Someone once said that thereâ€™s nothing really new to the concept of â€žWeb2.0â€œ, that it is really just a marketing ploy designed to actually make those people (in German) get what itâ€™s all about. Someone else said that it all could have been done just as well with a cgi and some Perl back in 1995. And thatâ€™s probably true in some sense. But just as my claim to a successful voice over IP telephone call using a 14.4kpbs modem in early 1995, it is also entirely misleading.
If youâ€™ve not been on holiday for the last week, youâ€™ve probably spent as much time on the web as you did in a whole month in 1995 â€“ or more. In 1995, when Sandra Bullock ordered a pizza over the web in â€žThe Netâ€œ, I had a good laugh thinking â€šwhy would anyone ever want to do that?â€™ Now, while the pizza is probably still best ordered with a traditional phonecall, the web has improved in a lot. Ten years ago, there was still scaffolding everywhere. Now, even if youâ€™re not playing “Second Life“, it has become a not too uncomfortable place to hang out, read, write, watch crazy stuff, or chat with people.
Just as the social invention of the telephone followed its technological invention and, in many ways, surprised those who had to evaluate its potential value before, the web will keep surprising us. And occasionally, we will try to classify phases and identify them with numbers. So websites with increased interactivity and partly user created content â€“ thatâ€™s web 2.0.
So what is 2.0 about afoe now?
Well, being a blog, A Fistful of Euros is evidently inherently â€žweb 2.0â€œ. So as of today (even though not all parts of the page are completely finished), we are boldly going beyond the 2, reaching for the 3, not just to reflect the third design, however much you will hopefully appreciate it, but also to denote the increased functionality of the site.
While hovering over the â€žmoreâ€œ button in the main navigation menu will give you a pop up menu of blogs in the potentially still growing afoe family, including our upcoming podcast â€žradio afoeâ€œ, clicking on the button will take you to a summary page displaying the latest entries for each of the blogs.
The most important addition to the site is the result of an idea that we discussed during the first afoe meet-up in Stockholm, about a year ago. Talking about Edwardâ€™s â€žliving in Europeâ€œ-experiences, and how the web site was far too ahead of its time in early 2004, we developed the idea of our own web based aggregator.
What weâ€™ve called â€ž@foeâ€œ is a web based aggregator of some of the European news and opinion sources which we deem most useful. Conceptually it is a combination of an aggregator site like popurls.com, a site that displays a significant number of feed items on a single web page, and a collective filtering mechanism like the one employed by sites like Digg.com. There will be additional feeds and categories in the near future. Itâ€™s extremely intuitive to use â€“ hover over a feed title, and an excerpt of the item will be displayed, click on the [+] next to it, and your vote for the item will be counted instantly. Click on the item and youâ€™ll be taken to the blogâ€™s or news sourceâ€™s web site. Technically, it’s based on a heavily customized mix of the Spanish and English open source content management systems menÃ©me and pligg.
Our blogroll, chiefly compiled by David, has always been a great way to explore the European blogosphere. Now weâ€™ve hopefully made that experience even more agreeable. Of course, the value of the collective filtering mechanism very much depends on the collective using it â€“ the more votes, the better.
What youâ€™ll find when you click on â€žprojectsâ€œ is currently limited to the final results of the first two installments of the afoe European Weblog Awards â€“ the Satin Pajama. But this is where all future afoe projects will have their home on the web. Under â€žaboutâ€œ youâ€™ll not just find partly updated author biographies and pictures, but also a form to quickly contact us by email.
But the navigational improvements do not stop there. It is easier than ever to delve into the afoe pool of wisdom, largely thanks to a recently published new search script and the introduction of native â€žtaggingâ€œ in Movable Type. On individual article pages, there are additional options allowing to print or email the article, to subscribe to comments by email or RSS, and to socialize by telling the world about the article with a single click on an icon representing your social bookmarking service of choice.
Last, but not least, a couple of words about the design itself. As many other websites, we have chosen a wider design, reflecting the increasing screen resolution of most PCs. Still, even those with smaller screens should not be too concerned, as the main contant is on the left of the page. Typographically, the page is best displayed with the Windows Vista Core Font, â€žSegoe UIâ€œ installed.
The site has been cross browser tested, but I am sure there will be some remaining issues, particularly on older browsers. Due to the use of transparent .png files for the banner effects, the slideshow will not work and the display will be less than optimal in browsers below Internet Explorer 5.5.
If you find any issues, please let me know â€“ and now, I hope youâ€™ll enjoy afoe 3.0a.