Wednesday, October 19, 2005

AJAX and Web 2.0 - My Two Cents

Everyone and their dog seems to have an opinion, position or comments to make about AJAX, Web 2.0 and their related tag lines and acronyms, so why should I stay silent? I'd like to think that I have a rational, common sense outlook on the world, and I am having trouble with the whole "Web 1.0 sucks, Web 2.0 rocks!" message that is currently percolating and the hype surrounding it. The development team I work with was developing prototype web-apps that leveraged web services and could verify data or populate form fields and datagrids without a page refresh two years ago! I guess my point is that none of this stuff is really new from a technology perspective, and barely evolutionary at best.

For me, the big change is in who is involved in developing these cool new applications and why are they being built - Flickr, Basecamp and JotSpot are the products of relatively small teams driven by creativity, design and useability and offered up to anyone who cares to sign up. The focus is more on the experience of the user than the "coolness" or features of the application. Collaboration, either anonymous or by specific groups, is also a key aspect of this new breed of application and they have spawned new types of social interaction in the process.

If there is a need to define a breakpoint or dividing line between the old and the new, I'd suggest that it's more about empowering creativity, people and community than what sucks and what's cool.

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