[thelist] "Web 2.0 sites with the big friendly fonts"

Barney Carroll barney at textmatters.com
Thu Feb 22 11:53:23 CST 2007

Steven Streight wrote:
> Barney I admire your even-tempered contrary view. I need to know how to cut
> through all the Web 2.0 hype and know how it *really* differs and improves
> upon the more static and conventional web.
> Please help us understand the complexity, scams, and empty buzzword drivel,
> the wheat from the chaff, and I thank you sir!

Sorry Vaspers, I sound like a pompous old git, don't I?

Web 2.0 is immaterial. 'It' differs and improves upon the more static 
and conventional web in that, by believing that there is such a thing, 
the more conventional web (OK, let's say there was a Web 1.0), 
apparently, was a series of entirely hand-coded HTML pages that were the 
entirely self-contained be-all and end-all of the world wide web.

Ignoring XSLT, slashdot, CMS, DHTML, PHP, Javascript... You'd be right 
in saying that around two years ago, this new internet was born whereby 
we discovered automated processes, in-browser authorship, non-HTML code, 
multimedia and flexible internet. You might also say it's become 

The point is, this is only true for your uninquisitive man on the street 
without a computer of his own. It certainly isn't true for any 
self-respecting developer who's had his head above ground over the last 
ten years.

Let's face it: I'm willing to bet everybody participating in this 
conversation was using automated processes, generating content by 
script, uploading and modifying data without a unix terminal and 
communicating with others over the web long before the word Web 2.0 came 
about. It is only useful as a vague term for those people who don't have 
the time, need or inclination to get their heads around the manifold 
possibilities of web-related technologies that have been around for ages 
- who are only just starting to use some of these wondrous features.

Granted, I could have a conversation with my Grandmother about this new 
fangled Web 2.0 that's revolutionising the world. But come on guys, you 
make livings off this stuff, you can't patronise yourselves and 
each-other this way!


If you want to know what Web 2.0 is for the sake of having a 
conversation with non-techie friends down the pub, they're probably 
talking about blogs and youtube.

If you want to know what it is for the sake of a client asking you for 
it, it could be anything. If you want to be bullet-proof I'd say you 
should have a healthy knowledge of AJAX and PHP or Python. Although they 
could equally be looking for somebody who just knows his fair share of 
CSS and a few cool Javascript snippets.

If you want to know what it is for the sake of talking to web designers 
and developers, I'd've thought you'd just have a chuckle.

Generally, 'everything that's cool about the internet'.

...Am I still being too cynical?


PS: Was that video suggesting that Google is Web 2.0? This may indeed be 
slightly over my head.

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