Sunday, December 27, 2020

Webpages and HTML5

I started working on my chess instruction website 25 years ago. I originally wanted to write a book, but I turned it into a website instead. At that time, only a small minority of people had Internet access, and web browsers were still at a primitive stage, with the first one being Netscape. Initially, when I got on the Internet, I didn't even have a web browser, but I was using computer programs to play chess and access email on the Internet. I was also accessing a type of text bulletin board called Usenet, which before web browsers was one of the more popular things to do on the Internet. Today it is almost nonexistent. When I finally did download Netscape to my computer, I wasn't even sure what I could do with it. The Internet was so slow, it didn't seem like there was much point to it. Over the last 25 years, but mostly in the last 10 years, there has been a quiet revolution going on. This has happened so slowly that most people didn't notice. The first web pages, like my website which hasn't changed much over the last 25 years, were no different than pages in a book. If you clicked on a link or a button then that simply took you someplace else. The most sophisticated thing that webpages could do was allow you to enter information, like a password or to type an email. However, people wanted to do more with webpages, like play video or play games. This is why in the 2000s many websites told you that if you wanted to look at their website then you had to download a piece of software, like Flash, to make the website work. There were so many versions of Flash that people kept having to download updates in order to access certain webpages. About 10 to 12 years ago people were criticizing Apple for not allowing Flash on their iPhone and iPad, saying that Apple wasn't allowing you to have the full Internet experience on their devices. However, Apple felt that Flash was outdated and slow, and they thought that the upcoming HTML5 would replace Flash, which it mostly did. HTML is like a computer language that runs on your web browser that controls how web pages will look and act on your Internet device. The revolution over the last 10 years is that websites now can do almost anything that you could do with a computer program. The site has a complicated user interface that does things that I would have thought not possible on a webpage. It is like a sophisticated computer program but inside a webpage. For the average user who is not technical savvy, it just means that webpages developed more features over time. Like I said, this happened so slowly that most people didn't notice the change. It also means that we don't necessarily need computer software to perform tasks, and computers like Chromebooks try to do everything on the Internet. If webpages have become much more sophisticated over the last 10 years, then what will they be like 10 years from now? I don't know, but in the 2000's I was noticing a trend where we were moving away from computer programs and more toward just doing tasks on the Internet. Maybe in 10 years, people will not need any computer software, except for their web browser. That is already true for people who just access social media and email.  


No comments:

Post a Comment