The Changing Web

Fascinatingly, to me, anyway, while many of us prefer to concentrate on design, content, and experience, it continues to be necessary to remind our work comrades (or inform younguns) about web standards, accessibility, and progressive enhancement. When a site like Facebook stops functioning when a script forgets to load, that is a failure of education and understanding, and all of us have a stake in reaching out to our fellow developers to make sure that, in addition to the new fancy tricks they’ve mastered, they also learn the basics of web standards, without which our whole shared system implodes.

This doesn’t mean “go be an HTML guru.” It does mean cherish the lessons of the recent past, and share them with those who missed them (or missed the point). Wisdom is not a job, but it is always an asset.

Jeffrey Zeldman in It’s 2014. Is Web Design Dead?, a response to Jeff Croft’s Web Standards Killed the HTML Star

I love HTML and CSS. They’re as much art as they are science. That’s why I create with them.

If we view the average web worker’s skill stack as a cake (this kind of cake – opens in a new window), at least two of those layers are HTML and CSS. You can make that third layer and icing out of whatever you’d like: design, UX, accessibility, etc. And guess what, you can change that or add layers. It’s the web! Fluidity and flexibility mean something around here, but you’ll always need those two layers of HTML and CSS. They form your base and will serve you well. The rest is up to you. Do your best to welcome change, in technology and yourself.

Apps vs. The Web

“Apps are a great intermediate play, a way to scale up functionality of a primitive Web, but over time they get outcompeted for all but the most complex platforms by simpler and more standardized alternatives. What will get complex will be the ‘artificial immune systems’ on local machines. What will get increasingly transparent and standardized will be the limited number of open Web platforms and protocols that all the leading desktop and mobile hardware and their immune systems will agree to use. The rest of the apps and their code will reside in the long tail of vertical and niche uses.”

Futurist John Smart, founder of the Acceleration Studies Foundation in The Future of Apps and Web by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Help Stop SOPA and PIPA

Today, WordPress asked its community of 60 million users to act against the possible legislation of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. You can help too. This is an important thing to do for anyone who makes a living on the web. As Jeffrey Zeldman of Happy Cog and A List Apart says:

“(SOPA) [is] an ill-conceived lobbyist-driven piece of legislation that is technically impossible to enforce, cripplingly burdensome to support, and would, without hyperbole, destroy the internet as we know it.”

Let’s not let ill-formed legislation, written by people who know nothing about technology, destroy the Internet. Actually, screw that. This isn’t so much about technology as it’s about freedom. Act now!

The Web Can Cost a Little Bit

Free services litter the web. The web is built on “free” after all.

Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and the like all give services away, supplementing it with advertising and account upgrades. That’s called freemium. I use to be totally opposed to paying for things like that. Friends upgraded their Flickr accounts. Not me. I switched to Posterous.

Lately, my thinking has shifted. I laid down the paltry amount of $25 a year for an upgraded account to Remember the Milk, an online task management app and site. The upgrade gave me the site’s sweet Andriod app. Just yesterday I paid $9 to open an account on Pinboard, an online bookmarking service. Sure, Delicious is still viable, but I grew tired of it long ago. I tried Google Bookmarks, but missed RSS feeds and the public nature of bookmarking. Thanks to a post by Andrew Spittle, I discovered Pinboard.

I love both these services. Does that tell you that you get what you pay for? Probably not. I just think it means I, and others, are willing to pay a little extra for an efficient and beautiful experience in our web tools.