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Web Development - Keeping Current?

Web development has evolved from "the early days" of the mid-1990's - a mere decade and a half ago. I remember typing <html> etc in a text file to build web pages, posting the pages on a web server, submitting the domain to search engines, and having them appear in the results within minutes. <font></font> was the standard and WYSIWYG had not arrived. In web design, the pace is swift and a web developer can find that they are "an old horse" quickly. <font></font> has been replaced by <style="font-color:red;"> and Cascading Style Sheets - style.css. ASP was left behind by Microsoft and ASP.NET. HTML is being threatened into extinction by XHTML.

So, as a web developer how do you keep up in an industry that changes faster than you change your socks? When do you decide to implement a new style that may not be recognized by older browser versions – which your non-web savvy clients still use? When do you switch from happily coding ASP to using Microsoft Visual Web Developer that is slower than molasses. .htm, .html, coldfusion, cgi, asp,, javascript, php, perl, .gif for flat colors, .jpg for photographs, .png for both, and .swf for action. New browser versions, new versions of Adobe Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and new hardware to run the new software... It's enough to make your head spin!

Does there exist another industry in history that moves this fast?

I love learning and want to implement the latest advances so that my clients' websites load faster and are easier to crawl. But what about the many websites built previously? If you have an operation in the 1990's most likely the surgeon cut you open. Today, many operations are performed microscopically. The thing is, they don't have to go back and redo your operation just because today's technology is better. Advancements in the automobile industry are implemented with new automobile models, but the old models are not upgraded.

What will happen to the millions of "older" websites if one day XHTML took over and no new browser version understood HTML? Maybe this is a good thing. It might weed out the websites that have not been updated in years and the ones that have had "Coming soon..." on the homepage for the past decade.

Hmmm, while planning for the future is the norm, planning for the past seems appropriate here. I wonder how soon I will need to rebuild this page?

Posted on September 18, 2009 | Permalink | Join email list

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