When the term “Web 2.0” was coined, the emphasis of the term wasn’t the Internet or even existing movements on the Internet, but more the software used online that would eventually drive the Web 2.0 movement. Without software, there would be no Web 2.0. New and innovative software is crucial for the development of more and better Web applications and new ideas that will draw in the interest of the Internet crowd and provide a fun, user-friendly, and social experience for anyone who wants to try.
So how does software really drive Web 2.0? All users generally see online is a Web browser of some kind, like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Mozilla’s Firefox, and they use that browser to access information from all over the world. Users may download files and use those files locally but, for the most part, all they ever see are websites. Think about how the Web must operate on the other end, though, to see how innovative software is essential to Web 2.0. When users access information online, they are actually taking a peek at various servers, or large storage computers, all over the world.
Those servers have to do many things. They have to host, or store the websites that people visit. So if a user goes to yahoo.com, he or she is accessing information from Yahoo!’s servers through browser software. On those servers, and other servers that help run the Internet, is software that does the true dirty work of the Internet, and that software is changing.
For example, more than a decade ago, a website would probably post an HTML document as their website and each page had to be created as an individual entity. Today a website can use a database system to create various database files as well as a shell in which to place that information. This means the information can be saved once and placed onto any website by accessing the database. Software improvements will continue to increase the amount of functions available online for both Web companies and users.