Can Web 2.0 stoke interest in bigger things?

Web 2.0's energy is adding some sparkle to IT -- and maybe that's exactly what's needed at this time.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

There has been plenty of hype and excitement around Web 2.0 in recent months. But how does all this fuss translate into real business value? 

Probably not much, right now. I've seen enough technology fads come and go to realize that a year from now we may be talking about other things. But many consumeristic trends do eventually percolate up into the corporate arena. Look at the PC revolution of the 1980s and the Internet revolution of the 1990s.  

Web 2.0, or the collaborative, real-time uses for the Web, such as blogs, wikis, the Google Galaxy, Really Simple Syndication, and, yes, Web services, now has a momentum of its own. It all may come crashing down tomorrow.

But Dion Hinchcliffe, writing in SOA WebServices Journal, urges us to go with the flow and ride the wave as far as we can. He gives us five reasons why Web 2.0 will matter in things that, well, matter.

It's notable that Dion's reasoning is based more on the sizzle, versus the steak. But, perhaps offering something that makes people's eyes light up is what the industry needs right now. Remember all the excitement around e-commerce a few years back? Perhaps we need such silly excitement every few years to drive the staleness from our hidebound businesses. And, in all fairness, we did eventually see value from the e-commerce revolution, once the five-billion-dollar virtual companies were flattened by the laws of gravity.

Reason #1: The focus of technology moves To people with Web 2.0.  "One of the lessons the software industry relearns every generation is that it's always a people problem...   Web 2.0 ideas have been successful because they effectively put people back into the technological equation." Participation and collaboration are key ideas here.

Reason #2: Web 2.0 represents best practices.  "The ideas in the Web 2.0 toolbox were not pulled from thin air... they were systematically identified by what actually worked during the first generation of the Web.  Web 2.0 contains proven techniques for building valuable Web-based software and experiences...  If you want to make software deliver the very best content and functionality to its users, Web 2.0 is an ideal place to start."

Reason #3: Web 2.0 has excellent Feng Shui.  "As someone that has designed and built lots of software for two decades now, I have plenty of regard for the way the pieces of Web 2.0 fit together snugly and mutually reinforce each other."

Reason #4: Quality is maximized, waste is minimized. "Using Web 2.0 you can build better software with less people, less money, less abstractions, less effort, and with this increase in constraints you get cleaner, more satisfying software as the result. And simpler software is invariably higher quality."

Reason #5: Web 2.0 has a ballistic trajectory. "You can use the leviathan forces of attention and enthusiasm that are swirling around Web 2.0 these days as a powerful enabler to make something important and exciting happen in your organization.

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