Web 3.0: When Web Sites Become Web Services

Today’s Web has terabytes of information available to humans, but hidden from computers. It is a paradox that information is stuck inside HTML pages, formatted in esoteric ways that are difficult for machines to process. The so called Web 3.0, which is likely to be a pre-cursor of the real semantic web, is going to change this. What we mean by ‘Web 3.0’ is that major web sites are going to be transformed into web services – and will effectively expose their information to the world.

The transformation will happen in one of two ways. Some web sites will follow the example of Amazon, del.icio.us and Flickr and will offer their information via a REST API. Others will try to keep their information proprietary, but it will be opened via mashups created using services like Dapper,Teqlo and Yahoo! Pipes. The net effect will be that unstructured information will give way to structured information – paving the road to more intelligent computing. In this post we will look at how this important transformation is taking place already and how it is likely to evolve.

The Amazon E-Commerce API – open access to Amazon’s catalog

We have written here before about Amazon’s visionary WebOS strategy. The Seattle web giant is reinventing itself by exposing its own infrastructure via a set of elegant APIs. One of the first web services opened up by Amazon was the E-Commerce service. This service opens access to the majority of items in Amazon’s product catalog. The API is quite rich, allowing manipulation of users, wish lists and shopping carts. However its essence is the ability to lookup Amazon’s products.

Web 3.0 Concepts

This slide neatly sums up the main differences between Web 1.0, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0.


Web 1.0 – That Geocities & Hotmail era was all about read-only content and static HTML websites. People preferred navigating the web through link directories of Yahoo! and dmoz.

Web 2.0 – This is about user-generated content and the read-write web. People are consuming as well as contributing information through blogs or sites like Flickr, YouTube, Digg, etc. The line dividing a consumer and content publisher is increasingly getting blurred in the Web 2.0 era.

Web 3.0 – This will be about semantic web (or the meaning of data), personalization (e.g. iGoogle), intelligent search and behavioral advertising among other things.

If that sounds confusing, check out some of these excellent presentations that help you understand Web 3.0 in simple English. Each takes a different approach to explain Web 3.0 and the last presentation uses an example of a “postage stamp” to explain the “semantic web”.

Web 3.0

CNN Money’s Jessi Hempel expects Web 3.0 to emerge from new and innovative Web 2.0 services with a profitable business model.
Futurist John Smart, lead author of the Metaverse Roadmap[64] echoes Sharma’s perspective, defining Web 3.0 as the first-generation Metaverse (convergence of the virtual and physical world), a web development layer that includes TV-quality open video, 3D simulations, augmented reality, human-constructed semantic standards, and pervasive broadband, wireless, and sensors. Web 3.0’s early geosocial (Foursquare, etc.) and augmented reality (Layar, etc.) webs are an extension of Web 2.0’s participatory technologies and social networks (Facebook, etc.) into 3D space. Of all its metaverse-like developments, Smart suggests Web 3.0’s most defining characteristic will be the mass diffusion of NTSC-or-better quality open video to TVs, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, a time when “the internet swallows the television.” Smart considers Web 4.0 to be the Semantic Web and in particular, the rise of statistical, machine-constructed semantic tags and algorithms, driven by broad collective use of conversational interfaces, perhaps circa 2020. David Siegel’s perspective in Pull: The Power of the Semantic Web, 2009, is consonant with this, proposing that the growth of human-constructed semantic standards and data will be a slow, industry-specific incremental process for years to come, perhaps unlikely to tip into broad social utility until after 2020.
According to some Internet experts Web 3.0 will allow the user to sit back and let the Internet do all of the work for them. Rather than having search engines gear towards your keywords, the search engines will gear towards the user. Keywords will be searched based on your culture, region, and jargon. For example, when going on a vacation you have to do separate searches for your airline ticket, your hotel reservations, and your car rental. With Web 3.0 you will be able to do all of this in one simple search. The search engine will present the results in a comparative and easily navigated way to the user.

Web 2.0 Technologies

Web 2.0 Technologies

Web 2.0 has a complex and growing technology that includes server-software, content-syndication, messaging- protocols, standards-based browsers with plugins and extensions, and various client-applications. All these differ in functions and approaches but provide all the requirements beyond the expectation such as information- storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities.

The client-side/web browser technologies used in Web 2.0 development are Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), Adobe Flash and the Adobe Flex framework, and JavaScript/Ajax frameworks such as Yahoo! UI Library, Dojo Toolkit, MooTools, and jQuery. Ajax programming uses JavaScript to upload and download new data from the web server without undergoing a full page reload.
To allow users to continue to interact with the page, communications such as data requests going to the server are separated from data coming back to the page (asynchronously). Otherwise, the user would have to routinely wait for the data to come back before they can do anything else on that page, just as a user has to wait for a page to complete the reload. This also increases overall performance of the site, as the sending of requests can complete quicker independent of blocking and queueing required to send data back to the client.

AJAX

  • Stands for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML
  • —Ajax is not a technology but a combination of:
    • —Standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS
    • —Dynamic update and display content using DOM (Document Object Model)
    • —Data communication using JavaScript’s XMLHttpRequest
    • —Event-driven without direct action required by user
    • —Use other XHTML/Dynamic HTML features
  • —Asynchronous calls
    • —Make requests to the server without a page refresh.
    • —Parse and work with XML documents
  • —Extensively used by Google
    • —E.g. Google Suggest
  • —Web page can communicate with web server online as user enters data into an HTML form.

JSON: JavaScript Object Notation

  • Called as a “fat-free-alternative” to XML and a serialized JavaScript Object.
  • —It is an ultra-simple lightweight data interchange format
  • —Based on subset of JavaScript syntax, array and object literals
  • —Supported as an alternative output format by many Web 2.0 Services —Yahoo APIs, Google Maps, Del.icio.us, etc.
  • —Built-in support in Browsers.

GWT (Google Web Toolkit)

  • Open source Java software development framework
    • Develop Web applications as if they were Swing-like GUIs
  • Easier AJAX application development
    • You write your front end in Java using any Java IDE available (e.g. Eclipse, JProfiler, JUnit, IntelliJ…)
    • GWT complier will automatically convert it into browser-complaint JavaScript and HTML.
    • Confirm that the Web App. Runs successfully in each browser
  • GWT Architecture
    • GWT Java-to-JavaScript Compiler: Java-to-JavaScript compiler
    • GWT Hosted Web Browser: run and execute your GWT applications
    • JRE emulation library: contains JavaScript implementations of the most widely used classes in the Java standard class library.
    • GWT Web UI class library: set of custom interfaces and classes that let your create web browser “widgets” with use of CSS.

YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library)

  • Collection of JavaScript and CSS resources
  • Makes RIA (Rich Internet Applications) easier to build
  • Open source
  • Yahoo! User Interface Library components fall into three groups: Utilities UI Controls, and CSS resources
  • “Better documented than GWT” (Sidd’s personal opinion)
  • Can be used with Yahoo! Design Patterns Library to easily implement design patterns.

Simple website Design with web 2.0

As the Internet world is changing very swiftly, now the users look for more than a web site instead of simple text and picture based website. They want to be more interactive to the world by sharing their views; they want to show their talents in terms of their new creation to the global world. For fulfilling these necessities, a new concept was born that have all-in-one technology in itself and it is called Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 was coined by Tim O’Reilly in O’ Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. This concept was evolved and developed from the need of web based communities and hosted service. Web 2.0 is now-a-days is the most common keyword on the internet. It has the characteristics of social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies etc.

Definition and Uses

Tim O’Reilly, the father of Web 2.0 has defined, ?Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform.

In short we can say that Web 2.0 is the improved form of the World Wide Web that contains the technologies like weblogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, social software, web application programming interfaces (APIs), and online web services. It allows users not only to manipulate data, but also to retrieve. It provides a wide range of software and services, which attracts the web users. Most of the times, it does not disappoint the user, that’s why this technology is being so popular.

Effective Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has given the new definition to the web in which human and machine both participate for successfully operation of the web. It can be differentiate by the following themes:

Read/Write Web: Read/Write web is the two-way medium where the people are readers and the writers and share their views to one another like social software.

Web as Platform: This is the different type of theme for web 2.0 in which software programmes communicate one another using Application Programming Interface. The developer develops the software that runs on this platform.

The characteristics of Web 2.0 have forced the software giant firms to use these technologies in their services. e.g. Google offers the Blogger, Adsense, Search, Base, GTalk, Reader, and Statistics that provide the users flavour of both themes, while Yahoo’s most of the services like Email, Maps, Shopping, Music Downloads, Yahoo local, Flickr and Del.icio.us are based on Web 2.0 technique.

Another very popular web giant Amazon, which is famous for its affiliates program has also been used Web 2.0 technologies. Latest Mechanical Turk service is the latest example of this. World’s top auction site ebay, also use this technique, which has provide it the strength to widen the greater participation services.

Here, we discuss the fundamental phases of Web 2.0 and its technologies.

Web 2.0 Logo

Any branded website needs a unique logo (the pictorial or graphical icon that reflects the brand and Characteristics of the company), so that net surfers can identify the exact company from its pictorial representation. The importance of logo is extremely high in the marketing as only for representing specific and unique logo, many companies spends million of million dollar on it.

The Web 2.0 technology is also not the exception of it. Every branded company illustrates a unique logo for easy recognition. But, there are few similarities in illustrating the logos of the Web 2.0 based website. Here are the basic characteristics:

  • Basic characteristics:
    In the basic characteristics of the logo of Web 2.0 website, usually gradients and bright colors are used to draw the logo because it represents the freedom of new media. The font style has been changed and no use of serif font in the logo like earlier versions of website logo. The use of shadows, reflection of image and emboss of the logo has been common in Web 2.0, the trend of glossy effect has also been increased. It is generally made by logo generator tools and the prepared logo represents the reflection of the website.
  • Secondary characteristics:
    The above describe characteristics are very common in Web 2.0 based websites, but besides these some less common characteristics are also being used for making a logo.

Most of the community websites use speech bubble shaped logo containing rounded corner. Spheres and 3d shapes are also being used. The shiny and 3 dimensional logos are being popular as the users like these types of logo. Adding ?beta’ with the logo has been trends now, many websites stick ?Beta’ with the logo pictures. The size of icons has been reduced and many time the designer use strange or lesser-known word in the logos. Some designers or website also uses + mark to look younger generation website.

Web 2.0 Templates

Web 2.0 Templates are different in design and pattern from traditional website templates in terms of everything from content fonts to background colors. Web 2.0 Templates are easy to manage and users can identify the websites that use these templates.

These templates are rich in graphical and navigational tools like icons and bright color choices as well as all the contents are subdivided into special blocks that make it easy for surfers to search the site and to grasp the close image of the site as the visitors enter in the site.

The popularity of Web 2.0 template proves that these templates have changed the trend of old and boring designs. Now, the webmasters can also purchase the readymade templates for using in their website as several web companies are selling these services on the net.

Content of Web 2.0

With the changing trends in web, the pattern and style of the contents have also been changed. The fundamental of the writing has not been widely changed but the way of inputting the contents have been changed widely. In this new technology, the readers and visitors can also submit, add or edit the content on the participatory basis. The content can also be shared, add in the favourite and send to others. The editors, developers and administrators are responsible for the available contents.

In the new technology, the contents can also been read and use by the machines using API and syndication (RSS) tools, e.g. Google Maps that spread quickly using API while news websites uses RSS feed to spread the news quickly.

Games culture changes in Web 2.0

Web 2.0 technology has changed the games culture. Now in Web 2.0 based games website, users cannot only customize the games but also can create his/her own games using the available tools on the game website, while it was not possible in Web 1.0 based web era. The players can share the game, invite anyone on the game who is online and can also earn some money by selling their new created games on the net. Earlier, in the previous generation of web technologies, users have to play with what developers have created in the game. There was no chances of manipulation was available earlier.

Web 2.0 Model

Web 2.0 includes two major model move, one is ?user generated content? and other is ?thin client computing?.

  1. User Generated Content
    User generated contents refer to those content which user can upload it on the Web 2.0 based software especially social networking sites in the form of text, audio, video, pictures, movies and many more on the low level or the mass level itself. The advantage of this move is the content can spread very rapidly on the mass level and truly talented authors, artists, musicians and moviemakers can gain an audience quickly and easily that was not so easy in the past. ?Orkut?, ?YouTube?, ?Wikipedia? and blogs are the best examples of User generated Content Paradigm.
  2. Thin Client Computing
    Data and applications are stored on Web servers, and a user can access these from any computer through a Web browser. This is known as thin client computing. Though, it is not a new concept for the Internet, but in Web 2.0 user can access any data from the massive server through Browsers. Browsers interpret scripts in such a way, that the data are accessed extremely quick no matter which hardware or software environment they reside in. ?Google?, ?Live?, ?Yahoo? and ?msn? is the best examples of thin client computing.

Origin of Web 2.0

Before the origin of Web 2.0, Web 1.0 was known as a term ?Web? that was like warehouse of information and static content. Then, as time passes, with the advancement of technology and software, a huge amount of data and content became dynamic and returning custom results to users. With the evolution of new century, the Web became much more interactive. It allowed the users to play, stop, rewind and fast-forward through audio and video content. It was Web 1.5. But gradually, Web-based applications act like local applications, but on a worldwide level with the social illusion just before since last two or three years. This is known as Web 2.0.

The concept of ?Web 2.0? began with a conference brainstorming session between O?Reilly and MediaLive International in 2003. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O?Reilly VP, noted that the dotcom companies were being crashed very rapidly despite of having quality and right marketing strategy. It is assumed that something is common in all the dotcom companies that were not being distinguished by the client and being the causes of crashing. Though they observed that Web applications have a lot more than it had been used so far. They decided to do something different with web application, thus the concept of Web 2.0 has been evolved. O?Reilly had presented the feature of Web 2.0 in 2004 in a conference claiming the new version of Web. It began to popular since then.

Google, Live, Orkut, YouTube etc are the best examples of Web 2.0. In the model of Web 2.0 O?Reilly had presented that the Web 2.0 based software can do better business and are more efficient. This causes the revolution and many more web applications replacing the most common and popular Web applications e.g. Google AdSense replaced Double Click, Flickr replaced Ofoto, Napster replaced mp3.com, Wikipedia replaced Britannica Online, Web logs replaced personal websites, Search Engine Optimization replaced domain name speculation, Wikis replaced Content Management System while folksonomy replaced taxonomy. There is a long list of Web 2.0 that is accepted widely. But the controversy is still going on about the definition of Web 2.0. Some people are criticizing it saying that it is a meaningless marketing buzzword while many people heartily accept it and enjoy it too.

Web 2.0 Characteristics

Characteristics of Web 2.0

Though there is a controversy still going on over the definition of Web 2.0, yet it has some basic common characteristics. These include:

  1. Web 2.0 use network as a platform as it deliver or receive applications thoroughly via a browser.
  2. Users gets, manipulates and controlled the data on the site.
  3. Participatory architecture in which user can add or edit value to the application according to their requirement.
  4. A rich, interactive, user-friendly interface based on Ajax or similar frameworks.
  5. Some social-networking aspects.
  6. Enhanced graphical interfaces such as gradients and rounded corners (absent in the so-called Web 1.0 era).

Usage of Web 2.0
After emerging of Web 2.0, it is being vastly used because of its wide range of variety and very attractive features. Descriptive list of Web 2.0 tools are endless even though we can say that the new generation of Internet approximately uses its tools. Web 2.0 tools include Weblogging, Wikis, Social networking, Podcasts, Feeds, Social bookmarking, and Cascading Style Sheet. The Approach behind using Web 2.0 is different. Some uses it accidentally as for browsing purpose. Some uses it to fulfill theirs? job because they need it. Some uses it by curiosity as they want to check it and some uses it by default as they have no knowledge about it. Overall, many people and companies use it but they don?t know why? The reason may vary, but its utility is still undoubted.

Technical Overview
Web 2.0 has a complex and growing technology that includes server-software, content-syndication, messaging- protocols, standards-based browsers with plugins and extensions, and various client-applications. All these differ in functions and approaches but provide all the requirements beyond the expectation such as information- storage, creation, and dissemination capabilities.

A web 2.0 website may usually feature a number of following techniques:

  • Rich Internet application techniques, optionally Ajaxbased
  • Cascading Style Sheet, CSS
  • Semantically valid XHTML markup and the use of Microformats
  • Organization and collection of data in RSS/Atom
  • Clean and meaningful URLs
  • Excessive use of folksonomies (in the form of tags or tagclouds)
  • Use of wiki software either completely or partially (where partial use may grow to become the complete platform for the site) partially, e.g. the LAMP solution stack
  • XACML over SOAP for access control between organizations and domains
  • Blog publishing
  • Mashups (A mix up of content and Audio usually from different musical style)
  • REST or XML Webservice APIs.

Introduction to Web 2.0

Web 2.0, a phrase is a cluster term for the new phase of World Wide Web, which was coined by OReilly and Media live International in 2003 and popularized by the first Web 2.0 conference in 2004. The term “Web 2.0” was coined in January 1999 by Darcy DiNucci, a consultant on electronic information design (information architecture).There is no certain definition of Web 2.0, even though; it stands for the transformation of the web into a full-fledged computing platform.

Web 2.0 is not a modified version of World Wide Web, but it is a different way to utilize Internet into web platform like weblogs, social book marking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds (and other forms of many-to-many publishing), social networking web, Web APIs, Web standards and online service provider. It is like open sourcing and genuine interactivity in which user can upload anything, download anything and can use the content according to its own wish. There is no restriction of more or less measure of content, uploading and downloading. All these are absolutely free.

According to ?O?Reilly, the inventor of Web 2.0, ?Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform?. So Web 2.0 is a new way of business via Internet. It?s really a new business tactic that is being used on the mass level across the world. The success of ?YouTube?, ?Orkut?, ?MySpace?, ?Google?, ?live?, ?Wikipedia? and many more websites are the biggest examples of Web 2.0.

Definitions and Components
As we have already mentioned that Web 2.0 has not any specific definition. Many users have defined its in their own way. According to Wikipedia, ?Web 2.0 is a term often 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.?

On the other hand, according to Wall Street Technology powered by CMP ?United Business Media?, the coinventor of Web 2.0, ?Web 2.0 refers to Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) that use the Internet as a platform to create interactive user interfaces that resemble PCbased applications. Typically, RIAs emphasize online collaboration among users.?

Several supporters of Web 2.0 have defined it according to their uses, observations and experiences, but in brief, we can say that:

  • Web 2.0 is a conversion of websites from unique information structure having the sources of content and functionality. That?s why being a computing platforms it serves web applications to end-users.
  • Web 2.0 is a new way of organizing and categorizing of the content, audio, video, pictures and movies highly stressing to the growth of the economic value of the Web.
  • Tim O?Reilly, the father of Web 2.0 along with his colleague John Battelle summarized the key principles Web 2.0 applications in 2005. According to them:
    • The web as a platform
    • Data as the driving force
  • Network effects created by an architecture of participation
  • Innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of ?open source? development)
  • Lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
  • The end of the software adoption cycle (?the perpetual beta?)
  • Software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of the ?Long Tail?
  • Ease of picking-up by early adopters