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The De-Geekifying of the Web

Interesting thought from Darren Barefoot today

We’re rapidly eliminating the technical barriers from web publishing. Publishing text to a website is already about as easy as writing an email. The customization (“make my website pink with scalloped edges”) and intregation (“show my knitting photos and upcoming S&M events on my website”) work isn’t as simple as it should be, but we’re getting there.

I guess I started out as one of the guys Darren describes. Back in the early 90’s we didn’t have the tools that are around today. I’m not sure the tools in between helped very much, I mean Frontpage helped a lot of people create sucky experiences. Dreamweaver probably contributed to as much fangled-nonsense as good clean code.

Much of my programming work in the 90’s and right up to 5 or 6 years ago involved creating bespoke content management systems. They weren’t a patch on Drupal or even WordPress for utility, flexibility and usability. We are in a golden age in comparison.

One of the best things about the current state of the web is how much non-technical users can do. We are not all the way there, of course we have a long way to go, but this evolution of web software has brought about a change in what users do and as important, expect.

What I am doing right now, referencing two other posts, writing the HTML content (with spell check), firing it off to my server, publishing … it would have taken a lot longer back with the old “visual notepad”, Mosaic and command line FTP.

I don’t have any misty-eyed sentimentalism for those times (well, mebbe a little). You have to agree with Lee LeFever, we are at a place where people can tell stories rather than be preoccupied with the technicalities, and we are all better off for it.

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