April 18th, 2007

jeanie

There is no such thing as Web 2.0.

This tendency for the world to pickup on these silly marketing schemes and "fad" ways of talking about things really drives me wild.

The "web", is not definable by anything more than a collection of content served via servers in a roughly, but not strictly, standardized format consumable by a variety of tools called browsers.

There are some standards which are generally accepted, but the fact is if someone releases a little widget that makes your web browser work like a terminal session to a mainframe, well, that's now a part of the web.  The point of contention here is that Web 2.0 implies some kind of "new release" of the web... an addition of X major components (usually Wikis, "Blogs" (shudder), video, etc.) that somehow make the web a whole new and different thing.

While no one will argue that these particular items appear to be "coming of age" and have all but permeated the "web" at this time, they, like everything on the web, have been a slow and gradual adoption of a technology that has been around for quite a while.

For example, Wikis.  Ironically, I'll link to an article on Wikipedia for some source here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki

This shows Wikis coming into existance sometime in the mid-90s.  Not the mid 2000s as would be suggested by "Web 2.0".

"Blogs" are a whole seperate topic that drives me mad.  Again, from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

Not only did "blogs" suddenly burst onto the scene as some sort of "Web 2.0" product release, but they've effectively been around as long as cavemen wrote about their exploits on their local cave wall.  I could be a little less pedantic, and at least accept that "blogs" are a form of electronic diary or journal readable by a defined or undefined external audience, but even there... "Blogs" are nothing more than a hokey term for a place to write stuff about what you think online so that others can read it.  BBS forums, newsgroups and even a static HTML page that I update by putting a date at the top of every new entry and just add some more content can all be considered "blogs".  This all became cutesy and fun and got its name when tools such as LiveJournal came on the scene to make it easier to do this, thus affording the opportunity to mouth off to anyone who could connect to AOL.  (yes, myself included, but I daresay I'm a bit more clueful than that.)

Finally, video.

Yes, I'm sure there are other things in "WEB 2.0!! NOW WITH XK-9 ADDED!!!" that I'm missing, but the recent spike available bandwidth, maturization of some entry-level video editing technologies, and the coming of age of sites such as YouTube and MySpace have caused the internet to burst to overflowing with video of just about everything you could imagine.  Well, ok... sure, but I don't think I need to go look up this history of video or the internet to tell you that video has been on computers as long as there have been computers.  This is merely a increase in quality over time... a gradual increase.  I once had a video that was entirely made of ASCII characters that ran on an Apple II.  So now I can watch the game on NESN.  Is it cool?  Sure.  Will it get better?  Yup.  This isn't exciting, people, it's a predictable and steady change over time.  Is it Web 2.0?  I dunno, was it web 2.0 when it was on my Apple II in like 1982?  Get over it.

So, I guess in synopsis to you people who are all giddy over Web 2.0, I'd ask you a few things.

1. What was Web 1.0?  Please define it.
2. Have there been any interim releases of the Web?   Please list them.
3. Who decides what is Web x.xx?
4. Please detail for me what version of the web included Flash?  Dynamic HTML?  ASP?  .NET?  CGI?  XML?

Think about it.

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