One key takeaway from the Web 2.0 panel was that data, interface and metadata no longer need to go hand in hand. When working on an application/website, one thinks of the overall picture including the data, the metadata, and the interface. With Web 2.0 apps, the data might be from one place, the metadata from another, and the interface from a third party or a remix. The diagram below shows the move towards Web 2.0 along with examples.
Amazon, in its early days, owned the data (the catalogs), the metadata (the associated keywords, where in the structure the item fit in), and the interface. Amazon has gradually evolved to the point where most of the metadata (e.g., ratings/reviews) comes from its users, developers can use API’s to build their own interfaces, and it also shows data from other vendors (e.g., the second hand sellers).
Flickr is the quintessential Web 2.0 application. Its data and metadata is contributed by its users; while the interface is its own. Its API’s are used by developers who tend to use its data, but not the interface (such as Mappr, Color Pickr).
Del.icio.us does not have any data of its own. It exists as a metadata aggregator, for data on various sites, tagged by users.
This has many implications, which I will talk about in a follow-up post.
Panel Roundup and Podcast
For those interested, the podcast (audio file: 82.8MB, 02:00:27)of the event is now available.
Several people posted pictures of the event. Watch the BayCHI tag on Flickr. Interestingly, BayCHI has an official “No pictures except by BayCHI” policy – a policy that in increasingly hard to work with in these days of camera phones and Flickr. (Yes, we are rethinking that policy).
PeterMe noted that the panel was too techy – too much talk about API’s. (Comment: No doubt, the word API has never been uttered at BayCHI so many times! But interestingly the focus on API’s was at the behest of the audience – during the question-answer session. In my opinion, the logic (philosophy if you will) of Web 2.0 reflects its technological underpinnings. A good example is the open source movement. Now, we even have open source beer. But initially, to understand the philosophy of open-source you had to understand developer speak. As Stewart Butterfield noted at the panel, Flickr wanted rich interactivity (refreshing parts of the page at a time) so they had API hooks – they kind of went with it, rather than fighting it. The API’s facilitated the openness. Currently, the logic behind Web 2.0 is baked into API’s, RSS etc. Also, I question whether any business will move to this approach because it is a compelling philosophy. They will shift because it is an attractive business proposition, or because technically it makes sense/is unavoidable, or a mix of both.)