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Category Mobile - Web - Media
Date Tuesday, Sep 27, 2005 10:21:03 AM
Answering Web 2.0 Questions
Today's blog post, is a response to a series of questions posted on Joshua Porter's Blog, entitled: Bokardo

Joshua's blog is generally focused on "Web 2.0" - which is the 'next wave' of the Internet. While Web 2.0 is a silly term, the reality of it is quite refreshing. Did the Web evolve? Did the number of users online reach a special threshold point? Did we as developers see the light? What is happening right now? Did you even know that something is happening?

Indeed, something is happening. You could call it an evolution for the Web, the numbers of online users is massive, we the developers are seeing the light, and suddenly... people are excited about the Internet again.

Ok - onto the questions!

How do you build an architecture of participation?

1. Easy integration - users need to be able to get started and succeed within a short time frame - the same concept is heavily applied to game development - you want the user to obtain a sense of success within a short time frame in order for the majority to continue on.

2. Provide a platform for exchange - this can be content, like music, or it can be topic driven where the context of participation is the content.

3. Provide a two way street around the focus - establish pathways through your content - make it easy to navigate, consume, process, deliver and share. Once this is in place, your two way streets can be established. Here, one may need to 'seed' the concept to get it started.

4. Feedback - it's important to have proper feedback in any complex system - be sure to work in a means to send feedback directly to users. Even better, give them an option to turn off feedback notification. Take it even further, give the user an option to be notified by email or SMS - the idea here, is to be flexible - but don't go overboard on options.

There's definately a lot more you can do and consider - the key is to enable and empower people.

Is collaborative filtering only possible on large data stores?

I think it's a correlational curve. As the volume of data increases, the opportunities in collaborative flittering will also increase. This isn't a given though. You still need to have a solid means to conduct filtering.

What is the difference between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web?

This one is a bit difficult to answer, because there's a whole camp of people who feel that "Web 2.0" is just a silly term used by people attempting to pump up a new bubble. Honestly, it is a horrible term. I think the best way to ask this question, would be to split it into two groups. The users, and the architects. Those of us who build the Web have a different take on it - we use it differently - we think about it differently. Ultimately, I think it's the user's perspective that we need to attend to. With that stated, The question now becomes... Do the users notice a difference, if so, what is it?

Is Ajax a Web 2.0 technology? Does the distinction matter?

What Ajax does, has been around for awhile. You can find some pre-Ajax examples on the Web that came out years ago. Here is a site which has a javascript gateway API from back in July 2003:

If you look at the examples - it's pulling off the same thing as Ajax. It's not as new as people think. I find all the hype quite funny actually. Ajax isn't the cure. It's a solution to a few Web UI problems - it works well in some situations - but it isn't the catalyst for Web 2.0. Although, it definitely wins the award for generating the most hype around developers. Now even clients are asking, "So, you do Ajax?" Do they know what it is... usually not... it's a buzzword to them.

Is Ajax a Web 2.0 technology? Yes - it is now. Although, I would say that XML, RSS, and Web Services are much more important - not as 'sexy' - but your Web 2.0 house can't be build on Ajax alone.

One thing to consider about Ajax, is how it creates a problem with traditional banner ad and Google Adsense systems. Will the serving of ads move to a 'push' method for sites who rely heavily on Ajax? And if so, at what rate? Here's a good blog posting on "What's Wrong With Ajax" from "A Venture Forth."

Is there a future for a web-based Office suite?

Yes. Word processing has become the worst function of the computing experience. Starting over, pulling away all the bulk and useless options is the only way to salvage such a wreck.

How long will the distinction between a search engine and a blog search engine last?

The two may need to remain separate. Or - people need to be given a way to distinguish between the two. I search in both realms - and do so with specific goals. Sure, a meta search of some type might be good, but checking multiple locations helps ensure you are getting a better sampling from the Web when you search.

Will RSS or Atom supercede XHTML as the display format of choice?

Developers will move to support development trends - and general users will adopt what is free, the easiest, or what is pushed upon them. For power users, bypassing the site and consuming the content via feeds is the way to go. Ask anyone who is hooked on feeds, they'll state that they can monitor more sites than ever before by using RSS feeds. There's no way I could start my mornings off by browsing to 50 different sites.

Let's consider the next version of Windows. What if they nail RSS feeds in such a way that general users will be comfortable with it? If enough people upgrade to the next Windows, and successfully adopt Feed use, we very well could see a massive movement towards feed technology across most organizations. Would it replace the Web Browser, no way.

Who controls content?

The gatekeepers used to control the content, but as we the people became empowered through technology, we are now taking complete control over our content. I myself was an artist back on the original There was a lot to love about the scene around the site, but the company as a gatekeeper kept letting all of us down. My solution, was to build a service for independent artists which kept the artist in control and as the focus.

Granted, I'm referring to unsigned, non-commercial content, but, we can also point to the facts that more artists are going independent these days, which means more people will control their own content as time progresses.

What’s the difference between an application, a platform, an API, and an interface?

Ok, now I feel like I'm taking a test! Let's give it a spin. An application can provide a platform for content and data delivery and/or processing. That application would most likely have an interface for users to directly interact with the platform through the application. The interface is usually graphically designed in a way to organize or process content and data . An API is a collection of doorways into the application, providing access to the platform utilizing exposed processes.

Although, you could also go with the platform as the user's platform - or you could call the Web the platform. It's a bit fractal - all self-similar.

How do you monetize…X?

These days, you need to build hype, get people talking, get people blogging, although, having capital to help push this process definitely will help.

May use the "give away the basic, and sell them the Pro version." This has been used on the Web for years, and is currently in use at People try it out, they find the value of the service to be great - then they upgrade.

What are the limits of social software?

I'm not really sure. I think the under 25 crowd will surprise us with what they'll do. Maybe the better question would be, how can non-social software benefit from becoming 'social software?" With this question, we could disect what is already out there and potentially discover new ideas.

What will Microsoft do?

Same thing they always do: spend a lot of money, have huge development teams, make products free to destroy competition, buy small companies that innovate, rip on everything that isn't MS, attempt to "Win" the Web (yeah right Ballmer). Yes, we will all keep an eye on Microsoft, but the action is everywhere these days. Let's just hope fewer companies sell themselves to MS.

Who’s Buying Who?

There will be a fair amount of consolidation over the next year. The number of startups launching new services seems like it's climbing, but I'm sure many will be rolled into one of the bigger players, like Yahoo, Google, etc.

Is Web 2.0 a marketing ploy, or something real?



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date: 10/11/2005 10:18:04 AM
name: Ianiv Schweber

I mostly agree with all you answers :)
The only answer (or question) I think is wrong is:
Will RSS or Atom supercede XHTML as the display format of choice?
RSS and Atom are document formats for describing feeds and the entries they contain. They do not specify how the content is to be displayed.
XHTML is a language that allows you to structure and format content for display in some media (screen, print, audio, etc).
So, you may use XHTML to display the content of an RSS/Atom feed. In fact, Atom text constructs can be one of plain text, html or xhtml.
RSS and Atom cannot supercede XHTML as a display format because they are not display formats.

Gideon Marken
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