What Does Perpetual Beta Mean?
Tim O’Reilly, 2005, describes the perpetual beta as seeing programs and devices as ongoing services when they are connected to the internet, as opposed to software artifacts (O’Reilly, 2005). This perspective encourages software to be developed in a more innovative way by adding new features regularly and allowing users to engage with the software as real-time testers. Additionally, O’Reilly states “The open source dictum, ‘release early and release often’ in fact has morphed into an even more radical position, ‘the perpetual beta,’ in which the product is developed in the open, with new features slipstreamed in on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis” (O’Reilly, 2005).
There are many Web 2.0 services that utilise the perpetual beta pattern to their advantage to provide users with good web applications and software. One example that uses this pattern is Delicious.
What Is Delicious?
Delicious is a free tool available to users that allows them to save, organize, and manage links they find on the internet. Users can save their links anywhere on their phone or tablet by visiting the main site or downloading the app.
Delicious ‘releases early and releases often’ by using innovative and flexible methodologies to fix bugs and improve the service. On their blog site, they announce big updates to the main site, their API etc. One change they’ve done recently is implementing a new feature that allows users to sign in with their Twitter or Facebook (jessie, 2013).
Delicious also engages their users as co-developers and real-time testers by recording user behavior as an accurate model for assessing their features and to see how they interact and use the site. Additionally, there have been multiple studies focusing on analysing user behavior across social sharing environments and leveraging tagging to model user interests in Delicious. Delicious also encourages feedback from its users. A few years ago, Delicious was receiving some negative feedback from users on their Facebook page but responded proactively and positively to the critiques and went about to improve their product (markjowen, 2011).
Issues And Improvements
There are some privacy issues when Delicious starts recording and profiling user behaviour but this can be said with all applications. For example Flickr developed a ‘loneliest users’ report that identified some users that were not inviting their friends to join the service and I wouldn’t be comfortable knowing that one of the services I use have put me under a category called ‘loneliest user,’ but then again that’s just my opinion on the matter and now that I think about it, the title is probably just a (somewhat humorous and sad) means to record their user behaviour data. Most applications use some sort of algorithm or method to see how users interact with the service so they can improve on certain features etc.
Some improvements they could do with this service is use a more effective way to search for specific tags. I know some people use a lot of tags and sometimes I just want to see something specific. Unfortunately Delicious doesn’t quite employ this well enough and have them in a list on the side. You can use the selection feature but I find that it’s a little slow and complicated to use and produces inaccurate results.
Thanks for reading!
AVOS. (2013). Capture the web you’ve been missing – Delicious. Retrieved from https://delicious.com/
Delicious Blog. (2013). Delicious Blog. Retrieved from http://blog.delicious.com/
Delicious. (2013). Delicious. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/delicious
Ferrara, E. De Meo, P. Abel, F. Aroyo, L. & Houben, G. (n.d.). Analyzing User Behavior across Social Sharing Environments. Retrieved from http://www.emilio.ferrara.name/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/tist2012.pdf
jessie. (2013, March 28). Springing Forward at Delicious | Delicious Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://blog.delicious.com/2013/03/springing-forward-delicious/
markjowen. (2011, March 10). Delicious’ tasteful reaction to negative feedback | MarkjOwen’s Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://markjowen.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/delicious-tasteful-reaction-to-negative-feedback/
O’Reilly, T. (2005). What Is Web 2.0 – O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=1
Stoyanovich, J. Amer-Yahia, S. Marlow, C. & Yu, C. (2008). Leveraging Tagging to Model User Interests in del.icio.us. Retrieved from http://www.ischool.drexel.edu/faculty/jstoy/documents/Tagging_Interest.pdf