So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact.

Now, I really like the idea of people building things in hypertext, the sort of a common hypertext space to explain what the common understanding is and thus capturing all the ideas which led to a given position.  I think that's really important. And I think that blogs and wikis are two things which are fun, I think they've taken off partly because they do a lot of the management of the navigation for you and allow you to add content yourself.

But I think there will be a whole lot more things like that to come, different sorts of ways in which people will be able to work together.

The semantic wikis are very interesting.  These are wikis in which people can add data and then that data can then be surfaced an  sliced and diced using all kinds of different semantic Web tools, so that's why it's exciting the way people, things are going, but I think there are lots of new things in that vein that we have yet to invent.


For Berners-Lee, the Web is just the Web (no versioning) and has always been about interaction between people online. About a year ago, O'Reilly came up with his lengthy exposition on what is Web 2.0,  which basically describes how the Web has evolved over the last ten years ( by 2015 we will have Web 3.0).


Gavin Clarke of the Register.com follows up on Berners-Lee's comments with a story that catalogs many of the other 2.0s (Office, Enterprise, SOA. lunch, etc.) and points to a "plethora of me-too business plans, marketing pitches and analyst reports exploiting the nebulous phrase" as a sign of the times. Indeed, the 2.0 proliferation is simply a natural effect of human intelligence at work--marketers, conference creators, journalists, pundits and lexicographers all trying to capture  themes, the essense of movements in time and give them names that have iconic, instant recognition, although the deeper meaning will be in the eye of the beholder.   Here's a modest proposal for solving the versioning problem: Let's just call it Web Y15, given WWW was developed at CERN by Berners-Lee in 1991.

See also: Dana Gardner's "Scrap Web 2.0, yes, but embrace Knowledge 2.0 surely"

Topic: Enterprise 2.0

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  • LOL, this is so true

    There was a great website devoted to Web 2.0 certifications. It had a check list of things that if you qualify for any one of them, you're Web 2.0

    Things like:
    * Rounded corners
    * A touch of Google maps
    • So Gmail is Web 2.0

      Gmail uses tiny images to make rounded corners. What an abomination this thing has become.
  • I am so tired of hearing about Web 2.0

    like its a frikkin new thing to socially collaborate on the Internet.

    So, what about BBS's, IRC, online chat, forums, damn even CServe's Worldsaway virtual worlds? Shall we catagorise those as Web 0.25beta?

    Don't get me wrong here, I like the idea of collaboration, I simply do not subscribe to the common notion that we are doing anything new here. Is a blog really that much different to a forum? Compuserve / Prodigy et al were doing online forums long before WWW even came along.
    I also don't feel the need to place a damn label on everything that happens. The web is a continuously changing arena. New ideas come (and go), trends appear and disappear quickly. Attempting to label a current snapshot of the Web is pointless. Tomorrow might as well be Web 2.01.

    O'Reilly likes to be on the bleeding edge of development. Nothing wrong with that, but I do wish they would stick to reporting about what is happening, not coming up with ridiculous labels / definitions which have no real-world basis.
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  • Web 2.0 is loading pages with so much

    scripting that it takes 2 times longer to open.
  • Quantify it?

    So how could one quantify the term "Web 2.0"? The only possible answer I can think of is to extrapolate the architectural patterns from Tim's examples (Graph: Web 1.0 -> Web 2.0) to see what makes the two things different. At best, one could state that the Web 2.0 is a collection of high level design patterns and related idioms. I started a project to quantify a few of these and found it also useful for other orphaned terms like the Semantic Web and SOA. A group of people got so disgusted with SOA having no context or definition, they actually spent 15 months doing the same thing - mapping out the patterns that make SOA what it is. This work was done at OASIS. How did the industry respond? SOA 2.0!!! This illustrates a very disturbing pattern of human behavior.

    For more on Web 2.0 patterns, see http://technoracle.blogspot.com/2006/04/web-20.html
  • web2.0

    and all this time i thought al gore was father of web:-)
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  • No New Innovation in Web 2.0

    Totally agree with Tim and FINALLY some real common sense about all this hyped up technology. Lets cut to the chase....all Web 2.0 is is a bunch of creative web developers finding a few different ways to organize posted form field submitted data and client-side circus tricks (ie JScript) in web sites that move text and images around on tnhe screen. Thats it!

    Sorry, no real innovation there. And as well, I feel most of those new technologies are not helping people in their browser experiences AT ALL, but actually hurting them. Allot of people (10%+) have Javascript disabled or is unavailable in thier browser, so cannot experience the wonders of things like Google Maps and other AJAX enabled sites. As well, all this free user-posted blog and wiki data fills up the interenet with non-factual data that over time, is reducing the quality of search results as most of it is subjective opinions about events and personal communication between online visitors....not factual data.

    My overall feeling is the term Web 2.0 does NOT EXIST and should NEVER have been coined by anyone. We are still in Web 1.0.

    Until some innovative standards group and the browser vendors discover some new protocols or new medium or some new markup language or way of streaming data, and thats implmented for everyone across the web by all browsers, we wont see any new innovation ever online!

    Creative use of text and image binary data in web sites does not constitute innovation! Remember that folls, because as web developers (like myself) we all do that every day and every web site we build!
    • Digital Immortality

      Good URLs live forever. Valid content can last a millenium.

      What will your digital footprint say to your great grandchildren, or for that matter to the children of Africa, or even Iraq?
  • To me, the next generation web is rich interactive web applications

    built on standards that can cache themselves for offline use (where appropriate). Data is stored online and also cached (backed up) on your local hard disk. Of course many of these applications will only work online since they help you search/view/use large data stores online.

    And that is a lot of what the next generation web will be about, rich interactive web applicaions that give you a much better interface to all that data than just hypertext.

    Of course with applications running online instead of local, colaboration will be much easier and more instant.

    Call it web 2.0 if you want, but it is really just the evolution of the web.

    Of course Microsoft will be fighting tooth and nail to make the next generation proprietary so that it requires Windows. They have billions to lose if they don't do this, they really have no choice. But, this will of course diminish the value for everybody else.
  • There is a lot happening right now, maybe trying to call this Web 2.0 is a

    bad idea, but this rich interactive web application thing is changing the world and how we view the web and the desktop. In the not-to-distant future, we will be able to do all of our computing on the cloude with a $100 computer. The web is becomming a lot faster, a lot more reliable, and a lot more ubiquitous. This combined with rich interactive web applications and sub $100 computers really is a huge generational change.

    Yes, Web 2.0 is abused and over used, but the next generation is comming.
    • The irony is that rich Web applications require a more powerful computer

      The irony of your comment that "we will be able to do all of our computing on the cloude with a $100 computer" is that web applications actually require more computing power than client-server rich-client computing. It's also ironic that so called "thin-clients" cost a lot more than traditional PCs.

      Thin client vendors justify this price premium because they claim a lower TCO, but that's only because thin clients are an extreme form of standardization. But a locked down traditional rich desktop environment that allows no user-customization would have the exact same cost of management.
      • Sorry George...

        ...but a lot more? No. I have a mix of locked down PCs and Terminal Server "thin clients" and I can tell you which ones cost more up front and in management (and it's not the thin clients).

        I'm not sure what "web applications" won't run on a decent server/thin-client setup, but short of streaming video feeds, I've never seen a problem if the server is scaled properly for the user load.

        I don't want my users streaming video to their desks anyway, so it solves 2 problems.
  • Simplicity Itself

    Web 1.0 = Building the web

    Web 2.0 = Using the web as a platform
  • Web 2.0 is an abomination.

    Enough said. End of the story.
  • "Web 2.0" is simply....

    ...a "Marketing" created Jackalope. It's something to justify a bigger budget, invent snazzy acronyms that can be used to confuse the higher ups. It's what the "Marketing Guys" have always been good at.

    I'll admit that the availablity of knowledge on the web is awe inspiring at times, but to create a psudo-religion around the conveyance method is a sad, sad hobby (much less a profession).
  • RE: Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

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  • RE: Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

    I use many web 2.0 properties, and it's cool that it is continually evolving

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  • RE: Web 2.0 = a piece of jargon

    Web 2.0 sounds so catchy..a new term for a new age

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