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A Decade of Digital Development

The advent of 2020 brought with it an air of reflection and reminiscence around the globe.

As 2 × (2 × (222 + 22) − 2) dawned upon us, the increased digitisation of our culture, our lives and our history became more apparent than ever before.

With then-and-now challenges booming across social media. Surges of people pedantically posted pictures of how they have changed over ten years. The internet, in turn learning and feeding it’s data to little Criminal Minds-esqueprofiling robots.

For those who existed in a world before social media. A time when phones were not smart, and could be considered ‘mobile’ should it fit in the passenger seat of your car.

The survivors of the Y2K bug may have found themselves looking back how things have changed this millennium.

If you remember further back then you are probably just miffed that 2015 has been, and gone, yet you still don’t own a hoverboared!

I too found my myself squinting back through time to where all this Primitive stuff began.

Early Web Development

The Internet, or specifically the World Wide Web, was born deep in the belly of CERN. Between 1989 and 1991Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a renowned Colonel of the Geeksphere, took some advanced technologies, created some new stuff (HTML), put it all together, and birthed the monster we now know as The Web.

This was all to satisfy the information sharing desires of researchers, or put simply, to appease the whims of Scientists.

( ? _ At this point I was mainly: Watching Terminator 2 _ ? )

Eyewitnesses said that the exact moment The Web was invented occurred during a tea-break at CERN.

Therefore, it’s conception can be adequately represented by the equation; Boffin plus Boffin, over a muffin equals The Web.

BOFFIN + BOFFIN / A MUFFIN = THE WEB

A stone throw later, in 1993, against both Sir Tim’s recommendation and his vision, Mr Andreessen definitely introduced something new into the HTML Seman-TRIX.

The Mosaic Browser was released. With it, the <IMG> tag was unveiled.

One thing it was not like: it was not like being in a library. The whole experience gave an intense illusion, not of information, but of personality. I had been treating the ether as a kind of data repository, and I suddenly found myself in the confines of a scientist’s study, complete with family pictures.

Gary Wolfe – WIRED

( ? _ At this point I was mainly: Playing Sonic the Hedgehog _ ? )

Then in 1994, under the watchful eye of Sir Tim, a not-so-secret international organisation named the W3C was formed.

Their purpose. To create and protect a set of standards for this new world of the web and to S.H.I.E.L.D them from deviants.

This happened just when the world (wide web) would need it the most.

In the year 1995, Microsoft the evil giant, released a Titan which would later wreak havoc in every corner of The Web.

It’s name was Internet Explorer and it’s arrival marked the beginning of the Browser Wars.

In retaliation the diligent boffins at CERN, teamed up with the W3C in 1996 to produce the Jisawweb server. A new headquarters for The Web to live and to further grow.

Later the same year, the not-so-secret “Nice Dres-CSS” project was completed and the W3C released guidelines on how The Web should be dressed.

The Web now had an official costume.

Finally, in the summer of 1997. Like the Avengers in glasses, The European Computer Manufacturer’s Association came together and gave the world JavaScript.

Or, the general-purpose programming language formerly known as ECMAScript.

( ? _ At this point I was mainly: Playing Abe’s Oddysee _ ? )

From here on the developers “periodic table” of markup, style sheet and scripting languages has more or less remained the same.

So let us skip forward a decade. To where my digital adventure began and I find myself with one of the most dangerous things known to man. An opinion ?.

Enter the Monkey

At times, when discussing jobs I’ve done or where I’ve been so far in this life, I feel it resembles the “I used to be one” line from Mrs Doubtfire.

Descending from farmers and publicans I started working younger than most. I worked (and lurked) around farms and an old 17th-century Inn throughout school. I then worked as a chef throughout at college (media studies) before spending the ensuing years ‘entertaining’ revellers across the UK and Balearics.

Around 2004, feeling I had spent sufficient time “finding myself”, I thought I best get a normal job and do normal things like normal people.

Henceforth, my Development journey began. Initially as a Change Analyst where, quite accidentally, I would learn (X)HTML and a few other bits while writing macros.

Back then, systems like this powered world banking.

Moving on, after spending a brief time as a stockbroker, I decided I shall turn myself into a web Designer.

Little did I know, given the extensive number of popular Programming, Scripting and Markup Languages that can be involved in delivering a simple little web page to you. This would be no simple task.

Circa 2008 I would have produced my first commercial projects for clients. Static websites, branding and the odd email template for local businesses.

At this point creating websites was much like the art of paper cutting.

Paper Cutting

Generally a .psd or .ai design file was created, passed to the developer. The developer in turn went about cutting said design into tiny little jigsaw-like pieces.

These pieces of the jigsaw would then be rammed into a table to imitate layout.

Yes, I faked it! Everybody did. What you, the end-user, were looking at back then was a spreadsheet in fancy-dress.

Then, just when you thought you had a beautiful website to share with the world, that darn Titan IE would show up and take a huge MS-DOS all over it!

To accommodate browser quirks and the various incarnations of The Titan a plethora of x-browser fall-backs and hacks needed to be applied.

A large proportion of the websites, games and apps I created in the first few years were built with Flash ActionScript, a language which will officially be ‘Deceased’ by the end of this year.

Of all content management systems.

WordPress (63.3%), Magento (1.3%), Joomla (4.1%).

Trends. Consumer trends, Web Design trends, Colour trends, JavaScript trends, E-commerce trends, Tech trends, Design trends, Current trends. Interest in versioning. The general state of JS, both front and back-end, the state of the Octoverse, programming language PopularitY or The Importance Of Being Earnest.

To the thoroughly modern codemonkey, web development can be seen as more like dressing a skeleton. But must be done from the far side of the room.

Like natural languages, the programming languages used to control machines must conform to rules of syntax and semantics.

Despite there been noticeable buzz surrounding Ruby on Rails a decade ago PHP has not only endured but seemingly won this battle.

Behind the browser’s veil. C languages have finally taken the top spot from Java and it’s persistent dance of a thousand updates.

( ? c:/dos/run ? )

JavaScript has leaked into everything and is known by many names.

Of course fashions have changed over the past 23 years.

HTML, CSS and JavaScript as languages have all evolved.

They don’t stay the same for long before a revised set of standards and specifications arise. Pathing the way to the promised land of peak performance and efficiency.

AR

Magic UX

It’s truly amazing what can be done with just a single div.

What’s next for The Web?

a dagger can be used to represent a footnote.

let'z b friends 4eva