The earliest static websites were composed of text, images, and links, with very little interactivity beyond browsing from one page to another. These websites are called static, which means lacking in movement because they do not change based on user behavior. As internet connection speeds and web technologies progressed, more complex interactions became possible on the web.
A collection of advances in the early 2000s created a cluster of web applications that are often called “Web 2.0”. In comparison to early static websites, Web 2.0 applications are often defined by:
- Providing a dynamic user experience by offering content that responds to user input without forcing the page to reload. In the early web, user input would typically take the user to a new page — and they would have to wait for the new page to load. In Web 2.0, websites could just update selected regions of the page, avoiding the interruption caused by reloading.
- Emphasizing user-generated content and social sharing. In the early web, content was generally authored by a single source. The rise of blogging, social media, and wikis in web 2.0 meant that users could generate content and share it with their friends.
There were important technical advances that enabled each of these advances in the user interface of the internet. For example:
- The rise of web frameworks that connected to databases, like Spring, Django, and Ruby-on-Rails, enabled user-generated content to effectively be created, stored, and displayed.
What are the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 pages? The answers are in these screenshots.
On the left, the Web 1.0 page is static: it does not respond to user behavior and the content is the same for all users.
On the right, the Web 2.0 page is:
- Interactive — you can Like and Comment on the page
- Dynamic — the time since posting (currently “12 hrs”) updates without reloading the whole page
- Allows social interaction — a lot of friends liked this image!
Move to the next exercise when you’re ready to continue.