Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Andreas Grabner

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
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable?Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, answered these questions and demonstrated techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances and co...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, will discuss how to use Kubernetes to setup a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace....
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, will discuss why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices ra...