The biggest developments in recent times in information technology—both on the software front and in Internet development— have been with the emergence of Web 2.0. Widely used today, Web 2.0 broadly refers to a second generation of Web-related architecture, application development and services that are available on the World Wide Web, beyond just email, browsing and chatting. A progressive maturation of sorts, it has let people graduate easily and imperceptibly towards collaborative computing and information sharing.
Web 2.0 gives Internet users a richer and more interactive computing experience that is becoming akin to software applications, rather than merely providing simplistic and static Web pages of the first era.
This New Age ‘webware’ has led to a burgeoning of Web services, Web syndication, blogs and wikis—so much so that there is something new being born out there almost every hour.
And where is all this leading us? Apart from collaborative computing, it is moving the world towards online productivity tools, mass publishing, information sharing, global interaction, and easier social networking. You are already familiar with Web 2.0 in the form of Gmail, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, Google Spreadsheets and YouTube.
We take a look at some excellent, but lesser known, sites of the brave new Web.
Remember the nursery rhyme ‘Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock?’ Well, if you need to record and report time and expenses, or even collect and approve your team’s time reporting, this is where you should head to do it all online.
It really makes keeping tabs of your work via a time sheet seem passé in comparison. This time-tracking site is a good reporting platform which organizations that require human capital reporting can put to good use. You’ll find this system useful even if you’re used to sending time spreadsheets and expense logs over email.
This is where you should go if you want to create a personal, tailor-made, dynamic Web portal. It can aggregate, view, search and share content culled from thousands of premium news feeds, blogs and Web content according to your interests. It works as a personalized single-point-of-access and you only get to see and read about your topics of interest.
So, if you don’t want your pages to have anything to do with health, entertainment, lifestyle and sports, so be it. 24eyes delivers everything to you free—you don’t even need to register or sign up even though your preferences are saved automatically.
If you’ve never heard of Microsoft Visio or never used it for your flow charts, floor plans, network diagrams, landscape designs, process flow diagrams, technical drawings or just about any type of drafting and visual planning needs, use this Web-based tool for all these. Better still, Gliffy allows you to sketch out your ideas and then share and publish them, or collaborate and build on them with your colleagues, organizations or even family. Gliffy is equipped with shape libraries, colours, drop shadows, gradient fills etc., to enhance your drawings. See if the free Basic version meets your needs, else move to the paid Premium version to get the most out of this ‘webware’.
You’ve just browsed a Web page that you want to share with your friend, peers, colleagues or boss, along with comments on certain specific portions of the page. What do you do? Simply use Fleck to add Post-it-like notes to the page, click on its Share function, get a URL for the annotated page, and beam it across to everybody. The receivers, can then, make their comments by adding more sticky notes or even edit your notations, and mail it further, or mail it back. Adding information to any Web page can thus be made public or private. Other annotation services include: www.diigo.com and www.stickis.com.
If you are wondering how creative minds work, dart across to Mouse Brains for some inspiration. This site helps the advertising community kick-off similar, seemingly weird creative thoughts and ideas and shows you how to develop on them.
It is not a generator of finished ideas, but a brainstorming site for ad creatives—or a “thought starter” for open-minded individuals. And yes, it goes beyond what you are assuming it to be—mere lateral thinking, classic random word and word association brainstorming techniques.
An online collaborative project- and task-management website that helps people keep their projects and elaborate assignments on track. You can make to-do lists, keep track of what needs to get done and who is responsible, share files internally with co-workers or with clients, mind your timeline, envisage bottlenecks, find out who spent how much time on what task, pre-schedule deliveries and schedule milestones, as well as monitor when things are due and who is responsible.
A tried, tested and easy-to-use Web application that can be up and running without much ado.
MetaGlossary is an admirable, comprehensive, and well-organized dynamic dictionary search engine for terms, phrases, acronyms, technical jargon and slang references—in fact, more than two million of them. With clean-cuts and uncomplicated interface, this repository of information is constantly being updated on contemporary topics. Therefore, it has the ability to dig out and throw up topical definitions of words and idioms from across the Net. You can also build your own word lists and track your usage history. Now, go look up Web 2.0 out there.
Create a new WebBrush board or load existing charts, diagrams, schemes and sketches. Enter your name and password. Invite partners, colleagues, friends. And then discuss, recreate, draw and redraw... basically collaborate on your drawings, ideas, projects, plans and tasks from wherever. You can use the chat panel for your discussions, the online instrument panel for drawing, the text tools for typing as well as icons and ‘talking’ pictures for illustrating your ideas in this collaborative drawing, charting tool.