Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability

13 May

The last pattern of web 2.0 is “Lightweight models and cost-effective scalability”. Lightweight models and cost- effective scalability is referred to “Doing more with less”. It is about not only technical aspect but also business aspect. In the age of web 1.0, most companies tried to be “Get big fast” and thought that it would make much profit. However, many companies  underwent difficulties and disappeared after Dot-com Bubble because much cost was required to maintain those services or systems. After that, companies realized that creating simple applications could be better for success; they have changed their way of thinking of “Doing more with less”.

“Doing more with less” means maximizing returns with less resource. In fact, users do not require expensive services with special technologies. They just require convenient services which are easy to use. Furthermore, services which require the deadweight cost to be changed make decision-making slow, so they would hinder improvement. Therefore, web 2.0 organizations have to strive to develop convenient services which are reusable for various purposes and require low cost rather than special services which are complex and require high cost.

To be a desirable lightweight model, the following are suggested:

Couple systems loosely.
If systems are coupled too stably, they cannot be easily disassembled and their structure will be difficult to change. This results in difficulty in reusing those systems for new purposes.

Consider syndication rather than coordination.
The focus should be delivery of internal data and external data, not control for desirable use of data.

Design for hackability and remixability.
Hackability and remixability lead infinite potentials for development of new services.

WordPress.com

the logo of wordpress

WordPress.com is a good example for lightweight models. WordPress.com has earned a large amount of revenue by a simple idea, not by a special technology. It is a hosted blogging platform based on the open source WordPress platform. It is designed to allow users to sign up and create their own blogs. As its purpose is to enable users to easily create and manage their own blogs, it basically takes simple architecture and technologies. It also facilitate syndication of content and have simple intuitive interfaces that support end-users and developers alike. It provides end-users with easy services such as a content editor for blogging, simple CMS functions and tagging. In addition, through the use of widgets, it enables users to apply more functions to their blogs. Besides, as it provides services such as RSS feeds, it facilitates access to contents. Furthermore, WordPress.com blogs are hosted on the WordPress.com grid which is capable of scaling to handle enormous traffic spikes and balanced loads across hundreds of servers. This means that WordPress.com blogs are automatically capable of handling going viral and will be scaled to meet the demand as necessary. Moreover, as its simple architecture enables easily restructuring it and adding other technologies, it would facilitate creation of new services with low cost. Like these, simplicity of WordPress.com offers convenience and benefits to both users and developers.

On the other hand, its simple architecture causes ease of hacking. Through hacking, personal information can be leaked. Therefore, this is a problem awaiting solution. WordPress.com has to make an effort to prevent this problem as well as develop easy and convenient services.

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4 Responses to “Lightweight Models & Cost-Effective Scalability”

  1. Nicole Eastgate May 17, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    I never considered that hackability and remixability were in the same group… but I guess you are right. If an application does not offer an API then I guess a programmer does not have any choice but to hack it?
    Could you explain a little about the WordPress grid or give me a link to some information about it. I have never heard of that term before and I am interested to learn about how apps avoid the disaster of an overnight rush of users on their servers…
    A lot of us are using wordpress to write our blogs but I never considered discussing it in relation to O’Reilly’s design patterns. Great idea, thanks.

    • subinkim May 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      Hi Nicole,

      WordPress grid is a kind of hosting service. WordPress blogs are managed by this and this prevents various disasters by balancing usage of servers.
      If you want to know about grid, this link may be helpful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_computing

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. andrewjudson May 20, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Very interesting post,

    I’ve seen developers build add-ons to the WordPress software stack and use it as a CMS instead of creating a new website from scratch (mind you they developed this all within a few weeks).

    I guess the WordPress development team put a lot of well thought-out work into their systems giving potential add-on developers a quicker solution.

    • subinkim May 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

      Hi Andrew,

      In fact, WordPress has a lot of potential to create new value. Add-on developers will be able to develop various services using WordPress.
      I heard that the WordPress development team is well organised.

      Thanks for your comment.:)

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