A fascinating look at the history of cookies …from the inventor of cookies.
The litany of open standards that Google has been abandoning: RSS, XMPP, WebDav…
I’m in general agreement with this rousing defence of CSS. I think it does a pretty great job of balancing a whole ton of use cases.
Josh has been teaching HTML and CSS schoolkids. I love the pages that they’ve made. I really mean it. I genuinely think these are wonderful!
Wow! The CSS Zen Garden is a decade old. Crazy! It’s a true piece of web history …and it’s back!
A history lesson from Vint Cerf. I can’t help but picture him as The Architect in The Matrix Reloaded.
When Tim Berners-Lee invented and released the World Wide Web (WWW) design in late 1991, he found an open and receptive internet in operation onto which the WWW could be placed. The WWW design, like the design of the internet, was very open and encouraged a growing cadre of self-taught webmasters to develop content and applications.
Mark writes about his work with CERN to help restore the first website to its original URL.
I have two young children and I want them to experience the early web and understand how it came to be. To understand that the early web wasn’t that rudimentary but incredibly advanced in many ways.
It was twenty years ago today:
On 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web technology available on a royalty free basis, allowing the web to flourish.
A lovely description by Paul Ford of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol.
That simple handshake is the firmament upon which we have built trillion-dollar cathedrals and bazaars, the base upon which we construct other protocols and networks.
A lovely piece of writing from Richard on the nature of the web.
A good history lesson in rendering engines: KHTML, WebKit, and now, Blink.
I find it hard to agree with any part of this. To me, it shows a deep misunderstanding of the web—treating the web as just another platform, without understanding what makes it so special.
I think I may have found my polar opposite.
The hilarious obsession with file size is the start of my frustrations with the web community.
A wonderful rallying cry from Drew.
Ever since the halcyon days of Web 2.0, we’ve been netting our butterflies and pinning them to someone else’s board.
Hope that what you’ve created never has to die. Make sure that if something has to die, it’s you that makes that decision. Own your own data, friends, and keep it safe.
Brent Simmons pens a love-letter to RSS, a technology that you use every day, whether you realise it or not.
Tantek steps back and offers some practical approaches to reclaiming a more open web from the increasingly tight clutches of the big dominant roach motels.
Notice that he wrote this on his own domain, not on Branch, Medium, Google+, Facebook, or any other black hole.
An excellent explanation from Tom Loosemore on why the Government Digital Service is putting its energy into open standards and the web, rather than proprietary native apps.
Honestly, if you value the content you create and put online, then you need to be in control of your own stuff.
Biting satire that hits its mark superbly. Ouch! Be careful — this is sharp …and funny.
The WaSP is closing its doors. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve with such a fine organisation.
What Dan said.
A fascinating discussion on sharecropping vs. homesteading. Josh Miller from Branch freely admits that he’s only ever known a web where your content is held by somone else. Gina Trapani’s response is spot-on:
For me, publishing on a platform I have some ownership and control over is a matter of future-proofing my work. If I’m going to spend time making something I really care about on the web—even if it’s a tweet, brevity doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful—I don’t want to do it somewhere that will make it inaccessible after a certain amount of time, or somewhere that might go away, get acquired, or change unrecognizably.
When you get old and your memory is long and you lose parents and start having kids, you value your own and others’ personal archive much more.
Here’s a treasure trove of web history: an archive of the www-talk list dating back to 1991. Watch as HTML gets hammered out by a small group of early implementors: Tim Berners-Lee, Dave Raggett, Marc Andreessen, Dan Connolly…
An ever-timely call-to-arms from Eric:
Sir Tim Berners-Lee envisioned the web as open and accessible for everyone, no matter where they comes from, what speed their connection is, how capable their browsers are or how good their eyes or hands or both work. I feel proud every day to make that vision reality, and it is the job of web developers to make it a reality.
He’s right. We have tremendous power and privilege, and correspondingly tremendous responsibility.
Oh, my! This excellent, excellent post from Anil Dash is a great summation of what has changed on the web, and how many of today’s big-name services are no longer imbued with the spirit of the web.
Either you remember how things used to be and you’ll nod your head vigorously in recognition and agreement …or you’re too young to remember this, and you won’t quite believe that is how things worked.
This isn’t some standard polemic about “those stupid walled-garden networks are bad!” I know that Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and LinkedIn and the rest are great sites, and they give their users a lot of value. They’re amazing achievements, from a pure software perspective. But they’re based on a few assumptions that aren’t necessarily correct. The primary fallacy that underpins many of their mistakes is that user flexibility and control necessarily lead to a user experience complexity that hurts growth. And the second, more grave fallacy, is the thinking that exerting extreme control over users is the best way to maximize the profitability and sustainability of their networks.
Don’t do it. Don’t click that button just one more time. Don’t.
A lovely new service from Mike Stenhouse: install the bookmarklet and then when you come across a website with a nice combination of fonts, you can save a snapshot of the page (and its fonts) for later perusal. You can then browse those fonts on Typekit, Fontdeck, MyFonts or Google Fonts.
I wholeheartedly agree with Christian’s diagnosis of the average web page: it’s overweight to the point of obesity. Fortunately Dr. Heilmann has some remedies.
Some great thoughts from Mike Davies about the strengths of the web, prompted by some of the more extreme comments made by James Pearce at Full Frontal last week.
I should point out that James was being deliberately provocative in order to foment thought and discussion and, judging from this blog post, he succeeded.
The Web’s independence from the hardware and software platform people use is a feature. It’s better than cross-platform frameworks which are constantly criticised for not producing exact native-feeling apps on the multitude of platforms they run on. The Web is above that pettiness.
A great in-depth description by Paul of how he optimised his site. More of this please!
This is the talk I gave at the Webdagene conference in Norway a few weeks back. I called it Responsive Enhancement but I think the Norwegian title translates as “Improvements Through Responsive Design.”
A lovely bit of hypertext.
I’m really enjoying these thoughts prompted by Paul’s article in A List Apart. I particularly the idea of taking a long-zoom approach to progressive enhancement: evolving the aesthetic of web design over time.
A really great article from Paul that simultaneously takes a high-level view of the web while also focusing on the details. A lot of work went into this.
This is right up my alley: a timeline of the history of hypertext, starting with Borges.
Brad’s notes from my opening talk at the Smashing Conference in Freiburg.
This ticks all my boxes: a podcast by Eric and Jen about the history of the web. I can’t wait for this to start!
Unsung Heroes of Web and Interaction Design: Derek Powazek – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
Jeffrey quite rightly singles out Derek Powazek for praise.
It was his site Fray that made me realise I wanted to build things on the web.
Luke’s notes from my talk at An Event Apart in Chicago.
Amen, Scott, A-MEN:
You are not blogging enough. You are pouring your words into increasingly closed and often walled gardens. You are giving control - and sometimes ownership - of your content to social media companies that will SURELY fail.
This post is ten years old, but I think it might still be the best attempt to demarcate a difference between web “sites” and web “apps”: think of them as stories and tools.
It’s also remarkably prescient about the need for an effort exactly like HTML5:
A widely-distributed, standards-compliant, browser and platform-independent library of functions that would perform the basic user interface functions for a web-based tool, relying on the server side only for the logic and data sourcing.
A great article by Hannah, focusing on the Long Web—it isn’t about the quantity of data you’re publishing; it’s the quality. This builds nicely on the article I linked to recently about digital scarcity.
A great talk on the nature of the web that Paul gave in Copenhagen recently.
More on View Source, this time from Bruce.
The Web has thrived on people viewing source, copying and pasting, then tweaking until they get the page they want.
How about this for a trip down memory lane—a compendium of articles from over a decade of A List Apart, also available as a Readlist epub. It’s quite amazing just how good this free resource is.
The only thing to fault is that, due to some kind of clerical error, one of my articles has somehow found its way onto this list.
If this were Twitter, you’d be at-replying me with the hashtag “humblebrag”, wouldn’t you?
A nice timeline visualisation of recent history.
This resonates deeply with me. It is worth your heartbeats.
I am a mermaid.
Chris Anderson interviews Mark Andreessen.
This is a very in-depth look at how to become a power user of the Web Inspector in Webkit browsers. I’m sitting down with a nice cup of tea to go through all of this.
This is a beautifully heartfelt post from Timoni:
Every day, I feel things because of the internet, and that’s amazing. Humans have been using abstracted communication for thousands of years, but it’s never been so instantaneous, never so capable of bringing folks of completely different backgrounds together in conversation. This is a huge step. Good job us.
The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic
An excellent longish-zoom article by Alexis Madrigal with an eerily accurate summation of the current state of the web. Although I think that a lack of any fundamentally new paradigms could be seen as a sign of stabilisation as much as stagnation.
An oldie but a goodie: Clay Shirky looks at the design principles underlying HTML in order to figure out what made it so successful. Even though this is fourteen years old, there are plenty of still-relevant insights here.
Yet another great post from Brad:
Whenever I think of the concept of “One Web” and providing universal access to information on the web, I tend to break it down into something much simpler: give people what they ask for.
Matt has transcribed the notes from his excellent Webstock talk. I highly recommend giving this a read.
Mozilla will be supporting H.264 …but they’re not happy about it.
I won’t sugar-coat this pill. But we must swallow it if we are to succeed in our mobile initiatives. Failure on mobile is too likely to consign Mozilla to decline and irrelevance.
I really enjoyed Matt’s talk from Webstock. I know some people thought it might be a bit of a downer but I actually found it very inspiring.
The video of my talk from Webstock, all about wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff like networks and memory.
Some interesting ideas on the commonalities and differences between native apps and the web.
I’m genuinely touched by Matt’s kind words on my Webstock talk. It really means a lot to me, coming from him.
A beautiful reminder from Ben of the scale-free nature of the web.
We must recover our sanity where 100 million users does not represent the goal criteria of every new service. We must recover the mindset where a service used by 10,000 users, or 1,000 users, or 100 users is admired, respected, and praised for its actual success. All of those could be sustainable, profitable ventures. If TechCrunch doesn’t care to write about you, all the better.
If you are fortunate enough to work on your own product, with your own idea, and build it, and ship it, and reach enough people willing to sustain you financially for that immense amount of work, you should be applauded. You have poured in inordinate effort, and succeeded in making something that improved lives.
I love these sketchnotes from my presentation at Webstock.
I can’t fave this picture enough. One moment of Webstock captured by Michael B. Johnson.
Harry interviews Glenn about web intents (web actions). Glenn gives a good clear explanation of what they are.
Some valuable musings from Ben on how browsers could be better — and I don’t mean the usual moaning about performance or device APIs.
In an interesting new twist, Pictos now allows you to put together a custom subset of their icons as a font that can be served from their server just like any other webfont service.
This looks like it’s going to be a great event on February 25th right here in Brighton: a gathering of minds to brainstorm around web intents. Get there if you can.
Emigre’s font library is now available as web fonts that you can self-host (providing you take some protective measures with .htaccess). That means Mrs. Eaves is available for the screen. W00t!
What would Google+, YouTube and Facebook have looked like in 1997?
My short talk from Aral’s Update conference in Brighton last September. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. If I only I had a handheld mic—then I could’ve done a microphone drop at the end.
Rachel tells the tale of how she came to be the splendid web worker she is and finishes with some advice for up-and-coming workers of the web:
Make 2012 the year you go out and do it.
Here’s a challenge for the new year: use each month as an opportunity to try out a new web technology.
Set yourself small, achievable projects to work on and use 12412.org as a support group. We will all help to motivate each other and join in to offer help where we can.
The maker makes: on design, community, and personal empowerment – Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report
This. This is why I love the web.
Not only does the web make publishers of those willing to put in the work, it also makes most of us free sharers of our hard-won trade, craft, and business secrets. The minute we grab hold of a new angle on design, interaction, code, or content, we share it with a friend — or with friends we haven’t met yet.
Burying physical copies of dead websites in a Croatian cave.
A good round-up of what web development means today …and what web developers need to do to keep pace.
Brent Simmons follows up on that Dave Winer post with some future-friendly thoughts:
If I had to choose one or the other — if I had some crazy power but I had to wipe out either native apps or web apps — I’d wipe out native apps. (While somehow excluding browsers, text editors, outliners, web servers, and all those apps we need to make web apps.)
That’s not the case, though. Nothing has to get wiped out.
The great thing about the web is linking. I don’t care how ugly it looks and how pretty your app is, if I can’t link in and out of your world, it’s not even close to a replacement for the web. It would be as silly as saying that you don’t need oceans because you have a bathtub.
Well, this is very intriguing: it turns out that the infamous orientation/scale bug in Mobile Safari isn’t present in in-app browsers (UIWebView). Most odd.
Remembering the camgirl community.
Luke points out that the web is everywhere: it’s accessible through the browser but also through many native applications. This is the real Web Operating System.
The Web (browser) is inside of every application instead of every application being inside the Web (browser).
A lovely new typeface from Nicole Dotin that’s available to purchase as a web font under the very reasonable terms of the Process license agreement.
#816: Revert mobile-first media queries and remove respond.js - Issues - h5bp/html5-boilerplate - GitHub
This thread on whether HTML5 Boilerplate should include Respond.js by default (and whether the CSS should take a small-screen first approach) nicely summarises the current landscape for web devs: chaotic, confusing …and very, very exciting.
This is a great encapsulation of what I’ve been banging on about at conferences for a while now: let’s stop pretending we know the capabilities, network speed or viewport size of a site visitor’s browser.
Given some recent hand-wringing about the web as a “platform,” it seems appropriate to revisit this superb article from Ben. The specifics of the companies and technologies may have changed in the past year but the fundamental point remains the same:
Everything about web architecture; HTTP, HTML, CSS, is designed to serve and render content, but most importantly the web is formed where all of that content is linked together. That is what makes it amazing, and that is what defines it. This purpose and killer application of the web is not even comparable to the application frameworks of any particular operating system.
Andy responds to Joe Hewitt’s recent despondent posts about the web. I tend to agree with Andy: I think comparing the web to other “platforms” is missing the point of what the web is.
See also: http://benward.me/blog/understand-the-web
John reinforces the importance of universal access above the desire to build only for the newest shiniest devices:
Universality is a founding principle of the web. It is the manifesto the web has been built on, and I believe one of the key drivers of the almost unimaginable success of the web over these last two decades. We ignore that at the web’s peril.
An excellent point from Jonathan: both native apps and web apps require an internet connection …and both native apps and web apps can be made to work without an internet connection.
This might sound obvious, but the myth that “only native apps can work without an internet connection” is surprisingly widespread.
While others recall Steve Jobs’s legacy with Apple, Tim Berners-Lee recounts the importance of NeXT.
Glenn has written up the discussion that followed his UXCampBrighton talk on web actions.
A real-world anecdote from Jonathan illustrates some of the misconceptions around using HTML instead of going native. A lot of people don’t realise that web apps can store data offline.
An excellent article that examines the supposed benefits of publishing through someone else’s app store instead of the web.
A truly excellent article outlining the difference between share-cropping and self-hosting. It may seem that the convenience of using a third-party service outweighs the hassle of owning your own URLs but this puts everything into perspective.
Scott writes up some of the things he talked about at the Breaking Development conference: the just-in-time interactions that are inevitable in a heavily-instrumented world.
John pushes back against the idea that browser innovation is moving too slow.
This handy matrix shows the effect of different -webkit-font-smoothing setting on various text combinations (serif/san-serif light/dark, etc.).
An eye-opening insight into web usage on mobile devices in Asia from Paul Rouget.
James attempts to tackle the thorny question of what makes something a web “app” (rather than a web “site”). It reminds of the infamous definition of obscenity:
I know it when I see it.
In short, the answer to the question “what is a web app?” is “fuck knows.”
A great opinion piece from Addy Osmani prompted by the panel discussion I took part in at the Update conference.
Good design and good markup provide structure to content. Good markup is a fundamental part of good design: beautiful on the inside, beautiful on the outside. HTML and CSS give another venue to provide structure to content in the native language of the web, and learning these guides decisions by surfacing the affordances of the medium.