We don’t want the field to de-democratize and become the province solely of those who can slog through a computer science degree.
So we need new tools that let everyone see, understand, and remix today’s web. We need, in other words, to reboot the culture of View Source.
See, view source is a human right. Since the beginning of the web, thousands, probably millions, of users have bootstrapped their way to technical understanding through exploring the way the existing web is put together. I did. You might have done. And you, we, should be able to. And more than that, we should be encouraged to. For fun, for experience, for education, for revolution.
James is right. And he’s made a script to encourage further exploration.
welcome.js adds a friendly message to the console when it’s first opened, as well as links for users to find out more about the console, and programming in general.
Here’s the video of the talk I gave in Berlin recently. I had a lot to squeeze into a short time slot so I just went for it, and I got bit carried away …but people seemed to like that.
Jake describes the pivotal moment of his web awakening:
I explored the world wide web. I was amazed by the freedom of information, how anyone could publish, anyone could read. Then I found a little button labeled “View source”. That was the moment I fell in love with the web.
It all goes back to having a ZX Spectrum apparently. Pah! Luxury! I had a ZX81—one K of RAM …1K! Tell that to the young people today, and they wouldn’t believe you.
Anyway, this is a lovely little reminiscence by Jake, although I have no idea why he hasn’t published it on his own site.
This is the worst idea for a W3C community group ever. Come to think of it, it’s the worst idea for an idea ever.
I like this suggestion. If you’re using minified CSS in production, it would be a nice gesture to have an easily-discoverable unminified version for people to view source on.
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.
Stuart on the importance of View Source.