The Web as a platform: meaning?

Web 2.0 meme map Preparing my latest intervention for the MSTM Master’s degree at Ecole Centrale in Paris, I decided to analyze Tim O’ Reilly’s seminal text
“What Is Web 2.0”.

Today I will address one of the dimensions of Web 2.0 described by O’Reilly: the Web as a platform. What does that really mean?

Considering the computer science meaning of the term, I would retain two definitions of a platform:

  • ” Combination of a type of computer (material, hardware) and a software operating system (software)” allowing applications to function
    (Wordnet)
  • “Infrastructure allowing any software to function” (Whatis)
  • Thus, as an example we will speak about “software running on a Windows platform.” To that effect, Web 2.0 can be seen as a platform, “on which we execute” applications.

    These applications can be of various types:

  • Messaging services: Gmail, Yahoo ! Mail
  • Maps: Google Maps
  • Office automation: Google (encore) Apps, suite Zoho
  • Applications for companies: Zoho CRM
  • etc.
  • The virtual operating systems or WebOS is another interesting example. The idea is to make available a workspace such as that which we find on our personal computer (office) on the Web. For example, we can mention
    Exoplatform or more recently, mybooo.

    The innovation is that the Web becomes a place where we can use real “software” without installing anything on our computer. It is no longer a space for information or communication only.

    And you, how do you interpret the expression “the Web as a platform”?

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