Web 3.0 can potentially disrupt the technological landscape as we know it and usher in new concepts and ideas of decentralization which can unavoidably impact app development practices.
Do you remember when surfing the web was a simple process consisting of browsing a few basic directories of static, limited information? And what about a dial-up internet connection? Remember how annoying that was? Most of us, even if vaguely, remember experiencing the beginnings of the internet. While we can remember those calendar days fondly, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to go back to struggling to reconnect after your sister lifted the home phone’s receiver. However, the rest of us millennials grew up in the age of the internet as we know it today, a user-led cyber world also referred to as web 2.0. After the original internet–let’s call it web 1.0–evolved, it became more interactive, accessible, and dynamic. You could browse millions of cutting-edge sites, watch videos, download files, and create content, thus becoming an active participant in the cyber world instead of being a simple bystander. That being said, we’ve had a good run with web 2.0. It gave us the modern cyber world and all that comes with it, so much so that it seems it can’t get any better. However, now the time has come to take the online universe to the next level, and that’s what the next iteration of the World Wide Web, web 3.0, promises to deliver.
Web 2.0 needs to catch up in how it can meet our needs for faster, better, and more dynamic experiences. And, seeing that we’re becoming more demanding in the type and quality of content we consume and how fast we can consume it, it comes as no surprise that one of the topmost buzzwords in the modern tech arena is web 3.0. The term comes full of promises of transparency, speed, and mobility but also uncertainty, especially regarding the development of modern apps.
So, precisely what is web 3.0? How does it work? Is it out yet? How will web 3.0 apps look? If you’re interested in finding the answers to these questions, stick around! We’ll try to give you a glimpse of what web 3.0 is and what it brings to app development practices worldwide. Let’s get started.
The evolution of the Internet
Before we can start to explain exactly what web 3.0 is and its impact on app development, it’s essential we help you understand what preceded it and how it came to be. So, here’s some context.
As we touched on earlier, the first version of the internet was a static, black-and-white place where users remained anonymous and were nothing more than outsiders. We use it to consume information from government or company sites and not much else. However, with the advent of newer and more modern technologies, the internet experience morphed into the social, interactive, user-led haven that experts call web 2.0. It is the internet as we know it today. A lot has changed since the birth of web 2.0, but the basics of it remain the same. We started becoming active participants in the content we consumed, started spending more time online, and witnessed one of the breaking points in the history of IT-based technologies: the birth of social media. Suddenly, we were transferring a part of our lives to the internet and living it through our internet-enabled devices. Social media platforms and online businesses prompted us to create user accounts, upload and download images and videos, contribute articles or opinions to countless websites, and to even create our own sites, whether for business or entertainment purposes. Thus, app developers started creating products designed to fit those standards and meet those needs for participation and socialization.
But more importantly, since web 2.0 made us active participants in the online world, it started amassing vast amounts of data which quickly became as valuable as gold. As a result, companies worldwide began to bid for data pools to power their operations, give a fresh direction to their market endeavors, design better products, and much, much more. These data pools became so immense that they grew from 2 zettabytes in 2010 to almost 15 zettabytes of data traffic by the end of 2015. However, as data traffic grew exponentially, it became impossible to store all that information locally. Hence, companies began to use centralized servers to submit their requests and manage their data traffic better and faster. These centralized servers are owned and operated by a single governing entity that controls all the applications and the data traffic that flows through them. Hence, web 2.0 applications are known as centralized applications, and they make up the vast majority of the current app market.
Web 2.0’s legacy is undeniable. It fathered the era of mobile communications and cloud computing, giving way to the birth of mobile app development and the apps that have become essential to our day-to-day lives, like Facebook, Uber, Twitter, and Instagram. Unfortunately, these apps that came from web 2.0’s womb are all centralized applications because they are owned and operated by one central organization. That’s how web 2.0’s app universe has always worked, and that’s the only way we know of using the internet, which explains why most of us rarely question this centralized status quo. However, this status quo is becoming less sustainable and transparent now that our personal data has become a commodity and is sold to large companies with unclear purposes. Luckily, with the advent of emerging technologies like blockchain and AI, things are changing, and the era of Web 3.0 has begun.
What is web 3.0?
As you may suspect already, web 3.0 refers to the new version of web 2.0. And you’re technically correct. However, there’s much more to web 3.0 than simply being a glorified version of the web 2.0 internet experience. The term web 3.0 is surprisingly hard to define but, in short, it is a new and improved, democratized, and decentralized digital ecosystem. It is bound to become a more interactive, safer, more transparent, and user-friendly way of surfing the web. More importantly, the web 3.0 internet experience promises to be free from any central governing authority.
Remember when we said that web 2.0 applications were centralized in that they needed to route data traffic through central servers owned by a single governing entity? Well, web 3.0 will eliminate the need for central servers and remove any single governing entity that acts as a middleman in any transaction requiring data traffic. As a result, and by leveraging the principles of decentralization, web 3.0 promises to decentralize data and give us a more democratized version of the online world we have today, which is possible thanks to its three main characteristics:
Openness: web 3.0 and its applications are open-source, meaning they are built by an open community of developers and are accessible and visible to the world, with no secrets.
Trustlessness: web 3.0 offers users the freedom to interact privately and publicly with each other and perform transactions without risks.
Permissionless: web 3.0 allows users to interact and perform transactions without permission or authorization from any governing entity.
Ubiquitousness: web 3.0 will make the internet available to anyone and everyone, anywhere, anytime via the IoT (Internet of Things) universe.
In other words, Web 3.0 will eliminate entity control over our transactions and applications, thus promoting individual data ownership, network availability, self-governance, and transparency. What’s more, Web 3.0 will bring blockchain technology to the forefront and put it at the crux of all transactions. As a result, internet users will be able to carry out permissionless peer-to-peer business transactions, rendering intermediaries such as banks and central servers useless and placing the focus on data privacy and ownership.
Main aspects that define web 3.0 app development
Just like web 2.0’s cementation was driven by the advent of social media, mobile technologies, and cloud computing, web 3.0’s largely relies on four of our era’s most meaningful technological advancements: edge computing, decentralized networks, blockchain, and artificial intelligence. As a starting point, modern app developers must take a turn toward including these four elements in their development practices and methodologies.
Edge computing: By leveraging edge computing, web 3.0 will bring a wide array of networks and devices closer to the user. In web 2.0, data processing happens in massive centralized data servers, which are usually safely tucked away hundreds or thousands of miles from users. Edge computing, on the contrary, processes data closer to its source, enabling faster response times and greater network and bandwidth efficiency, both crucial benefits for successful app development outcomes.
Blockchain: Since blockchain technology limits the need for intermediaries and ensures the integrity of the information, it is the perfect enforcer of what web 3.0 promises to bring forth. Inherent to its design, the data stored on a block in the blockchain can’t be modified once entered, not even by the blockchain members, making it the perfect layer of what makes the secure, trustless, decentralized universe that is web 3.0. As a result, blockchain is non-negotiable regarding web 3.0 app development practices.
Decentralized networks: thanks to web 3.0 not relying on a single governing authority to act as an intermediary in data sharing, we can enjoy all the benefits of decentralized networks, which can develop their full potential in the modern way of surfing the web.
Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is nothing new; in fact, it has been around for a while. However, when built on top of decentralized networks and leveraging the benefits of blockchain and edge computing, AI and AI-based technologies such as machine learning have the potential to open up a world of priceless data sets and data-driven interactions. These interactions can dramatically change how we build and access applications, so they are a must in the modern, web 3.0-driven way of building apps.
As you can see, these technologies and tools are the keys to unlocking a universe of unparalleled experiences. They are the gateway to this new technological dimension that promises to transform how we use the internet. They promise to bring a never-seen-before disruption to industries worldwide, including the app development industry, which will have to undergo a massive paradigm shift to keep up with what web 3.0’s brings to the IT universe.
The impact of web 3.0 on app development
During web 2.0’s inception, and even until not so long ago, we were entirely pleased by what the internet experience brought. The chance to surf billions of websites, make purchases, bank and game online, and socialize and work without leaving the comfort of our homes was everything we’ve always wanted. However, as time passed, the experience became tainted, and the internet became a not-so-transparent place. In addition, we started to feel the discomfort associated with large enterprises meddling in our business, spying on us, and using our data for their financial gain. Thus, these inconveniences, and many more, resulted in an unavoidable reality: the birth of web 3.0.
Since web 3.0 promises to bring forth a complete shift in how we access the online world, it is inevitable to think about how the app development industry will have to adapt to this shift to keep shipping innovative IT-based products.
So, here are the main ways web 3.0 will impact app development practices.
• Artificial intelligence is a must
Once again, AI is the belle of the ball. Web 3.0 represents a haven where artificial intelligence and its offspring, such as machine learning, will play a pivotal role. These technologies will become non-negotiable in the scheme of all things web 3.0, and they will significantly impact how we navigate the internet in the future. In fact, experts estimate that over 50% of all internet traffic will be driven by AI-powered technologies, devices, and apps by 2025, making it an essential part of the new way of building software and mobile applications.
In the context of web 3.0 app development, artificial intelligence has to take center stage. It is the driver of the transparency, user-friendliness, and data ownership that the web 3.0 internet experience pledges to deliver. It is paramount to build the durable and innovative applications that users now crave. So, integrating AI and other AI-driven technologies into their products is one of the most significant changes that app developers must make to keep up with the fast-paced universe of web 3.0. It is paramount to include all these technologies that can understand and analyze content and data to give web 3.0 users what they want.
• Develop apps with the Semantic Web in mind
We can understand the Semantic Web as being web 3.0’s functional nucleus. It is the knowledge that results from the amalgamation of all collected and connected data with intelligent machine-learning algorithms that facilitate the understanding and processing of smart content. In other words, the Semantic Web is how machines can understand and interpret content in a human-like manner to process information and give users precisely what they want. In that sense, we can say that web 3.0 app development is intrinsically linked to intelligent data processing. As a result, web 3.0 developers must prepare to build applications that expand the scale of human-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions to enable seamless data interpretation, thus ensuring the users always get what they want and that information always flows towards decentralized transactions.
• Master the art of blockchain and smart contracts
Blockchain technology and smart contracts are the cruces of web 3.0, so app developers must master both to implement them correctly and include them in their web 3.0 applications. While currently, web 3.0 isn’t the norm and Dapps, or decentralized applications, aren’t widespread yet, it’s still crucial for modern developers to start learning everything about blockchain and how to use it to build web 3.0 applications. This point is fundamental because, without blockchain and smart contract integration, web 3.0 applications can’t be entirely secure and decentralized and can’t leverage all the benefits that stem from them, defeating the whole purpose of the modern internet experience. So in that sense, blockchain, smart contracts, and decentralized networks will inevitably become an integral part of every robust development process, regardless of the type of application.
• Leverage edge computing
Edge computing will also become one of the go-to technologies for web 3.0 app development; hence modern developers must familiarize themselves with it and start moving away from central servers as their primary data processing source.
Edge computing helps developers build robust applications that are not only significantly faster but are more reliable and secure and perform better under challenging network conditions. Also, as users have more powerful devices in their hands, data centers become unnecessary because these devices now have the capacity to process data themselves. As a result, web 3.0 app developers can stop worrying, or worry less, about low performance, buffering times, and speed issues related to bandwidth constraints that some of our apps currently face. When implemented correctly, these benefits brought by edge computing and web 3.0 can significantly enhance user experience, lower costs, and power better development practices.
• Master Solidity
There are currently a lot of blockchains on the market. Some are more popular, widely used, and offer more functionality and wiggle room than others. However, the most popular and robust blockchain out there today is Ethereum. So, if you’re an app developer looking to learn the necessary skills for web 3.0 development, then that’s the blockchain you’ll likely be working with. As a result, web 3.0 app development goes hand-in-hand with Solidity, the object-oriented programming language of the Ethereum virtual machine, and the popular blockchain. Solidity is currently the best way to build smart contracts and works on other blockchains as well, making it the primary language for all things web 3.0. There’s no way around it: modern web 3.0 app developers must learn and eventually master Solidity to build their applications because it will most likely become the primary way of building decentralized apps in the new era of internet surfing.
We could write a million more pages about all the implications web 3.0 will have in the app development industry (yeah, that’s how big of an impact it will have on our craft). Instead, however, we tried to touch on the most critical points to give you a small but meaningful peek at what web 3.0 app development is starting to look like and into what it will morph into in the near future. Still, if you feel you want to learn more, you can go to our articles on the metaverse, DeFi, Dapps and NFTs, all of which are crucial components of the new iteration of the World Wide Web and are essential parts of any robust app development process.
So… what’s the future of web 3.0 app development?
With the advent of modern technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the internet of things, blockchain, and ubiquitous computing, the internet experience is no longer contained to our smartphones. It is all around us; it’s all-encompassing. This new evolution of the internet has brought–and will keep bringing significant changes in how we build and design applications. For one, we now need to develop applications with decentralization at the forefront, no matter what. We must also learn everything related to blockchain, Ethereum, 3D graphics, Artificial Intelligence, smart contracts, and more. We must immerse ourselves inside the metaverse and start learning about developing for it and using decentralization as the core of our processes. In other words, we have our work cut out for us!
If you have any questions regarding web 3.0 app development, want to work with us, or if you simply want to know about how we are adapting to the new way of surfing the web, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re happy to hear from you!