Understanding

Every so often I’ll read something on the web that somebody else has written and I’ll think Yes! That! That’s what I’ve been trying to say!

I’ve already told of experiencing just that whilst reading Raiding Eternity. Now I’ve experienced it again. This time the culprit is Ben Ward, the talented bastard.

He reeled me in with the synopsis of his latest article. It’s called Understand The Web:

Perceptions of the web are changing. People are advocating that we treat the web like another application framework. An open, cross-platform, multi-device rival to Flash and Cocoa and everything else. I’m all for making the web richer, and exposing new functionality, but I value what makes the web weblike much, much more.

On the one hand, it’s a straightforward fact-check and slap-down for the factually-incorrect nonsense being spouted on Twitter and elsewhere by those who are reconstructing the history of the web as a work of fiction spun in the own minds to match their misunderstandings of how browsers and standards bodies work. As Ben puts it:

This is the short, perhaps selective memory that the internet suffers from. It is not acceptable to me that 21st century knowledge retention has become so short and shallow as to be overwritten by influential ranting on Twitter. A greater tool for the dissemination of misinformation has never been known.

But the real reason why you should read Ben’s piece is that it encourages all of us to take a step back and think about what the web really is. It’s not just a choice of platform for building applications (whatever that means), it’s so much more:

Want to know if your ‘HTML application’ is part of the web? Link me into it. Not just link me to it; link me into it. Not just to the black-box frontpage. Link me to a piece of content. Show me that it can be crawled, show me that we can draw strands of silk between the resources presented in your app. That is the web: The beautiful interconnection of navigable content. If your website locks content away in a container, outside the reach of hyperlinks, you’re not building any kind of ‘web’ app. You’re doing something else.

I could quote the whole thing, so perfectly does it map to my own feelings and thoughts on the web, but instead I urge you to go to Ben’s site, read what he has written and understand the web.

Have you published a response to this? :