Nowadays everybody is talking about Web 2.0 lately. It’s a real hype, but do you know what it is all about? Web 2.0 refers to the second stage of development of the Internet, according to some people. It’s about the change of a collection of websites to a complete platform for interactive web applications for the end-users on the World Wide Web.

For some people it will mean the end of desktop applications. These web-based services make it easy for people to place things online, such as documents, pictures, movies, to-do lists… and share them with others by just using your browser. Software is no longer needed. Everything happens online: sharing information, collaborating etc. It’s a social happening. People are organizing and sharing their lives on the Web.

Web 2?0 is a social phenomenon that gives users freedom to share and re-use, that uses technologies such as social bookmarking, weblogs, podcasts, RSS Feeds, wikis… The users are the force behind the Internet, we make the Web every day. We publish pieces of our lives, day after day. The new thing about Web 2.0 is that all this sharing of personal information is so much easier and more attractive than it used to be. Information from different websites can easily be combined for you to make it easy to track it, or even better the new information, based on your own preferences, will be delivered to you.

The key principles of the new Internet and its web-applications are:

* The main force is data: the users own the data and are able to control that data. Users are responsible for the growing hype of Web 2.0

* The World Wide Web is being used as a platform: allowing users to use applications through a browser. Lots of the web 2.0 applications couldn’t exist without the use of the Internet such as Skype or Wikipedia or eBay…

* A lot of people participate which causes an architecture of participation and democracy, this will lead to various effects in the network. This can also be described as the wisdom of crowds. People judge if news is hot or not on web 2.0 sites such as digg or Reddit and del.icio.us.

* Features from lots of independent developers are being combined and assembled together to create innovative sites and systems: RSS, APIs, Social Networking and Folksonomies are being implemented to create powerful fast applications. And all these applications are quite inexpensive.

* The perpetual beta: a lot of web 2.0 sites are constantly under development and therefore will never pass the beta-stage

* User-friendly, rich and interactive interfaces: the sites of the new generation web use CSS, Ajax… to create dynamic pages that makes it easy for us to see even more information. It’s all about rich user experience.

* The Internet is a Read/Write Web: it is no longer a one-way medium, social-networking aspects became a main ingredient. The social software allows collaboration and communication between more than two people

* Early adopters will find it easy to join in

* Have faith in users: let users play with your applications, and remodel your site, bring content and give them freedom. Don’t tell them what to do and what not to do. They will find their own ways to work with your services and applications

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