Web 2.0 Tutorial

First of all, I have to make a disappointing confession: this is not a Web 2.0 tutorial – but fear not, at least the logical and absolutely valid question to this dilemma (i.e. why the hell is the article entitled ‘Web 2.0 tutorial’ then?) will be provided.

Although this blog’s tagline is ‘Ruby, Rails, Web2.0’ and I am blogging/planning to blog about all these topics in the future, I did not have an exclusively-and-only-about-Web2.0 post yet (as far as I remember). That’s why it strikes me odd that according to google analytics, a lot of people are finding this site via the keyword combination ‘Web2.0 tutorial’. This post was inspired by them and for them!

Since this trend is nearly as old as this blog – and it seems to continue, and even rise as time goes by – I am now really curious what the heck are people imagining behind the term ‘Web2.0 tutorial’. Why? Well, there are more reasons to ponder about:

– Nobody knows what Web 2.0 actually is (or if does, the others don’t agree :-)). Since coined by Tim O’Reilly back in 2005, ‘Web 2.0’ has been redefined, argued about, glorified, despised, parodied, upgraded to Web 3.0, regarded as vapor, bubble etc. (and who knows what else…) countless times – just one thing did not happen: A commonly accepted, concise (or even lengthy) definition with which everybody would agree.
You won’t find anybody interested in the Web today who would not have his own definition associated with Web2.0 – however, these definitions (although more overlapping and similar than ever) will be varying from person to person.

– The conjunction itself is kind of absurd – even if we accept that there is a common understanding of the term ‘Web2.0’, it definitely has more facets: Look (Apple aqua reinvented, round corners galore, reflections of reflections etc), social aspect (digg, del.icio.us, youTube, myspace et al), theoretical backend (ontologies, folksonomies, openAPIs, microformats, mashups etc), standards (XHTML (2.0! :-)), RDF, FOAF, ATOM, SVG, SOAP), innovative ways of communication and catering to the users (WS, REST, Podcasts, Videocasts), typical Web2.0-purpose pages (wikis, blogs), development tools and frameworks (AJAX, Ruby on Rails, …) and other buzzwords 🙂

– Even if we define Web2.0 as a collection of the things from the previous point, the term ‘Web 2.0 tutorial’ is too broad-sense to get you too much relevant results (I believe – maybe some smart webmasters engaged in the ways of SEO tricking found out the carving after a Web2.0 tutorial already and wrote up a few for you :-)). Just as someone would not search a ‘programming language tutorial’ (but a ‘Ruby tutorial’ instead) or a ‘sport tutorial’ (rather a ‘squash tutorial’), searching after a *real* ‘Web2.0 tutorial’ could be ineffective, too. I suggest to look for ’rounded corners tutorial’, ‘mashup tutorial’ or ‘Ruby on Rails tutorial’ etc. instead. Additionally, if you are really keen on Web2.0-ness of these documents, don’t forget to add ‘Web2.0’ to the query – just in case :-).

– Related to the previous point: attack the problem from bottom up rather than the other way around – i.e. try to look for solutions of concrete problems and assemble them into a Web2.0 style whatever once you are done, rather than trying to do something which is Web2.0 in the first place. In my opinion you should think like ‘I would like to create a great mashup in Ruby on Rails with AJAX and a Web2.0 look – how should I go about this?’ rather than ‘Let’s see a good Web 2.0 tutorial and then I will cook something great’. You should strive for creating great looking websites with great content and functionality, and people will like it and use it – whether you call it Web2.0, Web3.0 or whatever – even if the URL of the site will be www.thissiteisnotweb2.0.com :-).

Now that I have mentioned ‘Web2.0’ and ‘Web 2.0 tutorial’ more times in this article, I guess I’ll be receiving even more hits through this query – though this was definitely not the reason for writing this article. However, if you already got this far, please take a few seconds and share with us your thoughts on this. After all Web2.0 is also about collaboration, you know. Heck, I might even write a few Web2.0 tutorials in the future – just tell me what a ‘Web2.0 tutorial’ means… :-).