Web 2.0-or-Not meter

Don Marti, of the original sucks-rules-o-meter, wrote a very interesting blog entry entitled On Web 2.0, application uses you! He’s riffing on the idea that Web 2.0 is about what I’ve called architectures of participation, systems whose value is built “from many small information contributions that users don’t mind making. Every user whitewashes a little bit of the fence.”

In the course of the posting, he makes a couple of very interesting points. One was a simple heuristic for whether or not something is Web 2.0-ish or not, and that is whether the API is truly open, or requires some kind of partner signup process. He says:

You could probably do a pretty reliable Web-2.0-or-not-o-meter based on dates in the RSS feed for API announcements vs. dates in press releases matching /partner/i.

Here’s the full context:


So far this Web 2.0 stuff sounds like it’s all about web sites. How can companies that aren’t basically web sites or mail-order catalogs be Web 2.0? Some already are. Remixed FedEx lately? Download their sample code and try their API.

Hold on a second—you don’t have to be a FedEx “partner” to do that? No, and that’s the first concrete difference between Web 2.0 and non-Web-2.0 companies. From a pre-2.0 point of view, the partner program is what enables companies to interact with you. Start thinking 2.0, though, and the partner program looks more and more like pointless bureaucracy that keeps non-”partner” companies out. Just as you want Googlebot to crawl your product pages, (and some of you will go flame Matt Cutts if it doesn’t) you want any company whose stuff can plug into yours to try your API.

You could probably do a pretty reliable Web-2.0-or-not-o-meter based on dates in the RSS feed for API announcements vs. dates in press releases matching /partner/i.

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  • http://dotfuturemanifesto.blogspot.com/ Phill

    Your idea of Web ’2.0′ sounds remarkably similar to the ideas that were circulating at the first web conference in 1994. The real paradim shift here is not in the technology, its abandoning the false perspective that the development of Web technology is fast.

    It will be another two or three decades at the least before Web 1.0 will be close to complete.

  • http://tim.oreilly.com Tim O'Reilly

    Phil – you’ve hit it exactly right. Web 2.0 is actually the fulfillment of the vision of Web 1.0, returning to the roots of the web as an edge-driven, bottom-up phenomenon, after the detour that we could call web 1.5 when everyone tried to remake the web as a broadcast media market, driven by traditional advertising models. It was the development by Overture of targeted search advertising and its popularization by Google that gave a business model to decentralization. And Napster, which showed that content distribution didn’t have to be from the center.

  • http://technoracle.blogspot.com/ Duane Nickull

    Hmmm… The pragmantic me thinks you cannot have a meter without a metric. Seriously – if the web 2.0 had something more tangible to mediate by (such as a reference model, reference architecture for a “Web 2.0 compliant site” etc.) it would have much more credibility. Without that, it is largely a marketing term with little technical substance. Don’t get me wrong – the concepts are all cool and I am also excited about what the future may bring, I just hate to see the same mistake made by W2P0 and with SOA, WS et al. Until OASIS took it seriously and at least made an abstract reference model, everyone thought SOA was something slightly different. W3C tried the swame thing for WS by attempting the Reference web services architecture. Sure the high level has agreement, but once you really start measuring web 2.0, without some form of central metric, it could turn into a fud-fest.

    Does anyone have any designs on a web 2.0 reference model and/or reference architectures for servers and pssoibly a book of patterns? Possibly a collection of abstract patterns that can be used for interactions? I am more than willing to work on this is others would be serious.

    Sincerely,

    D Nickull