Web 2.0 Architectures: What Entrepreneurs and Architects Need to Know

It’s been a long time in coming and it’s a subject that has seen far too little serious treatment, either in traditional media or online.  And that is the overarching design of Web 2.0 applications.  This is a topic that as a practicing enterprise architect, along with many other hats, is near and dear to me and I’ve covered many times over the years here, on ZDNet, and my talks at conferences (see below for videos for some of these). 

So it’s official, our new book Web 2.0 Architectures is now out from O’Reilly as of this month.  You can find it in your local bookstore or online.  Early feedback has been excellent including a stellar early review from JBoss CTO Mark Little.  Amazon UK nearly sold out almost immediately and we’re making it standard issue for the architecture course at Web 2.0 University.

I should be clear from the outset that this book will be most useful for those coming at Web 2.0 from the traditional software and IT side of things.  While anyone trying to create modern Web 2.0 applications will certainly benefit from the thinking and perspectives in the book, it takes an approach that will be very familiar with those in classical software development and enterprise application architecture.  The book includes many key Web 2.0 architectures in design pattern form (in fact, the book was originally entitled Web 2.0 Design Patterns) using a service-based, layered view of software that will be eminently familiar with SOA architects and software engineers.

I’d like to thank my co-authors Duane Nickull and James Governer, who put up with my busy schedule without complaint, as well as the publisher O’Reilly and seemingly tireless editor Steve Weiss, who both stuck with us through many iterations.  Read Duane’s announcement post of the book for additional background.

Building on top of the foundational material in the book, readers will also likely find these writings and video on Web 2.0 Architecture useful in their work, many of which were either inputs to the book or subsequently written and enrich what it has to offer. I’ve handpicked the ones that have been enormously popular over the years with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Essential Readings and Media on Web 2.0 Architectures

It’s been a long time in coming and it’s a subject that has seen far too little serious treatment, either in traditional media or online.  And that is the overarching design of Web 2.0 applications.  This is a topic that as a practicing enterprise architect, along with many other hats, is near and dear to me and I’ve covered many times over the years here, on ZDNet, and my talks at conferences (see below for videos for some of these). 

So it’s official, our new book Web 2.0 Architectures is now out from O’Reilly as of this month.  You can find it in your local bookstore or online.  Early feedback has been excellent including a stellar early review from JBoss CTO Mark Little.  Amazon UK nearly sold out almost immediately and we’re making it standard issue for the architecture course at Web 2.0 University.

I should be clear from the outset that this book will be most useful for those coming at Web 2.0 from the traditional software and IT side of things.  While anyone trying to create modern Web 2.0 applications will certainly benefit from the thinking and perspectives in the book, it takes an approach that will be very familiar with those in classical software development and enterprise application architecture.  The book includes many key Web 2.0 architectures in design pattern form (in fact, the book was originally entitled Web 2.0 Design Patterns) using a service-based, layered view of software that will be eminently familiar with SOA architects and software engineers.

I’d like to thank my co-authors Duane Nickull and James Governer, who put up with my busy schedule without complaint, as well as the publisher O’Reilly and seemingly tireless editor Steve Weiss, who both stuck with us through many iterations.  Read Duane’s announcement post of the book for additional background.

Building on top of the foundational material in the book, readers will also likely find these writings and video on Web 2.0 Architecture useful in their work, many of which were either inputs to the book or subsequently written and enrich what it has to offer. I’ve handpicked the ones that have been enormously popular over the years with hundreds of thousands of readers.

Essential Readings and Media on Web 2.0 Architectures

  • Hacking the Web’s Network Effect.  Every powerful technological approach can be used for both positive or negative results and the argument can be made that pure technology essentially amoral. In particular, network effects are especially potent ways of leveraging the value of networked applications and I explore how they can be used for good or ill.  The appreciation of network effects is something that most software architects are not familiar with still today.
  • Is Web 2.0 The Global SOA? I began to see the marked similarities (and differences) between Web 2.0 and SOA and began to explore this in some detail. This received wide coverage in the blogosphere and eventually evolved to become my regular blog on ZDNet and a cover story in the SOA/Web Services Journal.
  • Tolerance And Experience Continuums. As the first major Web 2.0 applications began to flourish the idea that small pieces, loosely joined would result in better products and innovation in assembly began to be borne out, particularly with mashups and open APIs.  In this piece I take a look at how our heavyweight, complex, and monolithic software design in the traditional world was a solution that was often on the wrong site of the tolerance curve.
  • A Timeless Way of Building Software.  I take a look at how the development of major software systems, particularly networked ones, have had the same essential design concerns, it’s just a matter of emphasis.  This material made it into the book with an homage to Christopher Alexander’s work on patterns.  I lay out the major design concerns of all software and show where SOA and things like Web 2.0 fall on the map.  
  • Open Services That Last And Anyone Can Use.  The early offers of open APIs and lightweight public SOA, which have been instrumental in helping many of the newer Web startups such as Twitter be particulary successful, had an uncertain landscape in which to provide their services, not knowing the best way to expose them.  That’s much clearer now but I took a look at the full range of options.
  • Web 2.0 and SOA: Contrived or Converging.   I delve deeper into the apparent entanglements between Web 2.0 and service-oriented architecture, a subject that became increasingly apparent was a major topic.  This culminated into many vital architectural discussions at every level of the subject, from the bottom, with Web-Oriented Architecture to top with the emerging social layer. 
  • Web-Oriented Architecture (WOA).  This become a more important topic as RESTful architectures began to become more popular and more interesting to the software development community in general. This is my most definitional work, but there were many others including my discussions of WOA and traditional SOA as well as my original research on creating effective REST clients which was published in the Microsoft Architecture Journal.
  • The Co-Evolution of SOA and Web 2.0 and The story of Web 2.0 and SOA continues.  I do my most complete definition in detail of the concrete tie-ins between the models of Web 2.0 and SOA, which have more in common than they do differences.  SOA is essentially the most common approach to building traditional software systems today while Web 2.0 is the leading approach online, the differences are really in emphasis, barring a few true differences.
  • Deconstructing Web 2.0 to the Next Level. Exploring Web 2.0 by describing it with patterns began when I first met Duane Nickull and made the video included in this post the day we became acquainted.  This eventually led to the collaboration that resulted in this book (which was originally called Web 2.0 Design Patterns.)  Be sure to watch the video, it has a good complete discussion of the topic of Web 2.0, patterns, and traditional software development.
  • Architectures of Participation: The Next Big Thing.  This is largely missing as a formal software development discipline and traditional software lacks for this element.  I explore how in the future the best software well have well tuned Architectures of Participation.
  • Next-Generation Web 2.0 Applications. Over the last few years Web 2.0 applications have become more and more sophisticated, but even understanding what a “Web 2.0 Stack” is has been poorly defined.  I unbox it in a layered description including social, distribution, and 3rd party sourcing as explicit tiers in and of themselves.
  • Distribution Models for Modern Web Applications. Being successful on a large, crowded network requires using all the models for reach that are available, from syndication to Web services (open APIs), widgets, and more.  I explore how modern Web applications have evolved highly sophisticated new ways to reach their users, whether they are partners or customers.
  • Cloud Computing And The Return Of the Platform Wars.  We’re seeing the emergence of another new architectural model from the Web and it’s poses challenges for traditional software models again.  Here are some of the opportunities and issues especially as platform lock-in and standards are going to be a major issue.
  • Transforming Software Architecture with Web as Platform.  I gave a keynote at QCon in London earlier this year and I covered many of the major transformations taking place in architecture today and how it’s being driven by the Web including open platforms, productivity-oriented frameworks such as Rails and Grails, non-relational databases, as well as cloud computing and more. Video and slides are included.  You can also read my Top 10 Must-Know Topics for Software Architects in 2009 for additional details.
  • There Goes Everyone: Web 2.0 Expo Europe Keynote.  This is good for understanding the challenges we have before us as architects and business people.  While not technical, it’s a good overview of the urgency we have in changing from older ways of doing things, which aren’t working very well, to new models for using the network for better outcomes in our software, business, culture, and society:

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