Web 2.0

What is it About?

Even though today many designers and developers are creating Web 2.0 apps but they don’t know what’s Web 2.0? So I decided to write an article explaining what it’s, which web app comes under Web 2.0, and what technologies are used for developing Web 2.0 apps.

What’s Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is all about user. Any web app whose content is added and shared by users comes under the category of Web 2.0. In short we can say Web 2.0 is User Centric. For example YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Wikipedia are all Web 2.0 apps because they all are user centric. Users add and share content in these applications.

While Web 1.0 is content focused. There’s only one way communication. The web owner adds content and cannot be modified by its users. For example www.microsoft.com is not Web 2.0 app because it’s content centric and there’s only one way communication going on.

Let’s see what others are saying about Web 2.0

“The term “Web 2.0″ is commonly associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web.” – Wikipedia

“Web 2.0 involves the user — not only is the content often created by users, but users help organize it, share it, remix it, critique it, update it, etc. One way to look at Web 1.0 is as a lecture, a small number of professors informing a large audience of students. In comparison, Web 2.0 is a conversation, with everyone having the opportunity to speak and share views” – Deitel

Types of Applications

1) Blogs

Blogs are web apps in which blog owner can add posts which its readers can read and add comments to it. Most famous blog apps are wordpress, and blogger.

2) Social Bookmarking

These websites allow users to save, share, and search bookmarks. The most famous social bookmarking website is delicious.

3) Social Media

In Social Media sites users can view, upload, and share, media files (audio/video). YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, Screenr are few examples of Social Media websites.

4) Social Networking

Social Networking websites are used for by users for creating/maintaining relations. Examples of Social Networking websites are Facebook, Friendster, MySpace, Orkut

Rich Internet Applications

Any web application can be called RIA which behave like desktop applications. Majority of Web 2.0 applications are RIA. RIA can be built using technologies like Ajax, Flex, Silverlight, or JavaFX.

Technologies Used in Web 2.0

1) Ajax

Ajax is extensively used in Web 2.0 apps. Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. In Ajax Javascript is used on client side which make request to fetch or send data on the server with any postback or page refresh. The data which is fetched/sent is formatted in XML or JSON. Ajax makes the web apps look similar to desktop apps. Today majority of web developers use Javascript framework to easily and rapidly develop Ajax applications. Some of Javascript frameworks are Dojo, Mootools, jQuery, and YUI

2) XML

Extensible Markup Language is used to format data in a standard way which is understood by both client and server languages. In XML you can wrap data around custom tags. For example:

    <name>ABC</name>
    <email>abc@xyz.com</email>

3) JSON

Javascript Object Notion is another format used for communication between Javascript and server side language (PHP, ASP.NET, JSP, Ruby). These days JSON is more widely used as compared to XML because of its smaller size and Javascript can easily parse it and convert the JSON into Objects and Arrays. Here’s an example of JSON:

{
    "name" : "ABC"
    "email" : "abc@xyz.com"
}

4) RSS and Atom

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS and Atom are XML based feed formats which are used to deliever web content to user’s feedreader application. User don’t need to visit the website to check the availability of new content. User only need to subscribe at website feed.

5) Web Services

Web Service allow developers to expose functionality via API of their application to other developers. This allow others to use functionality of application by consuming web services no matter what platform or technology others are using. Web services allow cross platform communication between applications. For example Twitter is buit using Ruby. Twitter exposes API for other developers so that they can fetch content from Twitter no matter you are using PHP, ASP.NET or any other technology.

Want to Know More?

  1. How Web 2.0 Works?
  2. Dive Into Web 2.0 by Deitel
  3. Web 2.0 on Wikipedia

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