Developer 2.0: Gung-Ho or Ho Hum?

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-04-28 Print this article Print

title=Web 2.0 an 'After the Fact' Term} 

Esterbrook said he views Web 2.0 as "an 'after the fact' term, and I'd rather just talk about specific topics like blogs, wikis, data mining, syndication, etc."

He cited World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee's comments on the term "Web 2.0," questioning whether "one can use the term in a meaningful way, since many of the technology components of 'Web 2.0' have existed since the early days of the Web," according to the Wikipedia page defining the term.

Some developers said from their experience, most developers still work on small projects that call for an average of two developers for two or three months. Much of this work still goes on as people passing source files to each other in e-mail or using a simple source code management or work-item tracking system, such as Microsoft's Visual Source Safe. 

Forrester says enterprise Web 2.0 spending will reach $4.6 billion by 2013. Read more here.

In addition, many hosters, such as 1&1 Internet and, offer hosted Subversion or CVS repositories for online source code management. There also are several companies trying to make inroads into the hosted source code and project management system business.

Alex Russell, a San Francisco-based developer and co-creator of the Dojo Toolkit, a JavaScript library, said that insofar as new Web tools benefit everyone, developers are also benefiting, but not disproportionately.

"I'm guessing there are a lot more geeks on Twitter than, say, amongst the average population, and you can construe that however you like, but the tools for developer collaboration that are making a big difference are things like git/svk and not Flickr or Twitter per se," Russell said.

Git is a version control/software configuration management tool created by Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Svk is a version control system written in Perl.

"Geeks have always had better distributed collaboration tools because they have been willing to put up with rougher edges," Russell said. "Collaborative Web sites seem more-to me-to be about bringing those advantages to everyone else."

Ted Neward, programming guru and founder of Neward and Associates, said there are two different axes to the discussion of developers and Web 2.0: features incorporated into applications that developers are building for their customers, and features that developers use to construct software themselves.

"To the first case, developers get fired up about anything new, and Web 2.0 definitely falls into that category," Neward said. "Whether that interest/excitement is because it's shiny and new or because it's something that users are calling for, however, is an entirely different discussion. Frequently developers will incorporate features into an application because they 'think' that users will want them; when those features are displayed to the user community, the response varies from 'Wow, that's cool' to 'You spent how many weeks on what, again?'"

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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