Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Gopala Krishna Behara, Sridhar Chalasani

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, SYS-CON MEDIA, Machine Learning , Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: Article

i-Technology Viewpoint: Is Web 2.0 the Global SOA?

Web 2.0 describes the next generation of the Web as an application platform

The subject of Web 2.0 has become profoundly important over the last year. Web 2.0 describes the next generation of the Web as an application platform where most of a user's software experience resides. The subject is somewhat controversial, but it's becoming ever more apparent as the successor to monolithic system architecture, prepackaged software, and traditional Web applications.

Software as a Service (SAAS) and Web as Platform are only two of the larger mantras of Web 2.0 that most of the major software vendors have begun to embrace recently. Yet not only is Web 2.0 still very misunderstood, it's actually part of an even larger way of thinking about software in a fully service-oriented manner. This includes building composite applications, remixing data, building ad hoc supply chains, harnessing user involvement, aggregating knowledge, and more. Web 2.0 is becoming embodied in best practice sets such as service-oriented architecture (SOA).

The term Web 2.0 was originally coined by O'Reilly's Dale Dougherty to describe the forces behind the huge post-dot-com success of Internet companies like Google, eBay, Amazon, and iTunes, as well as noncommercial, emergent Web phenoms such as Wikipedia and BitTorrent. Web 2.0 describes Web experiences that fundamentally engage users by: 1) allowing them to participate in sharing information and enriching data freely, 2) readily offering their core functionality as open services to be composited or "mashed up" into new services and sites, and 3) placing the Web at the center of the software experience both in terms of data location as well as where the software is.

Applications in which the Web app is primarily an online catalog are changing the most. Instead of being just a way to browse for products or information, the Web 2.0 app is itself the tip of an iceberg that integrates services and data from multiple sources and then makes the results available to users and other Web 2.0 apps. At the end of the day, the integration achieved by one Web 2.0 app will likely get rolled up into someone else's Web 2.0 app.

Now evangelized by Tim O'Reilly and others as Web 2.0, the concepts themselves are not really new, but they are beginning to dominate the IT industry's collective consciousness. The powerful force of architecture of participation, which is the combined network effects of pervasive two-way participation (blogging, wikis, and media sharing), is having a huge effect and is creating a single, communal service architecture on the Web. In the end, users want access to information anywhere, from multiple sources, without synchronization, delay, or maintenance (software upgrades, data backups, etc.). Users want to be able to share knowledge and collaborate with peers. To do this they need to be using the same underlying set of technologies and paradigms, and this is what Web 2.0 promotes.

A Closer Look at Web 2.0
While large traditional software organizations such as Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are struggling mightily to deliver traditional prepackaged software on long-term, aperiodic cycles, a newer generation of companies (Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, and many other smaller companies like 37signals and del.icio.us) are delivering capable software entirely online. This new agile way of providing functionality as a service over the Web provides a nimble, continuous experience with no software upgrades, and no synchronization of data or programs among work, home, or mobile locations. Equally important is that it provides a way to build new capabilities on top of existing functionality that becomes larger than the pieces (see Figure 1).

Tim O'Reilly, one of the leading evangelists of the Web 2.0 approach, generally provides seven classic characteristics of Web 2.0 software. These are described in the subsections below.

Web as Platform
Software and services are now the same thing, and the Web has become a computing platform in its own right. The Web is where most software is moving for cost, convenience, agility, and increased overall value.

Harnessing Collective Intelligence
The network effects of massive amounts of users make the collaborative Web a much more potent force than stand-alone software. Wikipedia says network effects "cause a good or service to have a value to a potential customer dependent on the number of customers already owning that good or using that service." Put another way, online collaborative entities such as Wikipedia are a network effect of the combined contributions of their users. This is a classic example of the high-value emergent properties of Web 2.0 forces.

Data Is the Next Intel Inside
The core functionality of many modern information systems is not software; more accurately, it's the valuable data within it. Look at Google's search database, Amazon's products and associated reviews, or eBay's auctions. While the services these sites provide are also important and integral, the data they possess are just as important, perhaps even more so.

End of the Software Release Cycle
When software is on the Web, upgrading becomes a different experience. Discrete changes become less obvious while continuous improvement becomes the norm. Because services are always available 24 hours a day to anyone connected to the global Internet, upgrades and improvements to service are instantly available and encouraged to be as nondisruptive as possible.

Lightweight Programming Models
When the clients of Web software are numerous and diverse, complex standards can get in the way, reduce interoperability, and stifle connectivity. Web 2.0 realizes that demand for services will route around unnecessary impedance and leverage the easiest methods that work well. This has led to simpler services such as REST and RSS instead of SOAP and WS-* standards. Remixing and compositing of services is also much easier with clean, clear, simple models, and this has also promoted loose coupling and suppler services, especially in the large. Dynamic programming languages that support rapid change are becoming more popular too.

Software Above the Level of a Single Device
PCs are an increasingly smaller aspect of the Web. With so many different devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, and even digital video recorders and personal media servers becoming connected to the Web and both providing and consuming functionality and content, the Software as a Service landscape of the Web now includes these in the picture.

Rich User Experiences The Web has ceased to be about static Web pages. They still exist, but they are much less important. More central to the Web are rich user experiences that immerse the user in the functionality of the services available on the Web without getting in the way. The AJAX browser application model is famously a Web 2.0 technique that uses the raw ingredients of modern browsers to provide the full interactive experience of native applications to the user while leveraging XML Web services on the back end to provide access to data and services.

There are many interlocking, reinforcing details that are vital to appreciating the best practices in the Web 2.0 toolset, however, the intent of this article isn't to explain every nuance of Web 2.0. Instead the article should convey a general mental model of it and describe Web 2.0's striking similarity to the SOA model. The point is that Web 2.0 describes the Web as a galactic collection of high-value Web services to be used, reused, and leveraged to meet users' needs. The Web itself provides the universal fabric upon which all of this rests and this includes the standards, the users, and the data. The premise of this article is that Web 2.0 actually describes the Web as the convergence of software services into a global service-oriented architecture.

More Stories By RIA News Desk

Ever since Google popularized a smarter, more responsive and interactive Web experience by using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript + XML) for its Google Maps & Gmail applications, SYS-CON's RIA News Desk has been covering every aspect of Rich Internet Applications and those creating and deploying them. If you have breaking RIA news, please send it to [email protected] to share your product and company news coverage with AJAXWorld readers.

Comments (9)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Microservices Articles
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
As Enterprise business moves from Monoliths to Microservices, adoption and successful implementations of Microservices become more evident. The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Documenting hurdles and problems for the use of Microservices will help consultants, architects and specialists to avoid repeating the same mistakes and learn how and when to use (or not use) Microservices at the enterprise level. The circumstance w...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a common and reliable transmission protocol on the Internet. TCP was introduced in the 70s by Stanford University for US Defense to establish connectivity between distributed systems to maintain a backup of defense information. At the time, TCP was introduced to communicate amongst a selected set of devices for a smaller dataset over shorter distances. As the Internet evolved, however, the number of applications and users, and the types of data accessed and...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin, ...
Gone are the days when application development was the daunting task of the highly skilled developers backed with strong IT skills, low code application development has democratized app development and empowered a new generation of citizen developers. There was a time when app development was in the domain of people with complex coding and technical skills. We called these people by various names like programmers, coders, techies, and they usually worked in a world oblivious of the everyday pri...