Berners-Lee Defines Web 2.0

Here’s an excerpt from the Tim Berners-Lee podcast with IBM.

I think he is genuinely quite excited about the new functions and user applications on the web.

However, he describes web 2.0 as what ever you want it to be. Another nice web 2.0 definition then.

LANINGHAM (interviewer): Do you get excited at all about emerging Internet technologies as described, you know, Ajax and things like that? Or are you thinking most of the time at such a conceptual level and a solution level that you don’t really feel like you have time to get too worked up over those things?

BERNERS-LEE: Oh, this tabulator project, the RDF tabulator, I coded it up in Ajax. So yes, I’m very…I find that Ajax is the…. It’s the one computing platform where everybody who has a Web browser has got that platform. So the nice thing about it is when you do code up an Ajax implementation then other people can take it and play with it. And I think that’s one of the things that’s so exciting.

Also it’s actually got a really powerful, you’ve got a really powerful user interface toolkit with the HTML DOM and also with the SCG DOM, so I think scalable back to graphics, Ajax applications are going to be really fun in the future.

And then when you’ve got an RDF and SPARQL library which gives you access to the Web of data, then that gives you extremely deep programmatic access both to the user and to the data underneath so that application becomes something relevant. So yes, I get excited about things which allow people to have fun and make progress and prototype new ideas.

LANINGHAM: You know, with Web 2.0, a common explanation out there is Web 1.0 was about connecting computers and making information available; and Web 2 is about connecting people and facilitating new kinds of collaboration. Is that how you see Web 2.0?

BERNERS-LEE: Totally not. Web 1.0 was all about connecting people. It was an interactive space, and I think Web 2.0 is of course a piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0 for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.

And in fact, you know, this Web 2.0, quote, it means using the standards which have been produced by all these people working on Web 1.0. It means using the document object model, it means for HTML and SCG and so on, it’s using HTTP, so it’s building stuff using the Web standards, plus Java script of course.

So Web 2.0 for some people it means moving some of the thinking client side so making it more immediate, but the idea of the Web as interaction between people is really what the Web is. That was what it was designed to be as a collaborative space where people can interact.

Now, I really like the idea of people building things in hypertext, the sort of a common hypertext space to explain what the common understanding is and thus capturing all the ideas which led to a given position. I think that’s really important. And I think that blogs and wikis are two things which are fun, I think they’ve taken off partly because they do a lot of the management of the navigation for you and allow you to add content yourself.

But I think there will be a whole lot more things like that to come, different sorts of ways in which people will be
able to work together.

The semantic wikis are very interesting. These are wikis in which people can add data and then that data can then besurfaced and sliced and diced using all kinds of different semantic Web tools, so that’s why it’s exciting the way people, things are going, but I think there are lots of new things in that vein that we have yet to invent.

Jim Callender

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