Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Forgive me my Web. 2.0 trespasses

I can't help myself but I stumbled upon this great article on Web 2.0 by Jared M. Spool called "Web 2.0: The Power Behind the Hype".

He describes the excitement Web 2.0 engenders:
The speed and ease at which these new applications were built is what is getting us very excited about the potential of the Web 2.0 world. Evocative of Dr. Frankenstein building a monster in his attic laboratory using body pieces he found lying around his neighborhood, people with a little skill can create new applications using common elements found lying around the Web in almost no time at all. As the skill requirements for building these applications are decreasing, we think this opens a whole new world of possibilities.

The article lays out the foundation technologies and principles of Web 2.0, such as:
  • open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)
  • RSS (site syndication)
  • folksonomies (individuals classification of information based on their own words and tagging)
  • social networking
Developers not confined by having to recreate the wheel, can focus on building cool new applications. Then a community of users can help build, develop and grow these applications faster than any one programmer could even dream of.

The article closes with a caution with a reference appealing to Webslinger:

As Spiderman's Uncle Ben pointed out, "With great power comes great responsibility." Just because we can do all these things doesn't mean we should do them. In the early 1980's, the cheap availability of laser printers and digital fonts produced a plethora of documents that more resembled ransom notes than professional publications. We could easily imagine designers going wild with the capabilities of this new technology and not using the restraint necessary to ensure they produce an optimal experience.

I remember those print-outs and combined with clip art, it was a scary time indeed. Hope it doesn't ever get that bad.

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