What is Web 2.0 ?

Web 2.0 is a blend of new technologies that provide a much more rich and robust user experience. There are 3 main Components to Web 2.0 as described by Andy Gutmans, Co-Founder of ZEND.

RIA (Rich Internet Application) Andy Gutmans says RIA is “…how we bring the experience from the desktop into the browser.” What this means is this. You may have noticed that programs that run on your Mac or PC run faster and smoother, providing what is often called a better “user experience”. It used to be that anything on the Internet was generally accepted to be slower and “choppier”. That is because not only did data need to be transmitted at much slower rates, but also entire pages needed to be re-loaded for each and every change that would occur. So RIA, or “Rich Internet Application” refers to improving the experience in your Internet browser to be smoother and faster like your current desktop application.

SOA (Service Oriented Applications)
What SOA is all about is how the WEB 2.0 applications expose their functionality so that other applications can leverage and integrate the functionality providing a much richer set of applications?” –Andy Guttman

As companies develop new and cool things on the web, they provide a way for other programmers and web developers to use them and make these part of some new design that otherwise would not exist. An example of this would be Google Maps. Google has what is called an API (Application Program Interface) for Google Maps. The API is kind of like a window that lets a web developer use the Google Map technology in their own inventive ways. There are examples of web sites that have tapped into the national database of sex offenders for a given area and create a map displaying their locations. This was made possible because of Google’s API for Google Maps. We can definitely refer to this as an SOA or Service Oriented Application.

The Social Web
Web 2.0 Applications tend to interact much more with the end user. Weather it is by tagging content or subscribing to an RSS feed, doing or watching a Podcast, contributing to a Wiki, and of couse Blogging.

“As part of the social nature of these applications the end user is an integral part of the data is therefore much more a contributor to the content of the application by providing feed back, allowing that application to leverage the users that are using it.”- Andy Gutmans

Understanding Web 2.0 will help you create a web site that offers the kind of experience that people will come back to repeatedly, bragging to thier friends and family about the web site they found.

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