Web2 vs Web3 Apps: What Does It Change for Software Development?

March 31, 2023 • 484 Views • 14 min read

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Tetiana Stoyko

CTO & Co-Founder

Innovational technologies were called like this for a reason. The IT industry generates revolutionary ideas, concepts, and other solutions daily. Yet, due to the plurality of such rebellious concepts, not even all software engineers are aware of these solutions at the moment they appear, not even mentioning the regular software users, who are using only ready-to-use software products, or those, which are close to this stage.

Probably the best example of such barely noticed technological revolutions are web-based applications. We bet most users haven’t noticed that nowadays, most websites are referred to as web apps instead of web pages. The reason for it is simple: modern websites are much more complicated and require as much skills and development experience for full-fledged development as regular applications.

To rephrase it, internet-based and World Wide Web applications are one of the oldest and most suited illustrations to represent the progress of modern software technologies and to propose the potential future of the tech industry. But before actually discussing this potential future, whether it is just a concept or a detailed plan for changing the modern technological sector, we have to get acquainted with more basic concepts.

Explaining Web1 vs Web2 vs Web3 Apps

Before considering all the advantages and drawbacks of Web3 over Web2, we need to understand what these “Web2” and “Web3” are. So, we will have to start from the very beginning.

Let’s start with the difference between the Web and the Internet. First of all, don't confuse these two conceptions. World Wide Web, or simply the Web is the combination of all these web pages and web apps, that are reachable to regular users. At the same, the Internet is the general term, which defines the connection itself. To make the difference between the web and the internet even simpler, the Internet is the road between different destinations, while the Web is everything on the way, like gas stations but not the destinations themselves.

The Origins of the Web Applications

Web1, also known as Web 1.0 is the first version of the World Wide Web. Obviously, it was the simplest version of known web pages. It is commonly referred to as a “read-only Web”. In other words, most regular users were able to simply read the information on these pages. It was just like a virtual version of a book or a dictionary. Yet, simultaneously, there were the Creators, people who were developing their websites, generating textual content for them, etc. At that moment, there were no easy-to-use solutions or similar development tools like WordPress or Wix, which allowed larger groups to participate in content and web page creation. So, the number of possible authors on the Web was limited. Consider Web1 as Wikipedia with more limited features like media support, the possibility to add or edit information for regular users, etc.

Second Generation of Web Apps

Eventually, the development of technologies, the increased number of software engineers, and the overall simplification of the development cycle resulted in modern Web apps, which are Web 2.0 examples and are commonly used nowadays. The most significant role in the appearance of this type of web app was played by social media networks, which added an interaction feature, giving their users tools and ways to interact with each other. As a result, the revolution has begun and the modern web transformed into a “read-write” format.

Summing up, this user-to-user interaction model has enormously increased the overall popularity of web apps, resulting in monetization strategies, advertising, etc. So, when webpages started to generate income for their owners, the process of development and improvement became unstoppable. The second version of web apps made such gigantic international IT corporations like Facebook, Google, and the rest of their competitors.

Soon enough, due to the high level of competition between different corporations, web pages started to increase the number of proposed features, improved UX/UI design, tried to reach the best possible user experience, etc. Frankly speaking, most modern websites are basically examples of Web 2.0.

However, despite all the advantages and nice features of all these websites, there is also a flip side. For instance, if at the very beginning, World Wide Web was mainly free of censorship and allowed almost any behavior and was free of judgment, the second variation of web apps became more regulated. As for now, the main online resources have their terms, requiring users to meet these requirements. To add some more, the web becomes more and more censored, ousting dissenters away. Frankly speaking, this creates a very dangerous situation, when corporations are controlling most of the surface layer of the web.

Web3 As a Salvation

Eventually, the web3 concept appears. To cut a long story short, it aims to decentralize systems of the web and create equality between users by changing the concept of ownership and rethinking it, changing it into a “read-write-own” concept. However, this is only one of the possible web3 examples and explanations.

Frankly, it is hard to define how it should look because there are almost no real-life examples of embodied web3 technology, i.e. there are no web3 applications at the moment due to “technological limitations”. So, web3 technology is rather an idea than a real case, just a single variation of the possible future of web technologies. Talking about the technical aspects of web3 examples, they are going to be based on Blockchain technologies and Smart Contracts. This toolset is considered the main way how to decentralize the world wide web.

Additionally, with the rise of AI and ML technologies like ChatGPT, theorists, and other supporters of this concept agree, that artificial intelligence and machine learning should also become an important component of forthcoming web applications.

Comparing Web2 vs Web3 Apps

To tell it how it is, it is hard to compare web2 vs web3 apps. At least because there are no modern web3 app examples. Yet, the nearest type of web app, which can be considered as the testing stage of web3 technology, is probably a Decentralized Autonomous Organization or simply DAO.

As our DeepDao case shows, DAO decentralized applications are based on group decisions, i.e. there is no centralized power or authority, which makes the final decision. Instead, the right of making decisions is spread among numerous stakeholders, who participate by making different choices and voting.

For a better illustration, let’s consider Twitter. This social network has its own rules and policies, which users must obey to. In case of violation of community rules, the rule breaker will be banned by the administration or other community representatives. This is a pure web 2.0 example. However, if we want to transform it into the web3 example, we will have to get rid of the law-maker, i.e. administration. So, if someone will break the community guidelines, there will be no specific person to ban this rule breaker. Instead, it will be the community to decide whether to ban this person or not by voting for or against it, or there will be no such term as “ban” at all.

Eventually, web3 concept creators claim that thanks to cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, it will be possible to create a free-of-censorship online community, which will be flexible and highly individualistic, allowing users to make their own decision, use copyleft principles to create new or improve existing technologies by using other’s intellectual products, etc. Moreover, it will help to decrease the involvement and influence of IT corporations on the Internet, making the web even more user-friendly and becoming a truly free virtual world, just like the metaverses as they were supposed to be.

What is Wrong with Web3 Technology?

As for now, all the foregoing sounds fun and interesting, doesn’t it? Fells like a real metaverse, just like the one from the Ready Player One novel, and is going to become real just in a few years. Nevertheless, there are a few very important issues, related to this technology of the future. First of all, as we mentioned already, web3 apps are just a concept, which has almost no actual representation or successful use cases for now, except for DAO, which is not enough. This is the first crucial problem, which doesn’t give us a chance to completely compare these web apps, and make the final decision on whether they can and will replace the recent web development approach.

To add some more, we can easily define web3 examples within web2 apps. The whole concept is extremely similar to another layer of the web - the dark web. If you will think over it for a moment, it becomes obvious. As well as web3 apps, websites from the dark web are encrypted, they provide a high level of anonymity, and the cryptocurrency with other blockchain technologies are commonly integrated and spread in this layer of web apps. In other words, web3 technologies already exist, yet they still are considered web2 apps, with less censorship, more anonymity, security, and encryption.

To rephrase it, there is much more logic in comparing Web3 vs Dark Web, instead of Web2 examples. To make it even easier, dark web apps are the main rival of web3, not web2. They have similar goals such as privacy and anonymity, and they share the same tech stack, especially when it comes to blockchain-based technologies. Summing up all the above, one of the main purposes of web 3.0 technologies is to simply create a more user-friendly and open version of the dark web, which will be potentially less harmful and based on decentralized protocols. However, the “criminal” aspect of the dark web is way overrated. Most .onion websites are relatively harmless and are based on the dark web just to avoid the unwanted attention of IT giants, as well as their beloved interference in personal life.

How Web3 Changes Software Development?

Finally, let’s talk about the possible influence of web2 and web3 technologies on the overall software development industry. Even if this concept is too idolized, and proposes no significant difference from the already existing dark web, it won’t stay unnoticed. Undoubtedly, there is a demand for such solutions from internet users. So, the supply will appear in the nearest future. Thus, even if there will be no web2 to web3 migration, and no decentralized Internet with no centralized authority in the nearest future, we can suppose that the further development of such web solutions will result in the rise of blockchain technologies like smart contracts and cryptocurrency. In other words, niche-experienced developers and other experts in this field will become more desired.

Due to the limitations and specifics of this industry, it may be difficult to find an appropriate team extension for your project. One of the best ways to find a software developer, who will meet all your requirements - is to consider outsourcing and outstaffing. Here, at Incora, we are always happy to help you with such a task. We are ready for cooperation and our case studies speak for themselves.

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What are the main differences between Web2 and Web3?

Web2 is characterized by centralized content, whereas Web3 is characterized by decentralized content. Web2 uses client-server architecture, whereas Web3 uses peer-to-peer networking. Web2 is controlled by a few large corporations, whereas Web3 is controlled by a decentralized network of users.

What are the advantages of Web3 over Web2?

What are the challenges of developing Web3 applications?

How does Web3 change software development?

What are some examples of Web3 applications?

What skills do developers need to develop Web3 applications?

Is Web3 the future of the internet?

What is the role of blockchain in Web3 applications?

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