First coined in 2004, the term “web 2.0″ simultaneously demonstrates both the very best of marketing and the very worst.
“Web 2.0″ has defined an industry category that has driven billions of dollars of investment to bring incredible tools to the world. At its best it means “everything”, but in reality it means closer to “nothing”.
The term is most ambiguous within the context of the electronic design industry. To us, an increment means an increment in functionality. This is not at all the case with the web. There was not a new release of the internet upon the coining of the term. No new features were added to any protocols. All of the tools that have been developed that sit underneath this umbrella are based upon technologies that have been around for years. Indeed, since the very early days of the web in some cases (re. IM). So in a sense, “web 2.0″ means “nothing”.
However, “web 2.0″ as a collective handle referring to the new application of older technology is where the term begins to mean “everything”.
There are a number of definitions used that vary upon a theme of “collaboration” or “interaction” and imply tools that enable this: forum, chat, blog, social network, various software-as-a-service platforms (for the enterprise), etc. However, while useful to describe a collection of re-packaged technology (for an extreme example take a look at “Ajax“), it is still lacking.
I prefer to add a bit of wisdom from our industry. We all know that revision 1.0 of a piece of software is usually “challenging”, to put it mildly. It is when the software is at revision “2.0″ that it becomes useful and can be applied to solve a problem (without it coming back to bite you).
And this is where we are - we now have web products and platforms that are useful and can solve real problems. In the consumer space, some “problems” are debatable. However, in the electronic design industry we have some very large and challenging problems to solve.
- How to re-integrate an industry that is dynamic and geographically distributed
- How to engage with new users emerging on the other side of the world
- How to support users that exist on three or four continents without an army of applications engineers
- How to know the latest technology coming out of…everywhere!
The list is long and the problems large - they stifle growth and limit our efficiency as an industry.
So, is Xuropa “Web 2.0″?
Xuropa is an “Integrated Web 2.0 Platform”. As has been said in this blog before, there are many point tools out there that address parts of the challenges above. And these tools use various web 2.0 technologies. The Xuropa platform is the complete solution.
This post was written by James Colgan on November 17, 2008