I was recently talking to a developer who had just read this piece and joked that the destiny of the Web is that it catches up and becomes the right platform for the next job.
I don’t see it that way at all. If anything, I think that natural forces tend to want to put Web technologies into the box of “content format”.
It is easy to understand why that would be the case. The Web was born as a series of documents with small but mighty hyper powers. The same evolutionary forces that have resulted in the platypus as well as the mighty lion allowed the Web to change to be an app platform of sorts, starting with simple interactivity and then growing more and more dynamism and external powers.
As soon as the Web grew those powers and we got to see high scale implementations we had the mobile boon. Thankfully evolution keeps trucking (when you have fantastic engineers with vision and patience) and thus we got to see the mobile web come into being. Fast forward a year and we are seeing the flip of desktop and mobile but we must not misread the situation and forget the importance of desktop.
The evolution continues. There is still a strong role for the Web to play and many players are needed to help. The beauty of evolution on the Web is that there is such diversity to the players, each of whom can add much randomness, a crucial part of trial and error. We have browser vendors pushing the bar, with Microsoft fully back in the game (including the immense amount of effort it takes in creating the new engine and tech backing Edge), and Apple being seen more in public and in deeds.
Framework authors and builders of all sorts of tools are able to participate too. We can all look at how CoffeeScript helped push features in ECMAScript. We can see how Rails had a large effect on Ember and other opinionated frameworks. React has many re-thinking how their structure their systems. And Polymer acts as the Tesla, pushing away at the platform from close by. These are but a few. They also but right up against the practitioners who are trying to get things done and built. These roles overlap, and often some people wear multiple hats, and the system keeps on moving.
But it is hard work. The Web could easily fall back to being mainly a content format if we don’t keep up with the increasing pace of innovation and changes in our lives.
So, since it is thanksgiving I want to say a large thank you to all of you who push to make the larger thing better, even though it can be messy and there are rough edges. It would be a lot easier if we could chop of more of the features on the Web, but that would leave a lot of people behind.
I have been thinking about how we need to have mechanisms to allow for more trial and error on the Web, but I don’t want to do so by leaving people behind, and that post is for another day.
These days I can’t help by see some parallels in my work ecosystems and the larger ecosystems of the world.
For example, you can study the impulse for humanity to be tribal people. The pieces of wet ware and the system we are in to sometimes fight for a pie, or to feel like we are part of something. I strongly feel like our prime mission is one for all of us. We need to fight for the human race.