In a recent blog post, Dion Hinchcliffe attempts to find the common patterns behind successful "Web 2.0" Web sites. Along the way, he also provides useful definitions of what "Web 2.0" is about.
The term "Web 2.0" has both fascinated and confused people lately: While some believe that Web 2.0 connotes a set of technologies used in Web site construction, such as Ajax, others place more emphasis on the social network effects of Web 2.0.
While the general understanding of Web 2.0 is improving all the time, we have a ways to go before we have a concise, generally accepted definition. My favorite is still networked applications that explicitly leverage networks effects. But while most of what we ascribe to the Web 2.0 name falls out of these definition[s], it's fairly hard for most of us to extrapolate meaningful ramifications from this.
Instead of insisting on a definition, Hinchcliffe highlights what he considers are characteristics shared by Web 2.0 sites:
Ease of use is the most important feature of any Web site, Web application, or program.
Open up your data as much possible. There is no future in hoarding data, only controlling it.
Aggressively add feedback loops to everything. Pull out the loops that don’t seem to matter and emphasize the ones that give results.
Continuous release cycles. The bigger the release, the more unwieldy it becomes (more dependencies, more planning, more disruption.) Organic growth is the most powerful, adaptive, and resilient.
Make your users part of your software. They are your most valuable source of content, feedback, and passion. Start understanding social architecture. Give up non-essential control. Or your users will likely go elsewhere.
Turn your applications into platforms. An application usually has a single predetermined use, a platform is designed to be the foundation of something bigger. Instead of getting a single type of use from your software and data, you might be hundreds or even thousands of additional uses.
Don’t create social communities just to have them. They aren’t a checklist item. But do empower inspired users to create them.
Do you agree with Hinchcliffe's assessment of Web 2.0 commonalities? What would you add to, or take away from, Hinchcliffe's list?