A lot has been written about Web 2.0 in recent months but it is still a fuzzy concept in many ways. Tim O’Reilly, who was associated with the coining of the term, has published a substantial statement – What Is Web 2.0. He begins with some comments about the origin of the term:
The bursting of the dot-com bubble in the fall of 2001 marked a turning point for the web. Many people concluded that the web was overhyped, when in fact bubbles and consequent shakeouts appear to be a common feature of all technological revolutions. Shakeouts typically mark the point at which an ascendant technology is ready to take its place at center stage. The pretenders are given the bum’s rush, the real success stories show their strength, and there begins to be an understanding of what separates one from the other.
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, noted that far from having ‘crashed’, the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What’s more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as ‘Web 2.0’ might make sense? We agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born.
The rest of the piece discusses 7 key principles underlying Web 2.0 developments:
- The Web As Platform – including the Web 2.0 Meme Map that has popped up all over the web
- Harnessing Collective Intelligence
- Data is the Next Intel Inside
- End of the Software Release Cycle
- Lightweight Programming Models
- Software Above the Level of a Single Device
- Rich User Experiences
It’s long but well worth reading for anybody wanting to get a sense of what Web 2.0 is about – beyond the flush of funky web applications.