The history of the web.
Chapter 10: Browser Wars
In June of 1995, representatives from Microsoft arrived at the Netscape offices. The stated goal was to find ways to work together—Netscape as the single dominant force in the browser market and Microsoft as a tech giant just beginning to consider the implications of the Internet. Both groups, however, were suspicious of ulterior motives.
Chapter 9: Community
In April of 2009, Yahoo! shut down GeoCities. Practically overnight, the once beloved service had its signup page replaced with a vague message announcing its closure.
Chapter 8: CSS
The cascade brings order to the web. Through a simple set of rules, multiple parties—the browser, the user, and the website author—can define the presentation of HTML in separate style sheets. As rules flow from one style sheet to the next, the cascade balances one rule against another and determines the winner. It keeps design for the web simple, inheritable, and embraces its natural unstable state. It has changed over time, but the cascade has made the web adaptable to new computing environments.
Chapter 7: Standards
In a prescient moment capturing the spirit of the room, Dan Connolly described a future when the language of HTML fractured. When each browser implemented their own set of HTML tags in an effort to edge out the competition. The solution, he concluded, was an HTML standard that was able to evolve at the pace of browser development.
Chapter 6: Web Design
After the first websites demonstrate the commercial and aesthetic potential of the web, the media industry floods the web with a surge of new content. Amateur webzines — which define and voice and tone unique to the web — are soon joined by traditional publishers. By the mid to late 90’s, most major companies will have a website, and the popularity of the web will begin to explore. Search engines emerge as one solution to cataloging the expanding universe of websites, but even they struggle to keep up. Brands soon begin to look for a way to stand out.
Chapter 5: Publishing
Revolutions, as it were, do not happen overnight, and they don’t happen predictably. Quittner would not be the last to forecast, as he describes it, the sea-change in publishing that followed the birth of the web. Some of his predictions never fully come to fruition. But he was correct about voice. The writers of the web would come to define the voice of publishing in a truly fundamental way.
The content is fascinating and Jeremy Keith’s narration equal parts engaging and soothing.