Monday, September 19

The evolving state of the Web

A new utilization of the World Wide Web is coming into play, and it's embodied in the following two articles:

It's a Whole New Web, from BusinessWeek, describes it in fairly plain English
What is Web 2.0?, from the Web 2.0 Explorer blog on ZDNet, is a bit more "techie"

Basically, the Web as it's currently understood is the part of the Internet that you get to through a browser like Firefox, Safari, or (God forbid) Internet Explorer. It's comprised of the sites that are transmitted via the HyperText Transfer Protocol and therefore are prepended with "http://" (or "https://" for the secure, encrypted version). In its original incarnation, the World Wide Web was comprised entirely of pages that were largely unchangeable, and most sites still conform to this static ideal.

However, in recent months and years, the Web has become an interactive experience. Blogs, wikis, RSS, and webmail have all begun to adopt this new format, and mew Web services are popping up almost daily to exploit the powers of Web 2.0.

At its core, Web 2.0 represents a whole development platform that can be used to provide interactive services to end-users. This means that Web 2.0 users are no longer bound by the Mac/Windows/Linux debate, because entire applications exist in the ether of the Internet. Wikipedia, one of the most well-known and oldest applictions of this new paradigm of Internet usage, allows users themselves to create and edit entries in a collaborative knowledge-base. Other Web 2.0 apps are more personal, such as gmail, which is an entire email interface programmed as a Web site.

There are countless other applications of the Web 2.0 paradigm, from Bloglines (an online customizable information gatherer) to (which saves bookmarks and cross-references the selections of all its users). My favorite part of Web 2.0, though, is the fact that all of these things exist on the Internet instead of on a particular computer's hard drive. I use up to 4 computers on any given day since I have both Windows and Mac platforms both at home and at work, so it's awesome that all of my most-used info is available to me no matter which machine I'm using. My email is in gmail, my bookmarks are in, my RSS feeds (which include news, comics, and blogs) are in Bloglines, my podcasts are in Odeo... basically, I can view all of this information from any computer I happen to be using. The library, the office, even a friends' house can easily become my portal to my own Internet services.

I really like the direction the World Wide Web is headed, and I'm excited to see where it goes next. (I haven't checked it out yet, but there's now even a Web-based word processor!)

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.