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Web3 for Web2 developers

Welcome to our course on making the jump from Web2 development to building decentralized applications (dapps) in the new world of Web3. The course is designed to fill knowledge gaps and equip you with practical skills to understand the future of the web as a developer.

We will compare the architecture of traditional Web2 applications with that of Web3 dapps on the Chromia platform. Additionally, we will explore code examples to understand how familiar concepts from Web2 app development correspond to dapp development on Chromia.

At the end of the course, we will look at concepts beyond just programming, like scalability, security, and operational costs on Web3 platforms.

What is Web3, and why does it matter?

The internet, as we know it, has undergone two significant evolutions in the past. We are now entering the third.

Web1, often called the Static Web, was the internet in its early form. It consisted mainly of static pages, which meant they didn't change unless someone manually updated them. Think of it as reading a newspaper online. You could visit a website to check out an article, view a schedule, or download a document, but your ability to interact with content or contribute your own was limited.

Web1: The static web

Static, read-only pages primarily designed for information consumption. A stage of the internet where users primarily consumed content with limited interaction or contribution.

  • Architecture: Centralized servers hosting websites with static HTML pages
  • Key Technologies: HTML, CGI
  • Business Model: Banner ads, online directories, subscriptions
  • Examples: Early versions of sites like Yahoo!, AltaVista, GeoCities

Then emerged Web2, enabling users to create, share, and modify content through dynamic platforms rather than just consume. On platforms like Facebook and YouTube, anyone could share their story or showcase a talent, transforming users from passive consumers into active participants. These platforms weren't just websites. They were communities where your input mattered. The web became a space for collaboration and sharing on a scale never seen before, but the platforms are still controlled by central authorities, with users having little to no say in how they are run.

Web2: The social web

Dynamic platforms with user-generated content and interactivity. A shift from passive consumption to active collaboration.

  • Architecture: Centralized platforms, web applications
  • Key Technologies: AJAX, RSS, Blogs, APIs
  • Business Model: Targeted advertising, affiliate marketing, SaaS
  • Examples: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WordPress

Web3 is the current shift. It's fundamentally about giving the power back to users through blockchain and decentralized technologies. In Web3, data isn't stored in a central repository but is spread across a network of nodes, ensuring that no single entity has full authority over it. Users maintain control and ownership of their data through cryptographic keys.

Web3: The decentralized web

A decentralized and interconnected web, using technologies like blockchain, where users not only generate content, but truly own content and take part in governing the platforms where that content is shared. With the introduction of cryptocurrencies, economies can be built and managed entirely in code without the need to trust central authorities.

  • Architecture: Decentralized platforms and applications, often built on blockchain technology
  • Key Technologies: Blockchain, smart contracts, decentralized applications (dapps), tokens, cryptocurrencies
  • Shared Governance: Consensus-driven approach to decision-making, particularly in decentralized applications (dapps)
  • Protected Data Ownership: Data is publicly stored, yet ownership is privately controlled. Cryptographic keys ensure that while anyone can see data on the network, only owners with the keys can access or modify it, ensuring user control over personal data.
  • Examples: Chromia, Ethereum, Polkadot, Polygon

This gives us a brief overview of the history of the web and some initial insights into what Web3 is about. In the next lesson, we'll get more practical, comparing the tech stack of a traditional web app to that of a dapp on the Chromia platform.