(This page is a little rough around the edges.
I'm gradually writing it, and uploading when i get more done,
because i've got people looking at it already :)
Please don't mind.
— 24 may 2015
What is Web?
OK puppies, here's Thing Number One: It's all TEXT
Here's the TL;DR
Web is: web pages and websites linked together
Web at its base is TEXT, with codes, to be interpreted by programs and passed to
othe programs, one of which may be a web browser which passes it to you the user.
Web at its base is not a visual medium. It's not television. It's not a magazine.
Web is something completely new. And wonderful. And if you use it or develop it like
it's just another movie or poster, you are missing the point and the power.
Note the letters. They mean something:
- WWW = World Wide Web
- HTML: Hyper TEXT Markup Language
- HTTP: Hyper TEXT Transfer Protocol
- Notice these key words: World. Text.
- Text, linked together, all over the World,
In order to share Information, as Content
- Everything else - videos, pdfs, jquery, images, sliders, all the fun stuff,
is on TOP of the basics.
- The basis of all the magic is:
- Your good content - articles and stories, are text.
- Programming is also text. HTML codes are text.
- Open a jpg in an editor like Notepad++ or vim. Woah! it's characters! Text.
Web is: INFORMATION. TEXT. WWW.
- If people can't get the INFORMATION that you want to give, as TEXT,
after all the CWT is stripped away,
than you are not WEB, and don't pretend that you are.
OK? Now you can peel off if you want, that's my main point. If you want to know more, here ...
Before i start laying it on you ...
i want you to be in a frame of mind
to take me seriously. So here's some Big Impressive Facts about me:
- Been making websites for 23 years.
- The websites i make last. Domain name doesn't change, old content
is still part of a rebuilt site, links may change but they don't break.
My own websites are 19 and 10 years old.
The oldest website i have built for someone else is 13 years old.
Design has changed of course. CONTENT is new and fresh, and old content is archived.
These websites work.
- I use websites. I read, i search, i learn, i enjoy.
- For those of you that are impressed by degrees: Sorry. i don't have one.
- For those of you that are impressed by money:
When i left US, i was making $80/hour.
So i had some kinda skillz. And i know a heckalot more now than i did then.
OK. You all impressed now? Great. Now listen up.
Thing Number Two: Internet is not Web
The Internet is the infrastructure that the Web sits
on top of. It is great, it is damn wonderful, you use it all the time ...
When you are using the Web.
So, you didn't "find something on the Internet" — unless you have better
mad hacking skilz than i do. That's like saying "I found something on the road."
(And you probably didn't "find" it, like you would happen to see a lost earring
on the floor of a shop!)
You probably used the WEB interface to the Google
search engine, which had a link to a WEB page that you looked at.
Or you were following links from a WEBsite, which took you to this thing
that you "found".
And while we're at it: email is not Web. You often see and manage it through
a Web interface (like gmail), but it is another animal: SMTP.
This may help:
What is the World Wide Web? at BBC.co.uk.
WHAT is a web page?
"Every web page is a user interface. It presents information to the user,
and the user can interact with it ..."
Thing Number Three: There's a constant trend to make websites that aren't Web
Sure, they may look damn good at first load.
But they are bad bad bad.
Design vs User Experience
(Pull in image)
Here's a few:
that code is the core CONTENT of the page. not searchable, not savable.
A blind or sight-impaired person has no chance to get that code, their
tool can't read it.
- A page that gives its core info - CONTENT - in images.
- Two pages that i can't give link target to section i want to refer to.
http://fodian.net/world/ texts. no target, scroll down.
the other one.
- Pages with overlays/slideouts/popups/wiggleworms that interfere with reading the CONTENT.
And wow, look at this, it seeems to be possible! an interesting and usual article,
nothing getting in the way of me reading it.
It's not like this is new. Been fighting this same stupid fight since the web began!
When we first started making websites,
everybody's using the tag and making fonts all different colors.
Then we discovered sideways scrolling, and animated gifs. And counters.
Now those are old, we are hot young modern people, and we are doing sliders. modal windows. css rotating.
It's the same damn shit.
(This is cute in its place. This is a "brochure" site.
But i still think i would get more out of it if it cut the crap
and just presented the information.)
"how youth and technology can disrupt conflict and empower nonviolent activism"
what the hl does that *mean*??
Notice that once they get down to giving you actual information, it goes back
to good ol' white background, paragraphs. TEXT.
but: that damn "light" font. wtf.
If you are fascinated by things that move, well that's great. It's totally natural —
all monkeys are. And nothing wrong with it — It is fun.
So go make apps or gifs or something.
Just don't pretend that you are making Web: readable, lasting websites.
OK, let's get positive. What do we do?
- If you build Web, you should use Web.
Then you stop seeing it as a poster in a browser, and start seeing it as ... something else. a new thing.
- If you can't control your urge to make some HoppinPoppin Slider or Godawful Infinite Scroll or Annoying Modal Window,
then do it right:
Use it where it is appropriate (woah, occasionally it is appropriate —
that's why the dem things were invented!)
is your webpage/website still usable?
but ... but ...
- But Jaaaaames, this is an interactive Tibetan dictionary, or an infographic/visualizer thingie (like TrackoGraph!
- That's fine. In fact, that's great. That's what those techniques are for!
Just be aware what you have and what you are doing and why.
- Is the data behind this great web app backed up somewhere safe?
Is it in a format that can be used by other programs ... used by them later
when the current format is no longer used? ...
- Does the owner of the data have access to it, to the backups?
- Is your great web app secure, so the data doesn't get corrupted?
so the data doesn't harm people's computers, other websites, cause
harm to living things?
this is too hard
See the next section. You have one of the most powerful technologies
ever in the palm of your hand. "Power" does not equal "easy".
Q: Why is james so upset about this, c'mon, mellow out.
Understand the incredible power you have under your fingers.
Web (and Internet) is the most powerful thing you have in the (physical) world today.
If you are wasting it on ..., you are just throwing this away.
People in many countries are under torture in prisons, for using their
voice on the Web for freedom.
(more: Also, it is the reason i am alive, and the reason i am in India (for Tibet).
so i kinda take it personal when you act like dumb puppies with a toy.)
If you could get a machine gun just anywhere, and all you know
is how to jam in a clip and pull the trigger ...
well that is what you have with the Web.
It's not so visible. and you don't see the blood.
So you don't know.
It is your responsibility to know!
Protect the users of your website, and your friends inside Tibet
There are people inside Tibet in prison because of
security problems in offices and web sites in McLeod Ganj :(
Hackers are able to access information in office computers,
and websites help spread the viruses that get the hackers in.
Be actually useful. Make sure your website really works, really helps.
In these modern days, the web and the internet are the
most important and powerful tool (even weapon) that we have.
The webmaster makes sure your website is useful, easy to use, easy to find, easy to search, fast ... and more!
-  Content = Information
it can be visual and audio, it can even be something like a game.
but bottom line, text is the information that is going to last.
- CWT = Cute Web Tricks. Also known as SWT: Stupid Web Tricks
Cute Web Tricks are fun. But they are not Content. And often they distract from or
even worse hide Content.
All content not copyright by anyone else is
copyright © 2003–2015 James Walker.
License for use is the GNU Free Documentation License.
here in the
at the Free Software Foundation,
It would be great to have Tibetan and Chinese translations of this page.
Can you help?