Updated: Continued in Part 2
I stumbled upon a realization the other day- probably obvious to many already- the latest AJAX (of at least the first half of 2006) is "Mash-ups".
The idea, term, and even demos, have been around for a while, but from what I can tell, like AJAX and Web 2.0, "Mash-up" is a term that is on track to quickly become overused into meaninglessness. (If you don't know the term yet - though you probably do - you're SOOOO not cool. Of course, if you DO know it, and use it regularly in sentences, well, you are ALSO so not cool :P - at least to developers).
AJAX really refers to a specific set of design patterns within the larger context of DHTML (scripting + HTML) authoring, but it has become a proxy for "runs like a desktop app, RIGHT IN YOUR BROWSER!" (that noise you hear is the pitter-patter of over enthused VCs). And now we have further confusing bastardizations like "AJAX-y" - meaning its not using XMLHTTPRequest() per se, but looks like the type of applications that were the initial poster children for the AJAX pattern.
Web 2.0 is the term everyone users to refer to the next generation of Internet applications and services. Given that "Web 1.0" brought us "Business 2.0", I'm expecting "Business 3.0" to GM shortly (fixes a few compatibility bugs; better perfomance and featuring a streamlined user interface!).
"AJAX" and "Mash-ups" are definitionally within the Web 2.0 bubble, and though they're all used and overused terms, there are a few specific precepts to Web 2.0 that are worth distinctly understanding. That is to say, its not all hype.
People tend to toss around a lot of terms when they talk about Web 2.0, including:
- Web as Platform
- Harnessing Collective Intelligence (AKA the wisdom of crowds)
- Rich User Experiences
- Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models
- Participatory Web
The ambiguity in deciphering exactly what all this means is probably at least partially to blame for the low signal-to-noise ratio with Web 2.0's colloquial usage.
I'll cover what I think it means in my next post on this topic, but will leave you with this (rhetorical) question: Why did Search beat Directories (and I'll argue content portals) as the primary mode of web navigation?