Monday, October 03, 2005

There's no such thing as Web 2.0

Tim O'Reilly's forthcoming Web 2.0 conference, and his recent "What is Web 2.0?" essay has sparked a lot of debate about the future of web applications. I've also noticed some blog comment about a recent piece on Rich Internet Applications I wrote for the Guardian, which wondered why I didn't refer to Web 2.0 in the piece at all. Here's what I think. There's no such thing as Web 2.0. What people are calling Web 2.0 is actually the user interface layer for what I'm writing about in this blog. Let's calling it Computing 5.0. It's not a bad definition, especially if we look at the various phases of IT evolution: 1.0 was the mainframe 2.0 was the personal computer 3.0 was client-server 4.0 was the web and n-tier architectures 5.0 is tomorrow's world of virtualised infrastructure and loosely connected service architectures Tim O'Reilly describes Web 2.0 as:
Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.
That's exactly what we need to provide the context-sensitive, process-driven UIs this next generation of applications is going to require. We're going to need tools to help us mix services into UIs that will add value to our lives and businesses. We need tools that can work when we're connected, and when we're disconnected from the network. We need AJAX, we need Flash, we need XAML and WinFX, we need Java Server Faces and Spring and Ruby On Rails, we need RSS and ATOM, we need HTTP/POX and we need REST. That's what the Web 2.0 folk are building. That's what they're giving us. They're building the MVC pattern for Computing 5.0. Now let's get that back end up and running.


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