Perpetual Beta

Do you still remember the era that we had to install and update every software program frequently? Do you miss that era or never wants to go back to that time ever again? In Web 1.0 era, users forced to install and update software every time when an application is upgrade with new functionalities. Compare with Web 1.0 era, Web 2.0 era claims “Perpetual Beta: Software has become a service- always on, always improving.”  Perpetual beta is a concept that it is impossible that a product is ever perfect and one designs it with constant updating and improvement in mind. It has associated with some fundamental futures including

  • Constant improvement through feedback
  • Increased openness and documentation throughout the production process
  • A collapse of the barriers between producers and users
  • Better, multi-directional communication amongst the producers/users

One of the patterns, which O’Reilly mentioned to describe what Web 2.0 is, is End of the software release cycle. End of the software release cycle means to break through the traditional mode of software packages, and emphasise to offer an environment for users to interact with each other among web 2.0. It also emphasises that perpetual beta implies continual evolution and constant change.

Web 2.0 doesn’t only offer applications each with specific functionalities, but has also become a gaming platform. A strong example will be Facebook where a large population of users play all sorts of different games on this social network. Some popular titles include CityVille, Texas HoldEm Poker, Hidden Chronicles, FarmVile, CastleVille and etc. I bet nearly every Facebook user has played games on Facebook once. The thing that caught my mind is that the traditional gaming industry procedure requires the users to install the program onto their workstations to access the game. However, the games on Facebook do not require the user to install or update anything and all it takes to play is one click and few minutes of loading time. It is well known that game makers always update constantly and often by users’ feedback in order to satisfy the needs of game players. And then Facebook’s games have open up a new target audience for the gaming industry which are the internet users whom weren’t heavy gamers in the past. This is because gaming is very simple and easy when playing on a web 2.0 platforms where no complicated procedures are required. These games are often small application with simple ideas.

 References

Matthews. S. (2011). Perpetual Beta – The Real 21st Century Library Model?
O’Reilly (2012). What is Web 2.0?
Thompson. M. (2012). Top 25 Facebook games of April 2012
DrWeb-Love. (2011). Perpetual beta as an archaeological attitude

Software above the level of a single device

The technology of mobile device has changed day by day. These technologies transform the abilities of mobile devices from providing simple services, for example, calling and sending message, into supporting users to surf across the Internet. Nowadays, using the Internet through mobile devices becomes a pervasive phenomenon with the releasing of HTML 5 that have created a new era for internet and website browsing.  There is no doubt that these technologies make it easier and simple for us to access the Internet wherever we are. Furthermore, more technologies besides mobile devices are adapting to the new era and implemented abilities to support online function including media player, gaming console, tablet PC, personal digital assistant and even home appliances. But it is not just the internet which is enlarging itself by going to multiple platforms, even the software are working on multiple devices.

“Keynote”, “Page” and “Number” are three applications created by Apple to work with files of Microsoft Office on iPhone, iPad etc. and are the perfect examples of how the technologies of mobile devices have improved our daily work procedure. A sample scenario would be you are on a bus to University where you are going to give a lecture. Midway you find out your assistant has made a big mistake while publishing your lecture slides. The old procedure to do the fixing is to call your assistant to make the correction. But this time she’s not picking up and you don’t know who else you can depend on.  Suddenly, an idea came up just before your thought everything is over. You grab out your iPhone you open and correct the lecture slide using keynote. All this is done in just less than 1 minute. This is what technology has evolved into. A network that is so big, that you can go onto it at anytime anywhere with just your mobile device. Personally, I love using iPad to do my assignments when I’m out at University or anywhere else. Although, there are still a few bugs with the syncing of Microsoft Office and Apple’s Page and Keynote, I think they still do want I needed, to edit my assignment.  I reckon improvements will definitely be made to this technology and everything else on mobile devices, since it is expanding so quickly into the society.

Reference

O’Reilly, T. (2012). What is Web 2.0?

O’Reilly, T. (2007). Software above the level of a single device

 

Rich user experiences

Have you ever noticed that there are always more website users who only read information than website users who leave messages or comments? In the Web 2.0 application era, the key point of competitive advantage depends on how much website allows the users to contribute more information. This week, I am going to talk about the Web 2.0 pattern, “rich user experiences”.

The meaning of rich user experience is to make web applications are more pervasive, dynamic and interactive. Unlike traditional web applications which consisted of many boundaries to control the system, for example, button, check boxes, drop box or form fields, rich user experience provides a better extensive controls that increase better interactions and user-friendly with website interface. AJAX is one of the key technologies which facilitate this type of experience.  AJAX is a collection of technologies that creates a rich user experience by integrating different technologies together. In other words, AJAX combines common standards out of many applications such as CSS, XML, and XHTML and bring them all together into a final content by using JavaScript. Maybe you are wondering that AJAX has similar functionalities to Flash. The biggest difference between AJAX and Flash is that AJAX doesn’t need a browser plug-in.

A good example which can clear show the pattern, “rich user experience”, is “realestate.com.au”. The purpose of this website is to provide users with functions to search for information about available house for sale or rent with an easy-to use-interface. “Realestate.com.au” offers a wide range features that assist users to find information which they require quickly through some simple procedures. For instance, users can select a state from an interactive Australian map that the website provides to first narrow down the scope and then enter more details to specify their search. It also allowed users interact directly with the page elements with quick response, for example, when users edit an

element of their search, only part of page is updated, instead of the entire page. Furthermore, the website also provides a map function using Google map API to allow the users to see where the property is and what is around it.

 

 

References

http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=5

http://www.tstiles.com/dms/web20/richuser.html

http://okcancel.com/archives/article/2005/09/why-ajax-matters-now.html

http://lib.tkk.fi/Dipl/2009/urn100111.pdf

http://www.realestate.com.au/rent