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What Is Web 2.0

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Web 2.0 is a term we have all heard, and probably used, but what exactly is Web 2.0 and how does it differ from Web 1.0? Another important question would be when should it be used, or is it even necessary?

First, a simple explanation of what Web 2.0 is (or is supposed to be). Web 2.0 is not a set of standards for web programming such as W3C establishes for HTML and CSS, rather it is a general description of certain types of web services pertaining to users being able to interact or collaborate with the site or with other users. Examples might be a blogging site or a site where users post reviews or comments. Social network sites typically fall under the Web 2.0 umbrella.

Many people often mistakenly think that Web 2.0 is a style or the way a web site looks. While this may be true to some extent, using the currently popular round corners and flat buttons found on many Web 2.0 sites does not in itself make a web site fit the actual definition.

The term Web 2.0 first hit the scene in 2004 when O'Reilly and MediaLive International held a conference to discuss new web technology and web based application programming. They coined the name Web 2.0 to establish a new way of looking at the web. They envisioned the web being a means to provide services and interaction, rather than a mechanism to simply serve up information.

Is the interactivity provided by Web 2.0 necessary? If there is a need for interactivity, then the answer is yes, but for a static, informational site, the answer may be no. This is something that should be decided during the conceptual design phase of building a web site. Often, too many bells and whistles actually detract from a user being able to find the actual content.

An example of unnecessary Web 2.0 technology would be including a RSS feed for a web site that is rarely updated. Don't fall into the trap of allowing a web designer to load up your site with gizmos and gadgets just because they can.

Web 2.0 is also associated with many of the new forms of advertising showing up on the web today. This includes pages that go dark and require that you click some type of advertisement to continue to the site as well as the double underlined hyper links that only require a mouse over to open a popup.

Don't be drawn in by the hype. Web 2.0 is not necessarily better than Web 1.0, nor is it inferior to the upcoming Web 3.0. In actuality, it is little more than jargon or a buzzword. Until a governing board is created and actual standards are established, Web 2.0 will always remain a cloudy and esoteric description of a collection of web functions, server and client side applications and even the style and appearance of many web sites.


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