Web 2.0 - the New Buzzword

By: Lakshmi Jena

Web 2.0 is the latest buzz word.The next generation of the web,Web 2.0 is a collection of services that allow, among many things, greater community participation, content syndication, advancements in Web-based user interfaces, and a new breed of Web services that create an entirely new application platform.

The concept of "Web 2.0" began with a conference brainstorming session between O'Reilly and MediaLive International. Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to Web technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the web as a platform. According to Tim O'Reilly, "Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.

Innovations associated with "Web 2.0":

Rich Internet applications

Recently, rich-Internet application techniques such as Ajax, Adobe Flash, Flex, Nexaweb, OpenLaszlo and Silverlight have evolved that can improve the user-experience in browser-based applications. These technologies allow a web-page to request an update for some part of its content, and to alter that part in the browser, without needing to refresh the whole page at the same time.

Server-side software

Functionally, Web 2.0 applications build on the existing Web server architecture, but rely much more heavily on back-end software. Syndication differs only nominally from the methods of publishing using dynamic content management, but web services typically require much more robust database and workflow support, and become very similar to the traditional intranet functionality of an application server. Vendor approaches to date fall either under a universal server approach (which bundles most of the necessary functionality in a single server platform) or under a web-server plugin approach (which uses standard publishing tools enhanced with API interfaces and other tools).

Client-side software
The extra functionality provided by Web 2.0 depends on the ability of users to work with the data stored on servers. This can come about through forms in an HTML page, through a scripting language such as Javascript, or through Flash, Silverlight or Java. These methods all make use of the client computer to reduce server workloads and to increase the responsiveness of the application.

XML and RSS

Advocates of Web 2.0 may regard syndication of site content as a Web 2.0 feature, involving as it does standardized protocols, which permit end-users to make use of a site's data in another context (such as another website, a browser plugin, or a separate desktop application). Protocols which permit syndication include RSS (Really Simple Syndication - also known as "web syndication"), RDF (as in RSS 1.1), and Atom, all of them XML-based formats. Observers have started to refer to these technologies as "Web feed" as the usability of Web 2.0 evolves and the more user-friendly Feeds icon supplants the RSS icon.

Specialized protocols

Specialized protocols such as FOAF and XFN (both for social networking) extend the functionality of sites or permit end-users to interact without centralized websites.

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