Archive of: world wide web

  • The origins of the Web

    The web is like the ship of Theseus—so much of it has been changed and added to over time. That doesn’t mean its initial design was flawed—just the opposite. It means that its initial design wasn’t unnecessarily rigid. The simplicity of the early web wasn’t a bug, it was a feature.

    Jeremy Keith on the origins of the web and the false idea that it was designed solely for sharing documents.

  • A place to play

    We were helping test Ruth’s new site in the Digital Oxford Slack a few days ago, and the topic of easter eggs and silly little things came up. Ruth wanted some quotes from us to scatter in amongst the source of her site, and we helpfully obliged.

    It reminded me of a little tribute that I added to the HTTP headers of this site when Terry Pratchet passed, and how your site should be a place to play, and experiment.

    So I’ve added something else. You’ll have to go find it though.

    I’m going to play more.

  • 10 Rules of Internet

    8. When a company or industry is facing changes to its business due to technology, it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work, rather than trying to understand the social underpinnings.

    10 Rules of Internet – Anil Dash.

  • Lockdown

    That world formed the web’s foundations — without that world to build on, Google, Facebook, and Twitter couldn’t exist. But they’ve now grown so large that everything from that web-native world is now a threat to them, and they want to shut it down. “Sunset” it. “Clean it up.” “Retire” it. Get it out of the way so they can get even bigger and build even bigger proprietary barriers to anyone trying to claim their territory.

    Well, fuck them, and fuck that.

    Lockdown – Marco Arment.

  • It's going to happen

    From Ben Hammersley’s speech to the Information Assurance Advisory Council:

    [Moore’s Law means] that anything that is dismissed on the grounds of the technology-not-being-good-enough-yet is going to happen.

    It’s a fantastic speech on pre and post Cold War generations, networks vs hierarchies, and the failure of governments to come to terms to what is happening in society. Highly recommended.


  • The open web and data silos

    The mistake my VC friends make is they think it’s either/or. Either you support the open web and are a charity, or you build a silo, monetize it, and get rich. What really happens is that the silos are eventually undermined by the open web.

    From Dave Winer. More good stuff in his post on what is actually meant by the “open web”.

  • Print on demand and hyperlocal data

    I received my invite to the beta of Newspaper Club the other day and ever since have been trying to work out exactly which of the many stupid ideas I’ve had are feasible (not many it seems).

    As luck would have it Brian Suda’s always excellent has a great post today ruminating on print on demand and the PaperNet (a term originally coined by Aaron Straup Cope).

    Needless to say, we thought about how memorable it would be if you went to look at a house and the home-owner didn’t give you a simple A4 sheet with an address (yeah, thanks we managed to find the house already, so you giving us the address isn’t much help) instead they gave you a 12 page newspaper about the area. How well the school system is compared to other areas, where is the nearest shop to get some milk on a Sunday morning, a list of restaurants nearby, information about the parking discs and council tax, etc. If a home owner gave me a newspaper about the area and the stats looked good, I’d be sold!

    The post is full of inspiring examples of this intersection between The Internet, print on demand and hyperlocal data sources.

    Now, if only I could come up with my killer newspaper idea.

  • Mainstream journalists in "still not getting Twitter" shock!

    Shane Richmond of The Telegraph lays into those mainstream journalists and commentators who are still confusing Twitter with a publishing platform.

    To criticise Twitter for its content (or, I should say, your perception of its content) makes as much sense as criticising the content of the telephone networks or the postal service. Like them, Twitter is a means of communicating. The content communicated has no bearing on its value.

    And as he rightly recognises, they’re not used to being called on their knowledge and veracity.

    It’s now possible for columnists and companies to hear what people are saying about them. That’s unnerving for columnists, not least because their opinions are now frequently challenged by people who know more than they do. Instead of responding like adults – correcting when they’ve made a mistake, engaging when someone raises a sensible point and defending themselves from false accusations – they are whining like children and dismissing technologies that they don’t understand.

    (Hat tip: John Naughton)

  • Who is Drupal's target audience?

    Leisa Reichelt reflects on what Mark Boulton and herself learnt during the D7UX project this summer, and puts her finger on a big issue facing the Drupal community going forward: who is the target audience?

    And so we have this tension. Drupal as a ‘Consumer Product’ and Drupal as a ‘Developer Framework’. Currently, the official direction is that the project is going to attempt to be both. I think this is a serious problem.

    The target audiences for each of these objectives are so far removed from each other in terms of their tasks & goals, their capabilities, their vocabulary, their priorities. An attempt to devise an interface to suit both will result in an outcome that I expect we’ll see in the release of Drupal 7 – that is a compromise to both parties.

    (emphasis mine)

  • Design in the Drupal community

    From a fantastic piece by Christopher Calicott looking at how front end design and development is treated within the Drupal community.

    Having such high standards for writing PHP code while playing so fast and loose with front end code and treating it as though it’s a non-issue, even while the rest of the world does it this way, is not only a gross double standard within the Drupal community, it is currently beginning to get the attention of the Web world outside of Drupal — and not in a good way. We’re positioned in the press to take off like a rocket and gain real longevity, and yet in the web design community – people who talk around the world at conferences, on podcasts, et cetera – are starting to hear that Drupal, despite the good things about the code they’ve heard, makes minced meat of their beautifully executed, semantic XHTML, and there are no plans within the leadership of the Drupal community (yet) to raise the standard for front-end code to the same degree that they have on the backend.

    Firstly, developers take writing code very seriously and have stringent – but ultimately plain and simple – coding style rules to follow with their module development. Designers have the same sorts of practices. It’s what they do and it’s equally as important. It is time that that is fully recognized in the Drupal community and an effort be made to bring this paradigm (elsewhere largely already in practice) into our community. Designers feel just as strongly about a developer playing fast and loose with improperly written, unsemantic XHTML as developers do about designers who make dumb mistakes with PHP or try to talk shop when they are out of their depth. In fact, dare I say it – if you’re writing poor, unsemantic XHTML markup, it’s due to your lack of understanding of what you are doing, at this point. Web standards are widely adopted in the Web world. Drupal ignores this fact at its peril.

    It’s an issue that’s been bubbling under for a while, and this is the best treatise I’ve seen on it yet. Required reading for anyone involved with Drupal on any level.

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