On the most-recent Track Changes, Paul and Rich from Postlight were discussing the ‘old’ web (the document-driven pages-linking-to-pages one) and the new web, which is either a new software-delivery platform or not even the web anymore.
At one point they mention a local government clerk’s site - court records, thousands and thousands of documents - should it stay in the ‘document’ model? Should it be ‘shrink-wrapped’ and put into an app? “Now it’s a little icon next to Temple Run.”
Where does the data go? Is there still a ‘website’? (“IRS.gov will continue to be a web site for 25 more years, at least,” they say, around the 13-minute mark. Instagram, on the other hand, would be hard to conceive as an old-fashioned page-with-image, click, another-page-with-another-image, site. “Shrinkwrapped” vs “web site.”
It may be a Wild West mess, but somehow I think they both keep existing. Funny that Rich mentioned the clerk’s website, because the conversation had me thinking about the hot-fad mobile phone Pokemon game from a year or two ago. When my kid first showed it to me, standing in our living room, my first thought was “Hey, they have the outlines of all the houses in the neighborhood… How easy/hard was it to scrape that info from the County Clerk’s website? Probably easy; there must be third-party services that are doing that sort of data scraping constantly.”
(Then you start thinking, “Wait, as a local taxpayer I have to help pay for the software licensing and the local labor to get all that info into the county website, but Apple and Nintendo get to use it to make a zillion dollars?” Answer: Be careful what you wish for. Swapping out free and open public records as a resource, something like public infrastructure, for pay-to-play usage, is dangerous. Our public records laws are in enough danger. But that’s a rant for another post…)
Despite what we know about mass transit, we still have horses and buggies, and cars operated by humans (“Can you even imagine?” they’ll say…). Despite the old-web and the e-reader, we still have paper and vellum and papyrus.
We’ll still have “web sites.” We just also have these other things. (Whether the post-neutrality ISPs will let us access the old-web and its documents-linking-to-other-documents remains to be seen, tho’.)
Buuuuut the thing they mentioned near the end is what stuck in my head; bemoaning the loss of View Source as a developer resource, especially for newcomers. They say, starting around 23:30, that it’s become a somewhat familiar topic in the last few years. So I guess here’s my dumb opinion:
“View Source” alone \is no longer useful _and_ shouldn’t be mourned. It might’ve been a valuable resource in 1997, but Codepen, et al, weren’t around, then. The learning resources have flourished endlessly, replacing and improving on “View Source” as an necessary step in web-building education.
You know what View Source is? This:
It used to bum me out that my kid showed no interest in getting behind the TV to help me wire up any of his game consoles. But it doesn’t matter.
What I was mourning was pulling a Zenith away from the wall, screwdriver in hand, Mom convinced I was about to electrocute myself, because I needed to get a new “GAME/TV” RF converter box connected via a pair of u-clips to the VHF antenna screws.
BB eventually figured out that HDMI cables aren’t too complicated. He recently set up his own TV, computer, and gaming gear in his apartment, without needing to ask for help. That he’s not interested in electronics ‘under the covers’ is not because he didn’t have a Zenith; it’s just not his jam.
The games are better, the gear is easier to plug together; it doesn’t mean we’re discouraging future EEs. They’re out there, cruising iFixit and offering to swap out their classmates’ spidered-glass phone-screens for extra cash.