Lynn Schirmer

The Future Web

I was behind the times, by at least 8 months, if not a year or more.  I don’t know where my head was, exactly, but I had not kept up with the latest best practices of front-end  web coding through the mid and to the end of 2011. It was a most non-fortuitous mistake.  While I looked away, the entirety of the web design universe shifted.  So much for pastel and paint!

I think I’m on my way to catching up however, and it’s been a fascinating journey. In the course of about a month, I’ve transitioned from my (older) XHTML standards on to HTML5 and CSS3, with all of their exciting new features and changes. I am also now finally introduced to the theory of responsive design. I had not previously invested the time in making sites for mobile devices. My customers either had no budget for it or I had not recommended it. I also felt it was important that a significant portion of the design community wait and force device makers to render our sites well as currently coded, and for the most part, they did. With current browser implementation of the latest front-end coding however, we are now in a good position to meet them half-way, and the community has done that and more via responsive design. It’s all liveable for the moment.

During my re-education process, in one of the endless comment streams in the seemingly endless debates over how to build things now on the web, someone said, “Stop trying to spec everything, it’s all going to be machine language.” I think he’s right.

I am not young, and I remember the tutorial back in the 80′s, as I toured the computer labs at UIUC, with my then programmer boyfriend, who went on to a high-paying position with Intel, straight out of graduation. What he explained about the development of the graphical user interface, and how it was built on successive layers of languages, one upon the other, increasing in complexity in how they “spoke to the computer’s core” has stuck with me all this time. Machine language was one of them, if not the primary step, and then Assembly language and so on, I believe.

So I agree with the frustrated commentator, we do need to “get there” with programming for the web. While we are far past a “‘machine language” analogue at this point, we do need to get to some sort of OS (Operating System) so that interface and visual designers can focus on beauty and usability and not code. At present, our hands are tied and our minds distracted with endless, ultimately ephemeral, minutiae. As much as it may be exciting for programmers, for us artists, it’s a bit of a bore.

2 Responses to “The Future Web”

  1. Brian

    Hi Lynn,

    Broken link to the page.

    You know when I had a chance to go to Europe for the first time many years ago Florence and Paris were the two cities I picked as well.



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