Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Torben Andersen, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: Java, Web 2.0

Java: Book Excerpt

Web 2.0 and Social Networking

Guidelines for creating and then implementing a strategy for Web 2.0 and Social Networking integration - Part 1

Web 2.0 and Social Networking - what do those two technologies have in common? When looking at them independently, and from a purely technical point of view, you might think they don't have a lot in common. However, merge the concepts of two of the hottest technical advances to come around in a while and you have the power to change the world. Not all at once, as change happens over time, but they do provide a framework and the opportunities for major change, which is a first step and much of what we discuss here.

My hope is that you can use this excerpt as a reference that provides some concrete guidelines for creating and then implementing a strategy for Web 2.0 and Social Networking integration within your group or organization.

Much of the focus in the Web 2.0 and Social Networking space has been toward customer interaction; that is, how to draw in or collaborate better with customers through blogs, forums, or Facebook and MySpace pages; how to increase brand or product awareness or drive sales with viral marketing campaigns; or how to increase customer satisfaction using AJAX so that pages are updated almost automatically. We'll look at these ideas and more. However, we also turn our focus inward to the enterprise to see how we can use new strategies and technologies to increase productivity, collaboration, knowledge management, and creativity of our employees and partners.

Web 2.0
By now, many people understand the use of the term Web 2.0, but it still requires some explanation in our context. For our purposes, we might define Web 2.0 as a set of enabling technologies that enable us to reach and provide services to end users in exciting new ways. The reality is that much of the hype around Web 2.0 already existed on the Web well before the term became popular with the media and within the industry, but the concept is helping to drive new innovation in the use of this technology toward better user interaction. At the core of these new technologies is the use of Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) to provide a richer user experience to end users.

The term Web 2.0 was coined by Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., and the term became better known across the industry after the O'Reilly Media Web 2.0 conference in 2004. The idea of Web 2.0 definitely has some technical aspects, with the implementation and innovation of new technologies and standards within the web platform. However, much of the focus of Web 2.0 is on new business models. Whereas the focus of Web 1.0 was on delivering products, Web 2.0 had created a paradigm shift to delivering services that can be used and combined with other services in new ways. Another key aspect is the growth of interactivity with end users in new ways, enabling users to drive what is important or of the most value.

Figure 1 illustrates the concept of Web 1.0, where there is a strict producer/consumer approach to delivering web content. The webmaster or content creators build and maintain the website for consumption by end users. The relationship is strictly unidirectional in this model, fixed and targeted based on assumptions made by the webmaster and content team.

Figure 1: Web 1.0 paradigm

In contrast to this approach, in the Web 2.0 model, users actively participate and contribute to a website. This bidirectional approach enables users to interact with the site and each other in ways that provide for and foster a collective community. Users can create, edit, rate, and tag content at will, which provides other users with new information and guides the relevance of what is important to the overall community.

In addition to providing the underlying ability for communities to build momentum, obtain critical mass, and contribute to ongoing collaboration, services can be provided in the form of application programming interfaces (APIs), Representational State Transfer (REST) services, or Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, which enable end users to merge and view data in ways that haven't even been imagined (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Web 2.0 paradigm

Web 2.0 is not only about providing data in new ways, it is also about improving the user interface and enabling end users to view data quicker and in more dynamic ways through richer user interfaces using AJAX and other technologies.

Rich User Experience Within the Browser
Although not always the case, the goal is to take advantage of the browser as the universal client and provide a richer interactive experience to the end user. Two core technologies that help provide this experience are AJAX and REST. There are lots of other frameworks technologies in this category that can also provide a browser-based rich user experience, such as Adobe Flex and Macromedia Flash. In addition, there are non-browser-based approaches, such as using an Eclipse framework-based approach such as Lotus Expeditor.

AJAX has again brought JavaScript into vogue by providing a new approach to the language. Now you can leverage JavaScript using eXtensible Markup Language (XML), Representational State Transfer (REST), JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), and other technologies. The term AJAX is relatively new; although if you work with web technologies, you have undoubtedly heard of the term, but the underlying technologies have been around almost as long as the Web itself.

The key in AJAX is the term asynchronous, which enables the browser to provide services and features in simple but exciting ways. AJAX provides a new paradigm for interacting with the browser. Essentially, the browser can be updated in an asynchronous manner, which means that there need be no more full-page refreshes that are so common with the Web. Take, for example, a simple stock ticker or some fluid piece of data. With the pre-Web 2.0 approach, the entire screen needs to be refreshed to update a potentially small piece of data. With AJAX and Web 2.0, that small piece of data can be retrieved behind the scenes at regular intervals and updated while users focus elsewhere on the page (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: AJAX interaction model

The purpose of all of this is to provide much more dynamic web pages that not only respond quicker to user action, but that actually assist the user in working with the web page. Simple AJAX patterns include the following:

  • Type Assist: This enables a user to type into a text box while the system tries to figure out what word or phrase the user is looking for. As the user types, the text box continues to change with different values that can assist the user in getting the right value.
  • Form Assist: Another scenario is the concept of updating a list of options based on an earlier choice. Consider, for example, a user trying to fill out a form on the screen. Choosing one option from a list or drop-down box might trigger different options to appear, change, or prefill with additional values based on that choice.
  • Page Fragment Updates: Again, as in the stock ticker example, data can be retrieved behind the scenes and update small fragments of a page without requiring a full refresh of the page.
  • Sliding Palettes: This pattern is where a window appears or slides out on top of the page. This allows the user to choose from a picklist or set of displayed options.

More advanced examples of using AJAX are more obvious, where large sections of the page are updated based on options chosen. One example is a customer service type of application where the user can look up customer and order detail information in a single interface. A detailed example of this is in Chapter 3, "Ajax, Portlets, and Patterns." It has been said that the use of AJAX is nontrivial, which means that although it is simple to add basic examples to your web pages, more advanced works require advanced skills and additional design work to obtain good results. The results of this effort can be impressive as web pages become truly interactive for the end users.

AJAX and the Dojo Toolkit
The Dojo Toolkit is a JavaScript-based collection of libraries (hence the name toolkit) that enable you to build AJAX capabilities into your web pages. The Dojo Toolkit is more than just AJAX, but that is our primary focus here. In reality, Dojo is a DHTML toolkit. Because Dojo is open source, it is free to use in your projects, and many large organizations contribute to Dojo itself.

JavaScript, DHTML, and AJAX are complicated. Dojo encapsulates complex JavaScript capability with predefined components and APIs. Of course, Dojo has a learning curve; however, the gains obtained by focusing at a higher level of abstraction can be enormous. In addition, while some optimization can be obtained, using Dojo libraries implies heavier pages in the form of JavaScript libraries that need to be transmitted to the user's browser to enable all the cool functionality that you will build. It is worth the tradeoff, but I don't want you to think that you get something for free.

Several AJAX libraries are available on the market today. Many of them are open source. IBM has opted to support Dojo by contributing to the community and building Dojo into WebSphere Portal 6.1.

More Stories By Joey Bernal

Anthony (Joey) Bernal is a Senior Consulting IT Specialist with IBM Software Services for Lotus. Working with IBM WebSphere Portal since its initial release, he has worked with dozens of customers helping them be successful with their portal projects. In addition to writing articles and books, he is a frequent speaker on portal topics. Joey is also a co-author of Programming Portlets, and the author of the WebSphere Portal in Action blog.

Armed with a BS in computer science from the University of Montana, Joey started out working primarily with Microsoft technologies, programming with Visual Basic, FoxPro and later Active Server Pages, and Microsoft Site Server. Prior to joining IBM, he was the IT Director for a performance improvement and incentive company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Comments (0)

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.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...