Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability: Less is More

So what does Lightweight Models and Cost-effective Scalability mean? Rather than engaging a large software development team to create a complex product – they engage small teams and release functionality in increments. Instead of a large marketing budget they rely word of mouth and viral marketing. They also choose to outsource and utilise open sourced wherever possible rather than having the resources to build everything in house. Hardware nowsaday can be outsourced by using a hosting provider, providing low cost space while you are small, and access to server farms as the business takes off. All of these principals fit with the best practices for lightweight and scalable development suggested by Tim O’Reilly.

Digg for example launched in December 2004 with $2,000, a single hosted server ($99 monthly), free open source software, and a ‘pay-as-you-go’ outsourced developer ($10 hourly from Elance). By spring of 2006, Digg was serving more than 100 million page views a day, with 90 servers, and a staff size of only 15. Other examples of doing more with less and using viral marketing/advertising are, Google AdSense (advertising solution), Amazon.com, Flickr (photo sharing), YouTube (video sharing), MySpace (social networking), and QOOP (mash-up for photo books and posters).

Craigslist was started by Craig Newmark in early 1995 as an email mailing list of mainly social events of interest to software and Internet developers in the San Francisco area. It soon grew to accommodate user’s needs such as new job listings and other classified advertisements. The Craigslist website began in 1996 and today the site design is still simple without any pictures. It now incorporates international cities with classified sections such as, community, housing, jobs, for sale, personals, discussion forums, services, and gigs.

“Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster told Wall Street analysts that Craigslist has little interest in maximizing profit, instead it prefers to help users find cars, apartments, jobs, and dates.” It is a popular free online classifieds site which uses the ‘lightweight models and cost-effective scalability’ competently.

Therefore the philosophy behind developing for Web 2.0 is “less is more”. Its objectives are simplicity and efficiency. Software start-up companies are requiring minimal funding to design Web applications that do one thing, do it well, and are not top-heavy with ancillary features.

Reference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbqcoTK-_9E&feature=player_embedded
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digg
http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4

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Leveraging the long tail : OurDeal

What does leveraging the Long Tail means? It describes the retailing strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities.The distribution and inventory costs of businesses successfully applying this strategy allow them to realize significant profit out of selling small volumes of hard-to-find items to many customers instead of only selling large volumes of a reduced number of popular items. The total sales of this large number of “non-hit items” is called the Long Tail.Online retailers, in contrast, do not have to worry about saving precious shelf-space as there is no shelf space on the internet!The costs of maintaining a physical store are removed, costs drastically reduce, and this allows online stores to target micro, or niche markets.

The website i am going to introduce is OurDeal. It is an online marketplace to sell vouchers for people who are interested in their offers. Sign up to become a member of OurDeal and receive incredible daily Deals straight to your inbox. Choose the Deal that tickles your fancy, click ‘Buy’ and share the Deal with all your friends on Facebook and Twitter because a Deal is only activated once the minimum number of buyers is reached. Once we hit the magic number your credit card will be charged and your voucher will be emailed to you within 24 hours. All that’s left to do is print out your voucher and enjoy your Deal! This offer deals are only availabe all around Australia and unfortunately not for people living outside of australia.

So what are the advantages of OurDeal? More selection as OurDeal provide ‘mass market’ appeal, offering vouchers to top destinations , nice delicacy, cheap gyms and etc. Lower price as there is less overhead (no storefronts for either store) and also 50-80% discounts off their original price on the vouchers. Algorithmic Data Management – OurDeal is a great example of a site that helps customer find similar products based on their ‘clicks’. If you click on a certain State, it will show you the available vouchers for use on that particular area. So what are you guys waiting for? Get it while stock lasts.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Tail
http://www.ourdeal.com.au/Brisbane#
http://www.wilsonweb.com/seo/enge-leverage-long-tail-search.htm

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Perpetual Beta : Internet Explorer 9

What is Perpetual Beta? And how is it different from a Traditional beta?Perpetual beta is the keeping of software or a system at the beta development stage for an extended or indefinite period of time. It is often used by developers when they continue to release new features that might not be fully tested. As a result, this could be a much more rapid and agile approach to development, staging, and deployment. In the traditional model, you downloaded a binary, and ran the same binary multiple times. On the web, every time we view a page, we are downloading the content again. This opened the door for the perpetual beta model. In the Perpetual Beta model, features are fully tested before being implemented into the web service. If you see a bug, it’s not supposed to be there, and you should report it. A perpetual beta web service is effectively in beta and released at the same time. That’s why it’s perpetual beta. One of the main characteristics of perpetual beta is to engage your users as real-time testers, and instrument the service so that you know how people use the new features.

The software application i am going to introduce is Internet Explorer 9 beta. Internet Explorer 9 beta was released on 2010-09-15. Just before that, IE9 had a couple of platform previews. And on each preview, some of the notable features are added e.g better JavaScript performance,JavaScript engine integrated into the core browser components and a new icon. After the Internet Explorer 9 beta was released, more notable features are added subsequently. E.g Improved performance, InPrivate Filtering renamed to Tracking Protection, a refined UI, support for more web standards, the option to add a new tab row, and other improvements.
The final version of Internet Explorer 9 was publicly released on March 14, 2011 during the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and film festival in Austin, Texas.

People might think why should we use this application. IE9’s HTML5 video support, the new “Chakra” JavaScript engine, support for new-fangled web technologies like CSS3 and SVG2, and its GPU acceleration makes all the neccessary difference. As for the user interface, it has less browser and ugly toolbars. And new features like one box,download manager and pinned sites. As for the performance, IE9 took 8.9 second to open a browser compared to IE8 9.2 sec which has a slight improvement.

Therefore with IE9‘s improved feature set and interface it’s ultimately going to come down to personal preferences as there are other application thats offers better performance in terms of the speed in opening a browser. E.g Goggle Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Explorer_9
http://www.engadget.com/2010/09/15/internet-explorer-9-beta-review/
http://salargolestanian.com/BLOG/Software/tabid/570/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/94/HTML5-is-still-experimental-a-little-like-perpetual-beta-version- of-Chrome.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_beta
http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=5

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Software above the level of a single device: Meebo

With the development of modern technologies, web applications are no longer limited to only one access device, such as desktop PC. Applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected.

One of the application i am going to introduce is Meebo. Meebo is a social platform connecting users with their friends across the web. Like Ebuddy, Meebo is a browser based instant messaging program which supported multiple IM services, including Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, CafeMom and others. Not only can Meebo be used on a desktop, it can also be integrated into Iphones, Blackberry and Android users. No matter where you are, as long as you have installed the software application into one of those mobile devices you can instant message anyone on the go.

One of the advantage of using Meebo is that it allows some people who are behind firewalled networks (networks that block the various instant messaging protocols but have not blocked the meebo.com domain name) to connect to instant messaging services due to the fact the user connects to only port 443 (HTTPS) and the Meebo service itself then connects to the various instant messaging protocols.

Meebo also incorporated “Meebo Rooms”. Users of Meebo can connect to chat rooms or host their own for which multiple friends can join and chat. Meebo Rooms also grants a degree of control to the user with invite and ban authority. Classic Meebo was updated to reflect the release prior to Meebo Rooms to allow users with outdated browsers to continue to use meebo.


In brief, Meebo is pretty popular web application which is associated with web browsers and mobile devices. It works as a kind of media that can link to different types of devices. As a consequence, this independent messaging service well characterizes the pattern of Software above the level of a single device.

References:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV965SZNcrY&feature=related
http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/11/software-above-the-level-of-a.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meebo

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Rich user experiences: Gmail

What does richer user experiences mean? “Richer” in this context has two distinct meanings. The first one means a better-designed, more intuitive, and more user-friendly graphical user interface. The other means a cleaner interface, one that is not excessively crowded with options and links.

A number of the technologies in Web 2.0 aim to make the user interface more like that of a rich client. One is called AJAX, for Asynchronous Javascript And XML.It is a technology that allows dynamic replacement and updating of parts of a web page without requiring a full page refresh from the server.Ajax has same similarities as Flash, but it does not require a browser plug-in. AJAX technologies have been said to make web faster, more interactive, and more user-friendly.Ajax enables more interactive user actions, such as the drag-and-drop of user interface elements. An interesting AJAX Web 2.0 example is Gmail. Gmail user experience dynamically learns from customer behaviour, anticipates needs, remembers preferences, and adapts as appropriate.E.g Gmail automatically suggests email addresses based on a user’s email history.Chating with friends through Gmail, the chat history could be saved in Gmail. These personalization features are achieving through AJAX technology, therefore what is the more in the future?

The main advantages of AJAX include e.g. short page download times, smooth and interactive user interfaces which increase user satisfaction, a user interface that is always on view, transparent data transfer e.g. in the form of showing download progress, new kinds of interaction methods, and convenience-increasing functions such as predictive text input in text fields.
But there is one drawback. Pages dynamically created using successive AJAX requests do not automatically register themselves with the browser’s history engine, so clicking the browser’s “back” button may not return the browser to an earlier state of the Ajax-enabled page, but may instead return to the last full page visited before it.
Therefore Rich user interface features seem to improve the user experience by making the operations easier and faster to perform as shown above.

References
http://lib.tkk.fi/Dipl/2009/urn100111.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajax_(programming)
http://rallenhome.com/essays/essay4.html#_Toc122233559

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Innovation is assembly: Flickr the next big time

When the modern technologies keep developing, we can see a new league of fostered growth and advancement in connectedness. Now we can fulfil both business and consumer needs like never before – largely thanks to open Internet protocols and APIs (Application Programming Interface).An application programming interface (API) is a particular set of rules and specifications that a software program can follow to access and make use of the services and resources provided by another particular software program that implements that API. It serves as an interface between different software programs and facilitates their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers. And the Web2.0 application im going to introduce is Flickr.

Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website, web services suite, and online community created by Ludicorp and later acquired by Yahoo!. This service is used by bloggers to post images that they embed in blogs and social media. Flickr is an excellent example of next gen web services due to its one major focus (imagery), exposure of core functionality with a fully documented API, a clean and intuitive UI with easy sign up, no spam and fabulous community guidance.Flickr has increasingly been adopted by many web users as their primary photo storage site, especially members of the blogging community.Flickr provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private. Private images are visible by default only to the uploader, but they can also be marked as viewable by friends and/or family.

There are two goals for API exposure. The first is to attract developers, who are considered a special type of user, and hope that these developers not only start using the product, but they start advertising it on their blogs and via word of mouth. The purpose here is to attract more users of all types, and to help bring about the beneficial network effects as discussed above. The second goal for exposing an API to the public is to stimulate creation of additional applications using the data and API provided by the organization. If any of these applications are successful, the APIs and by default the underlying technology will be more successful as a direct result.

API fosters third party innovation. E.g this includes a large number of third-party Greasemonkey scripts which enhance and extend the functionality of the Flickr site.Flickr has also entered into partnerships with third parties to offer printing of various forms of merchandise, including business cards, photo books, stationery, personalized credit cards, and large-size prints, from companies The fruits of developers using Flickr’s API are showcased within the App Garden, where developers exhibit an endless variety of creative applications using a variety of feeds – public images, videos, favourites, friends, groups, profiles, and more.Some of the examples are 1)Flickr Uploadr which you can easy drag or drop from iphone to upload pictures in batches. 2)Desktop Flickr Organizer (DFO) which allows you to edit descriptions, tags and titles, upload/ download/ delete in bunches or singular images.
3)Flump which is a simple desktop to download all public images of a specific Flickr account.

It is clear that Web 2.0 applications support web development by providing API services. It allows the combination of multiple services into new applications. As a result, API services could drive innovation from third party developers to contribute in web applications.

References:
http://www.digilee.net/?p=197
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Application_programming_interface
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flickr
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greasemonkey
http://rallenhome.com/essays/essay4.html#_Toc122233559

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Data is the next “intel inside”: OkTrends

Everyday there have been a huge amount of data being uploaded, downloaded or transferred around the web. Data is become one of the most valuable resources for most of the businesses around the world (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Facebook) and etc. As a result I believe that data is the most important aspect of any Web 2.0 website as every significant internet application to date has been backed by a specialised database.

One of the website which i am going to introduce is a match-making website. It is the web oldest and largest online dating website to dated. So what make this online dating website so different from other online dating website? It is due to the low-cost, social-media-savvy, statistically driven approach to dating that gives a slight cutting edge over other online dating website. To dated, OkCupid has attracted over 7 millions users! Unlike most dating sites, OkCupid lets users set up profiles and contact other members without having to pay fees. (A $10-per-month “A List” version lets members cruise ad-free profiles and access additional features.) Members can set up their own blogs, take quizzes, and compose questions for other users to answer.The company’s popular blog, OkTrends, mines site data for trends and offers tongue-in-cheek relationship advice.

As i have said, OkCupid is extremely data-driven. The website is based on users’s data.The site’s OkTrends blog employs sophisticated statistical analysis to prove or justify the accuracy of the different question or quizzes being posed by the members itself.After I have reviewed the website I found out that it’s a promising site with alot of members inside and also the site will match up members for compatibility.Therefore data is an extremely important thing for many companies and websites. With data, we can gain knowledge from the analysis of data to have a better picture of certain things.

References

http://www.pcworld.com/article/219480/is_okcupids_dating_data_safe_with_matchcom.html
http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=3

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