Semantic web, web 2.0, next generation internet…

Tags: work

In my PhD thesis above terms are used to indicate more or less the same thing. So to clean up the mess, I wrote down what my interpretation of them is. "Next generation internet" is something we (=me, professor, etc) used in a previous project, "semantic web" is the current buzzword, "web 2.0" is a pretty new term which I like.

World wide web
To set a baseline, the world wide web itself is described first. The web itself has three major characteristics. The first is that everything has a URL (http://somewhere/something) and that it can be accessed and addressed as such. The second is that most information is readable. You can understand a webpage's code (html) if you need. A lot of information is not binary. The third is one-directional links: the hyperlinks. You link one-way from one webpage to another. Links might break, but it is the most easy way to link information. When you would need some confirmation or permission from the other end (in a two-way linking system), much fewer links would be made.
Semantic web
The semantic web affirms the basic nature of the web, but augments it with machine-readable, so semantically rich, information. The everyting has a URL is changed to everything is a URL, as URLs are used to identify everything. Everything from persons to building/construction objects. The semantic web files still need to be readable, but the format is RDF or OWL in order to allow computers to make much more sense out of it because of the formalisms involved. The third web characteristic, one-way links, is also deepened. Links point to URLs. As everything can be identified by a URL, links can now point to individual information items.
Next generation internet
The next generation internet takes the internet a few steps further. This is mostly still in its infancy, though it is technologically mostly ready. It has two components. The first one is IPv6, version six of IP, the Internet Protocol. The current version is version four. This protocol offers many enhancements, most notably the enormeous amount of available IP addresses. With the IPv4 address space being almost exhausted, IPv6 allows for 665570793348866943898599 IP addresses per square meter Earth. The second component is the increase capacity, currently concentrated between and restricted to certain research institutes. This speed thingy is also called "Internet2".
Web 2.0
Coined by Tim O'Reilly, who calls it the internet as platform. Meaning that your operating system (windows, mac, linux) isn't the really important thing right now, but the internet is. You "use" google and amazon as much as you "use" windows. A central part, though, is that those web applications can also be accessed programmatically. By accessing the computer-readable information they make available on the internet. This makes web 2.0 almost synonymous with the semantic web, but with much more emphasis on the value created by making information semantically internet-accessible instead of the inherent (theoretical) value. logo

About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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