The Internet has become the fastest growing medium and the most famous distribution system. According to NUV (2004), there were 605.6 million Internet users worldwide in the September 2002, having increased from 30.6 million users in 1995 (Flew, 2005). In 2010, there are 205,368,103 sites on the Internet and 940 millions Social Network users worldwide (Ries, 2010). Today, the web service is growing at the phenomenal speed on the Internet. There are many major Web 2.0 companies such as Amazon, Youtube, eBay, Flickr, del.icio.us and Google, which are providing their own web Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to encourage use of their web services and data in the development of mashups, plugins, widgets and gadgets to use as the tools on any website. Web APIs offered by the Google, eBay, or Amazon make once mundane and expensive business processes cheap (Malik, 2007).
Tim O’Reilly, who is credited with coining the term Web 2.0 and “Lightweight Programming Models” has a big concept from his one of seven principles inherent with Web 2.0. Architect Michael Platt of Microsoft explains it this way, “With Web 2.0 techniques, users can easily create applications specific to their own needs (Johnson, 2008). In other words, in Web 2.0 programming, applications are built with lightweight programming models and standards-based services, so users can easily use the Web APIs to build their own application in minutes. Therefore, lightweight programming made Web 2.0 much easier and simpler to use than Web 1.0.
O’Reilly in his article “What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software“, stated that “Lightweight business models are a natural concomitant of lightweight programming and lightweight connections. The Web 2.0 mindset is good at re-use” (O’Reilly, 2005). In other words, as Web 2.0 technology is increasingly embraced by businesses (IBM, 2010), the Web 2.0 applications are using the lightweight programming model to create Web 2.0-style mashup. Mashup is a web page or application that uses or combines data or functionality from two or many more external sources to create a new service (Wikipedia, 2010).
There are some technical characterics of Web 2.0 application with lightweight programming models
- Dynamic scripting languages like Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby
- Open source environments, for examples, Representational State Transfer (REST), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Extensible Markup Language (XML)
There are some lessons of lightweight programming models
- Simplicity and organic web-based
- Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems – Easy to make changes with less risk. Small pieces of applications/plugins are also less specialized, more reusable, shareable, and hackable.
- Open source software – reuse easy and more cost-effective
- Think sybdication, not coordination – RSS feed or REST-based web services
- Design for hackability and remixability – an important goal for web services
This week i am going to look into a Web 2.0 application that is characterized by “Lightweight Programming Models and Cost-effective Scalability”. One of the best examples for an application is MailChimp (see Figure 1.0).
MailChimp is a leading do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) online email marketing service. It is a product of a web development company called The Rocket Science Group. MailChimp is a Top-Rated social media tool (see Video 2.0). It is also a distributed application which provides easy-to-use web based tools to over 300,000 users worldwide, from a single user to Fortune 500 corporation. It offers free marketing service which allows its customers to design professional HTML emails, send emails with confidence, manage email list and track their own marketing campaigns in minutes with its simple tools. MailChimp delivers more than 200 millions emails per month from over 70 countries and in 26 languages, including Cyrillic, Mandarin and Japanese (MailChimp, 2010). It has flexible plans for every budget as well as the forever free plan. It offers user-friendly web services interfaces and content syndication as well as re-using the data services of others.
Video clip shows the Overview of MailChimp
Video 1.0 – MailChimp Overview
Video clip demonstrates how MailChimp integrates with social media and becomes a social butterfly
Video 2.0 – Social Media Tool
MailChimp is built around an open programming language that makes it easy to sync with outside applications and databases, and supports the most common programs and applications available (MailChimp, 2010). In other words, it built its business around a very scalable product. MailChimp is using web 2.0 technology, RSS to develop the tool, called RSS-to-Email tool. This tool enable its users to automatically send a newsletter whenever they update their blog (or any RSS feed). It also offer two web services which are MailChimp API and MailChimp Plugins to MailChimp users. It has used MailChimp API as its lightweight programming business model which provides a high-level of integration between these applications and creates a more seamless experience for its customers (The Small Business Web, 2010). In December 2009, MailChimp had more than 19,000 MailChimp API users. In May 2010, it has over 27,000 people who access MailChimp’s email-marketing platform via third-party integrations (MailChimp, 2010).
Two web services:
- MailChimp API is a way for people to “sync” your customer database, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management System (CMS), or e-commerce shopping cart with MailChimp (MailChimp, 2010). There is a version of the MailChimp API for PHP, .Net, Ruby, and XML. It is open and free, which encourages the third party developers to link their applications to MailChimp. Therefore, MailChimp API can be integrated with other applications like Drupal, WordPress (see Video 3.0), Zen Cart, and more. It is even compatible with Google’s Open Social platform, and allows people to interface MailChimp with MySpace, Ning, and other social networks (MailChimp, 2010). These will enable users to extend MailChimp functionality and make it cheap, and reusable and remix and share with others.
- MailChimp plugin is allowing MailChimp users to connect MailChimp to their own favorite web applications such as CMS, blog, e-commerce shopping cart, and more. It is created by some crafty MailChimp users using MailChimp APIs.
Video clip demonstrates how MailChimp integrates with WordPress
Video 3.0 – MailChimp and WordPress
In conclusion, the development of technology on the Internet affects people and ways of business greatly. MailChimp is a great example of Web 2.0 application with lightweight Models and cost-effective scalability, as well as innovation in assembly. It also opens its APIs to increase the spread of its web service (email marketing) and to encourage the third party developers (co-developers) to be part of the development team. In the future, the Internet will have more Web applications and the Web probably will offer more and more free and open web services.
T. Flew. 2005. “The Internet”, in New Media. An Introduction (2nd Ed). Melbourne: OUP.
April 2010 Web Server Survey. Netcraft Ltd. 2010.
O. Malik. 2007. Small is The New Big.
Web 2.0 Technology for Business. IBM. 2010.
T. Ries. 2010. 940 Million Social Network Users Worldwide.
The Small Business. The Small Business Web. 2010.