Adnan Ali

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Adnan Ali is a Search Optimization, Search Marketing and Social Media Strategy professional from Lahore, Pakistan. 

Friday, April 06, 2007

What is: Web 2.0 ?

“Web 2.0” is often heard around the office especially from those of us who are involved with developing web based applications, yours truly included. You find it on the internet as millions of sites reference this term every day. There is a huge hype in the market and you may have or may in the future, be questioned about it in a job interview.

So what is web 2.0? Has there been an upgrade in the internet infrastructure and we have missed the global memo? Or do we need to install some patch to get the great perceived benefits of a newer and better web? Turns out it’s some of that, and a lot more about how we use the web. Its about how we have learned about user experience in the first era of the internet, and thus have started looking at it as a platform to publish integrated and useful applications for every day and business use.

Fundamental Change

Ask some one about web 2.0 and you will hear terms like Ajax, RSS/Atom, wiki, open source, tag clouds and web logs. But most of these technologies have been around in some form and format for a long time. What is the basic fundamental change which motivated Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, to coin the term in 2004. According to wikipedia, “Web 2.0 is a term applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.” This is the crux of the matter. We can already see Google doing this with its free email, calendar, spreadsheet, and document applications.


There is a debate on what characteristics provide a definite proof of a web 2.0 application. Some believe having a ‘r’ at the end of your domain name qualifies their sites i.e. flickr. Flickr is a great example of web 2.0 application but not for that one reason. Some characteristics are:

  • Network as platform – No need to install on desktop. Access from any where at any time.
  • Content by users – Users become the owners of data and sometimes entire sites are driven by user content. They also exercise control over their content.
  • Community – Huge emphasis on participation of users. They build content and share it with a community of their choice.
  • Social Networking – When people come across others in a community, it induces the social aspects of their lives. Personal networking has grown exponentially ever since.


  • Ajax based rich internet application – Ajax allows a more desktop like performance by allowing the application to retrieve and display content without reloading the entire web page.
  • CSS – Separation of design from content and dynamic behavior.
  • Valid XHTML
  • RSS/Atom – Feeds allowing users to pull information from the website without ever visiting the site itself
  • Mashups – A lot of current sites gather data from other sites and provide them in a meaningful manner.

It is an exciting time to be building user experiences. We have the opportunity to combine our creativity and problem solving abilities and further the cause of web based computer platform.

Do not agree with my opinion? Let me know. Please leave a comment and I will reply right back.


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen many Indian web2.0 sites but here are a few best of best...

adnan ali said...

Thanks for the comments my anonymous friend. I wouldnt say that any thing is Indian or American these days since there is a global community on most of the sites. This actually is the purpose of this transition and the global world is becoming smaller and smaller.

Also, there are many other traits of common web 2.0 sites. For eg. most prefer to have beta releases, and promote them freviously. Also most happen to use colors with a certain range of hue. Most sites use large graphics, and larger than previously used font-sizes, alongwith regular textual content, in order to substantiate their message.

Adeel said...

Web 2.0 is really a term used to point out a major shift in the way end users are utilizing internet in their daily lives. We have gone from being "passive" users of web based applications to being able to "actively" participate on the internet by posting and managing our own content. Due to this revolution in the information industry, TIME magazine chose all of us as the "PERSON OF THE YEAR".

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