API Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Christopher Harrold, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: IoT User Interface, Agile Computing

IoT User Interface: Article

There's No Boundary Between "Web 1.0" and "Web 2.0" - Just a Blurry Verge

AJAXWorld Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan's 2006 essay on "The Perfect Storm of Web 2.0 Disruption"

This article, which originally appeared at SYS-CON.com in October 2006, bears keeping in mind as 2008 unfolds. In it, Jeremy Geelan draws attention to the historian Daniel Boorstin's idea of "the Fertile Verge" - and applies it to the advent of the Social Web and the still-emerging world of the Web-as-Platform.

The winds of change in the Web world have reached hurricane force right now, and nowhere are they blowing more fiercely than around that epicenter of weather activity that's been labeled "Web 2.0." There, a perfect storm is brewing.

I choose the term "perfect storm" advisedly since no other phrase that I am aware of encapsulates as succinctly the crucial insight that it's a confluence of simultaneous yet quite disparate events and changes that, in my view, is driving the current turmoil.

Few technology - and fewer still business - commentators seems to have lifted up their heads for long enough recently to realize that they need to take "Web 2.0" very seriously indeed. Its marketeering connotations belie the reality that we are experiencing the simultaneous occurrence of events which, taken individually, would be far less powerful than the result of their chance combination. Together, however, they have developed an awe-inspiring power.

Such occurrences are, by their very nature, rare. But that doesn't mean they aren't real and that they don't happen. Ask anyone in the 1,000-mile radius of the epicenter of the Asian tsumani of 2004.

Paul Graham, well-known essayist and hardly a superficial "hypester," did an interview with TechCrunch recently in which he said as follows:

"To me 'Web 2.0' translates to 'Web.' And Web technologies don't appeal only to a small niche. Web-based email services have hundreds of millions of users. The network (in the broader sense of the Internet plus the phone networks) pervades everything now.

We're pretty open about what we think makes a technology stick. We print it on T-Shirts: 'Make something people want.' If you had to reduce the recipe for a successful startup to four words, those would probably be the four."

Graham has also written, in a November 2005 essay:

"Does 'Web 2.0' mean anything more than the name of a conference yet? I don't like to admit it, but it's starting to. When people say 'Web 2.0' now, I have some idea what they mean. And the fact that I both despise the phrase and understand it is the surest proof that it has started to mean something."

Tim Berners-Lee on the other hand, has been dismissing Web 2.0 as "a piece of jargon" and pointing out - most recently in a podcast he did with IBM's developerWorks - that Web 2.0 relies on Web 1.0 technologies such as the DOM, HTML, http, SVG, web standards, and JavaScript. Which, with the deepest respect for one of the great geniuses of the late 20th century, suggests that TBL is not wholly up to speed yet with the 21st: to say that "Web 2.0" is meaningless because it relies on pre-existing technologies is surely a little like saying that "supersonic flight" is meaningless because the Wright Brothers got there first.

Berners-Lee argues that "Web 1.0" was already totally about connecting people. "It was an interactive space," he notes. "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 intreract."

Now one doesn't take issue lightly with the Father of the World Wide Web, but my concern is that, in his perhaps understandable desire to do whatever he can to stop what he possibly perceives as a New Bubble, Berners-Lee is inadvertently falling into the (for him, of all people) surprising role of what Virginia Postrel calls a "stasist" - as in one who favors the static over the dynamic.

Because the real essence of "Web 2.0" - pace Berners-Lee - is not its technology so much as its opportunism, its chaos, and its exhuberance.

Dave Winer - with whom, like TBL, one takes issue only somewhat reluctantly - seems to me to make the same mistake, i,e, that of dismissing "Web 2.0" on technological grounds thus missing the point that only one of the elements of "Web 2.0" is technology. Here is what Winer wrote on September 1:

"One sure sign of a bubble is the meta-ness of the excitement. How far removed from actual user experience is the euphoria? Is there any technolog1y involved?"

Robert Scoble take the same stance as Winer, blogging just yesterday:

"The other day I was talking with a developer...and he told me about all the froth he was seeing in the Web 2.0 space. He was wondering where the people were who were paying attention to business. Profits. Customers. He pointed to a lot of the events he's been attending lately and said 'they are frothy.'"

I wonder whether what Scoble's unnamed developer friend really meant was not so much "frothy" as "fuzzy" or "blurry." In which case he has hit the nail on the head, though perhaps not in the way that Scoble realized.

"Web 2.0" is an example of what the historian Daniel Boorstin would have called "the Fertile Verge" - "a place of encounter between something and something else." Boorstin (and here I am wholly indebted to Virginia Postrel) pinpointed such "verges" as being nothing short of the secret to American creativity.

Postrel sums up what Boorstin was saying as follows:

"A verge is not a sharp border but a frontier region: where the forest meets the prairie or the mountains meet the flatlands, where ecosystems or ideas mingle. Verges between land and sea, between civilization and wilderness, between black and white, between immigrants and natives...between state and national governments, between city and countryside - all mark the American experience." The creativity of America, Boortsin argued - the hope of the nation - lies "in its verges, in its new mixtures and new confusions."

My point is that there is no boundary between "Web 1.0" and "Web 2.0" - just a blurry verge. And the richness of the verge lies in the cross-fertilization and new combinations they encourage.

Web 2.0 is a Boom Town, and - as Postrel points out - "Boom towns break down barriers; they mix together talent from everywhere; they challenge complacency and overturn assumptions. They are sometimes ugly and almost always stressful, but they foster invention, progress, and learning. And they let people chase their dreams."

So my view is that, unlike Asia, the tsunami of change heralded by the current storm in Web development and online business models, coming as it does together with a simultaneous revolution in the way that users are choosing to use the Web, is an unprecedented opportunity for us all. Users, content providers, Web developers, businesses of every stripe.

"Web 2.0" lends itself to totally new types of applications, and its immediacy and openness can be a powerful differentiator in existing business interactions. The trick is to get involved right now, armed with an application architecture that will carry you forward safely and profitably, wherever the "Web 2.0" whirlwind may take you.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (3) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
anonymous 08/01/06 04:21:41 PM EDT

... but isn't Monson-Haefel right?. JEE is not simple by any means. What shall I use when my company wants me to quickly proto-type a simple application? MS Access?

anonymous 07/27/06 07:15:52 PM EDT

He must be a lazy slacker who wants to drag and drop everything.

JDJ News Desk 07/26/06 04:50:44 PM EDT

Java Enterprise Edition (formerly J2EE) is one of the main platforms for development of the Enterprise applications. Richard Monson-Haefel use to be one of the noted Java Experts, author of various books on J2EE technology. But even experts should not forget about taking their morning pills religiously. Just miss one day, and you may produce a podcast that predicts soon death of Java EE 5.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, discussed the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filterin...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...