In a well known article written last year, Tim O'Reilly posed the question "What Is Web 2.0?"
Only a year later, Web 2.0 is becoming familiar territory.
Web 2.0 is, in essence, a web open to participatory content creation: blogging, sharing photos, contributing research to wikis, etc.
New web sites, web technologies, development tools, and design methodologies gained popularity and helped make Web 2.0 happen. The conceptual essence is, however, democratized participation.
The Democratization of Development
What is the next step after participation? I would say the democratization of development, enabling the exponential acceleration of online web application creation.
As an example, we can look at how content aggregation has evolved. Web 2.0 gave us RSS, which enabled end-users to repurpose content in a myriad of ways. Then came online news vetting communities, such as Digg and Reddit, that allowed content to be determined by the community: vetted, commented on, and remixed. Looking at this progression, the next logical step could be the creation of customizable online news vetting applications.
What if Digg itself could be remixed? What if Digg users could easily add their own functionality: creating mutations, playing with the rules, and organizing Digg subcultures that embrace these changes?
It seems like an interesting possibility, but how could it be done?
Beyond the Browser