Some smartasses in search of investors have invented a new term: Web 2.0.
The nasty chaps over at The Register in the UK have had enough of pompous manifestos and declarations about Web 2.0 and decided to run a contest for definitions of Web 2.0 among their readership.
Here is one of the more amusing definitions.
Web 2.0 is … an ethernet platform for remote computing whereby the software application paradigm is changed; from being screwed over by Microsoft for boxes of buggy operating systems, extortionately priced business applications, communications software that allows the world and their dog to play with your computer, proprietary lock-ins by changing an open programming language into a dot-netted version (XML-our-way, C-but-not-as-you-know-it, Java-remember-Krakatoa-hee-hee! etc.) all presented on a CD or DVD (now DRM’d) to a completely different collection, or not, of softwares that are offered on an ad hoc, per-user, basis on the WWW.
This will allow everyone and their dog (again) to offer similar, but certainly non compatible, software platforms and business applications on the web at which point we can all be screwed by our ISP’s as well as Microsoft, the AV vendors, data warehousing and dedicated hosting companies for the pleasure of being able to work remotely with a thin client and not have cupboards full of DC’s/DVD’s and licenses.
At at least if you suffer a BSoD you won’t be alone, everyone in your time zone using the system will be screaming at whoever is mad enough to offer a tech’ services department.
This definition of Web 2.0 has the merit of not only its intrinsic amusement value but that it pretty much offers the truth. Adding a reliable highspeed internet connection to the software equation does not improve the equation. It is even harder to back up your data which is online somewhere than what you have locally. You are very dependent on your service provider.
There is no bailing out and staying with Word 5.1 (the best version of Microsoft Word ever released for the Apple platform) or Windows 2000.
An internet based application will never manipulate or offer you your data as quickly as a well-designed local application.
Web 2.0 applications work well where there is a need for
- remote collaboration (white boards, project management)
- querying search engines
In my experience, most people still prefer email for basic project management. A standard interface across all projects and all parts of their lives.
Search engine querying applications are wonderful when they are hosted as they don’t bog down your own computer or internet connection for two hours while they are working. They do their work on their T3 and optical connections and simply send you the results back later. Same deal with online webstats. Trying to download webstats and process them locally is a logistics nightmare better avoided.
Web 2.0 is simply marketing speak to play on that eternal fascination with new technology – radio, television, hifi, cellphones. I have not owned a television for years (I do have a broadcast monitor for video editing but it isn’t even hooked up right now to a television line).
Monthly bills on a standard web suite for a single individual could run over a hundred dollars if not managed carefully. At a hundred dollars/year, you are talking about $1200. Enough for a very good new computer and a hard drive full of shareware.
Disclaimer: This weblog is hosted on Typepad but is written in ecto. I don’t like Typepad all that much (the galleries are terrible, the servers are often slow, tech support is frequently obtuse) but ecto works really, really well with Typepad.
Typepad is also at the forefront of user experience, so it plays a certain educational role – documentation, business practices – for my own understanding of the state of the art developing my client’s online applications.