The History of the Web logo

Unraveling the web's story

Jay Hoffmann

  • SOAP And REST At Odds

    SOAP And REST At Odds

    Computer programmers like to squabble. I suppose this is true in any profession, but it is most certainly true for programmers. Don’t believe me? Just ask a programmer if you should set up your web services using SOAP or REST. Then grab a cup of coffee, because it’s going to be a while. It would… Continue reading

  • The History of the Browser Wars: When Netscape Met Microsoft

    The History of the Browser Wars: When Netscape Met Microsoft

    Let’s talk about about the “Browser Wars.” They kicked off in the mid-90s, at a time when the world was just starting to come online. The web was still a fuzzy, undefined medium. Those who did decide to visit the web for the first time found themselves standing at the precipice of a technological arms race between two behemoth… Continue reading

  • Putting Web Accessibility First

    Putting Web Accessibility First

    Quite frankly, my feeling is that the primary reason why the web is not accessible or not wholly accessible to people with disabilities today is because individuals with disabilities are not considered as part of the core population when we created the web and web sites and even in its initial design. -Mike Paciello The… Continue reading

  • A Moment In Time with Editors

    A Moment In Time with Editors

    Let’s go back to 1996, in Boston, at the annual Macworld Expo. Not a great year for Apple mind you. It wouldn’t be until a year later that Steve Jobs would make his return, and sales were at an all time low. But it was an excellent time for the web. In June of 1995… Continue reading

  • RSS: A Well Formed Log Entry

    RSS: A Well Formed Log Entry

    How would you structure a feed for syndicating blog content? Remember, it would need to be standard enough for a computer to read and parse it, but simple enough for a developer to implement. Specific enough for web publishers, blogs, podcasts and all sorts of media, but universal enough for edge cases. Not to mention well… Continue reading

  • The Beginning of Black Girls Code

    The Beginning of Black Girls Code

    My dream of starting BlackGirlsCode… was born out of this frustration that “blacks in tech” are often the unmitigated invisible men (and women) in the room. – Kimberly Bryant Kimberly Bryant graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. While still in college, she noticed something. Among students from her graduating class with… Continue reading

  • Tables for Layout? Absurd.

    Tables for Layout? Absurd.

    Web designers that cut their teeth in the late 90’s and early 2000’s probably remember table-based layouts. This was a time when some webmasters forced their sites into perfect configuration using HTML data tables, spacer GIF images and a few kindred hacks. But for a while there, there weren’t a whole lot of options in… Continue reading

  • Before There Were Smartphones, There Was I-Mode

    Before There Were Smartphones, There Was I-Mode

    In January of 1999, members of DoCoMo held a press conference in Tokyo, attended by only a handful of people. At the event, they released a teaser video for the launch of a new service. The teaser was vivid. Blobs of all colors streamed across the screen to an electronica soundtrack. This was overlaid with innocuous terms… Continue reading

  • What the Web Could Have Been

    What the Web Could Have Been

    Before the web, Gopher offered a way to connect to the Internet and share documents. And if things had gone a little differently, it might even be what we use to surf information today. Continue reading

  • A Tale of Two Standards

    A Tale of Two Standards

    It was 2004, and Ian Hickson had just got out of a W3C workshop organized by Adobe. The topic was how to use web standards to address the growing needs of web applications and developers. Hickson pushed hard to simply extend HTML, the existing markup language of the web, rather than invent something entirely new. Others… Continue reading

  • The Rise of CSS

    The Rise of CSS

    The web’s history is filled to the brim with stops and starts and wrong turns. It is a technology that was, after all, designed and built by a shifting and growing community. And every once in a while, that community needs a spark to inspire change. I’d like to point out two such moments, which… Continue reading

  • Purple, Obama, and Single Serving Websites

    Purple, Obama, and Single Serving Websites

    Over the years, the web has assumed a few forms. That of a technological catalyst, a representation of the the times, a community ground. But it also can be very weird, and quite silly. That’s probably how we got single serving sites. Single serving sites follow a pattern that’s probably familiar to you. The site… Continue reading