Web 0.2 in the Web 2.0 World

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I grew up in the time of web 0.2. Counters, GeoCities, and guestbooks ruled the web world with an iron fist. CSS was the new technology. "Bookmark This Page" had taken over the JavaScript world. And lastly, IE4's interface was beautifying desktop browsers everywhere.

Fast forward more than a decade and it appears that much has changed. AJAX is all the rage, JavaScript frameworks are making web animations a breeze, and mobile devices are providing us with internet access everywhere we go. Don't be fooled though -- all of the features we thought were left behind a decade ago are still all over web now -- simply in a different form.

FeedBurner Count

Web 0.2: Counters; Web 2.0: FeedBurner Subscriber Badge

Counters were the ultimate measure of a website's popularity. I mean, the black and white incrementing string of images doesn't lie, right? It's 2009 and we've now moved on to a counter for syndication "hits" as opposed to website hits. Lets not kid ourselves: the counter is alive and well in 2009. (Please ignore the subscriber count on my site :) )


Web 0.2: Guestbooks; Web 2.0: Blog Comments

Guestbooks were used to flame webmasters 90% of the time. Instead of ugly CGI guestbooks we've opted to flame bloggers in the comment sections of their posts.


Web o.2: Geocities; Web 2.0: MySpace

It's hard for me to knock Geocities (and Angelfire and Tripod) because I created my first website there but lets call it what it was: amateur hour. Even before Geocities implemented a WYSIWYG editor, "webmasters" were committing terrible acts of web terrorism with disgusting HTML markup, dreadful animated GIFs, and uncropped, force-sized pictures. Had I not mentioned Geocities, you would have assumed I was talking about MySpace, right?


Web 0.2: Frames; Web 2.0: DiggBar

Frames were always the chief annoyance of any visitor that came from a search engine. Was the current page supposed to be part of multiple frames? And what happens when you bookmark the framed page? You get the same frame's index page. Horrible. Just recently Digg made frames the new black. The DiggBar re-introduces frames as a "utility" to allow easy voting, commenting, etc. What they've introduced back is the web-onic plague.


Web 0.2: Mailing Lists; Web 2.0: RSS Feeds / Google Alerts

Mailing lists were a good way to get daily updates without having to expend much effort. The only problem with mailing lists was that you'd end up with hundreds of unread emails and you'd eventually stop reading them. I don't know about you but that's the way RSS feeds often become with me. The great thing about RSS feeds, however, is that they don't bloat your email (unless you sign up for email RSS, in which case, you have judgment issues.)


Web 0.2: <blink> and <marquee>; Web 2.0: JavaScript Accordion

The <blink> and <marquee> tags were desperate attempts to create movement on the website to attract the eye's attention. Both tags were ugly but effective. Today we're blessed with a variety of great JavaScript effects, and I'd even assert that the accordion is one of them, but the way the accordion is generally used takes the web world back a dozen years. Embedded accordions and similar effects make navigation a nightmare.

So all this time later we think that our websites have evolved, only to realize that we're back where we started again. At least now all of these features are more bearable...or so we hope...

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  1. Accordions are the worst thing that ever happened to the web.

  2. Entertaining read and so right!

    I think I’m damn lucky enough to have learnt and am still learning the ways of the way in the “2.0” world. I wonder what “3.0” will bring.

  3. Web 0.2 : Website full of animated’n’blinking GIF !

    Web 2.0 : Awful blog’s sidebar, full of flash / js widget !

    For ever, humans will be able to make things ugly …

  4. Darkimmortal

    @Valerio Proietti: +1 – Totally agreed.

  5. Web 0.2 Welcome page! (click to enter)

    Web 2.0 One page portfolios.


  6. Vleizes

    Olé! I agree 100%

  7. Right on. In our shop we call it Web 99! And we still see clients PAYING for web 0.2 work. We will see “old school” become cool at some point I predict. But it will be nostalgic humor only.

  8. web 0.2 = Browsers
    web 2.0 = Desktop apps

  9. Web/forums 0.2 = Sigs

    Web/forums 2.0 = Gravatars, Disqus, FriendFeed, InsertCommentAggregatorHere

  10. haha, what an interesting read… thanks I really enjoyed it taking a stroll down memory lane…

  11. Valerio… TU QUOQUE!

  12. uniqu3

    this is one of the best reads lately and it is so so true.

  13. I’m just really, really hoping that people don’t start using the word web 3.0 all the time in the near future. I don’t think I can take it.

  14. @Drew Douglass: Word! When sales reps start using a term, you know it’s outdated.

  15. Ben

    So spot on!

  16. Web 0.2 Microsoft, Yahoo Web 2.0 Apple, Google

  17. I know! It’s like me typing stuff into this comments box, and yet, 20 years ago, when I didn’t have a computer, as was basically doing the same thing but with a pen and paper! It’s almost like progress is linear or something ;)

  18. as = I (previous comment) :)

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