The Web2.0: is it hype?

Posted by Andy Gavin on Mon, 2006-05-01 19:07

For me what is happening with JavaScript and XML is very interesting. The metaphor of the browser back-button is breaking. The central pane of the browser is becoming more versatile.

To some AJAX might be all hype. I have to say that as a language JavaScript isn't much to write home about, and as a platform the web varies from browser to browser. But having been watching web technology now for a good ten years, it really seems like there is a shift going on now. Not everyone agrees I had the opportunity to chat to some that were developing some of this technology the other day, and it surprised me that they disliked the idea of Web2.0, or Web2--- they couldn't put their finger on what amounted to: to them it was hype. They'd always done it. That perhaps is the point, they grew up with it, are part of it and are making Web2.0 a reality.

Traditional applications like portals are being updated and renewed to react better with the user. This may give rise to new ways of exploring content. What made me think of this just now? I’ve just recieved a message from Malcom Sparks. He found a new take on the wiki: Tiddly Wiki.

Navigating through this wiki has changed. It feels like an experiment in presentation, as it breaks traditional conventions like the back button and bookmark. To use it effectively you need to know the new language of Web2.0: permlinks, tags and rss.

First time I heard Web2.0 I thought was was that. Culturally though it may be significant. What first persuaded me of this was the Flock browser. The growth of the Web is leading to interesting browser innovations, updating the browser to reflect the ways it is now used. It makes me think how the controls are changing as time goes on. The back button is loosing some of its meaning: with richer content on page, it is increasingly used as a kind of undo button. Is the trend to change the content within the page a fad?

Another area is bookmarks, one of Flock's features is that it's more community orientated. Firefox too is looking to improve bookmarking. Bookmarks, as they stand don't work too well. Firefox are working on replacing them Places.

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