January 16, 2013

How the Web Should Be

Recently Anil Dash wrote an excellent blog post lamenting the web we could have had, the one before Facebook, Google and even Twitter started trying to enclose chunks of it and before links between sites got polluted by SEO (which is really Google's fault for monetizing links).

Anyway, Anil does a much better job of explaining it than I do, so go read his blog post. He's written a good follow-up post too, suggesting some ways we can improve matters.

I got chatting about it in the office to Paul Freeman, or maybe it was more that I started ranting about it... how people don't know that URLs are important, or that they should aim for small pieces, loosely joined, and sites that are of the web rather than just on the web.

And it turned out that he wasn't as au fait with these concepts as I'd expected, and he asked which blog posts he should read, or talks he should watch, to understand what I was on about. So of course, rather than just email him, I'm using my place for publishing things on the web and writing it here on the off-chance it's useful to a wider audience. That's something that Jon Udell, one of the people who deeply understands the web, calls the principle of keystroke conservation.

And we'll start our exploration with a piece from Jon - Seven Ways to Think Like the Web.

Then onto the most important link in this whole blog post. If you only read/listen to one of the things I link to, make it this talk from Tom Coates. He covers the best ways to think about how to build your service, and the importance of good URLs.

Tom's blog post about Native to a Web of Data has the slides, and the audio is on the Web Archive.

More recently, Chris Heathcote gave a great talk about trust and authenticity...

And you can find his slides and links over on his blog.

There are more that I should probably include, from people like Matt Jones and Matt Biddulph and Phil Gyford. However, the combination of my memory and the difficulties of good archives for blogs means I've not been able to dig them out. It was an enjoyable evening poking around and re-reading things though.

That is one thing that books have over blogs though - because they tend to be more considered items, if forces you to work out what is important and discard all the random "ooh, I had a nice day on Saturday, here's a photo" ephemera. The ephemera is important but in a different way to the "this has stood, or I think should stand, the test of time" of bigger ideas or more thought out posts. However, it's hard to know at the time which blog posts are the weighty ones.

Presentations are a useful halfway-house, as they force the "what do you think is important to convey" condensing of thoughts, but as I've pulled this post together I've been wishing for more patina and wear on blog posts - that could have helped me find the things that we all found useful, or kept referring to, and also pointed me at things that I no doubt missed at the time. In a lovely bit of serendipity, I'll leave you with one last presentation - this time from Matt Jones - which covers patina among many other thoughts on Data as Seductive Material.

Posted by Adrian at January 16, 2013 09:57 PM | TrackBack

This blog post is on the personal blog of Adrian McEwen. If you want to explore the site a bit further, it might be worth having a look at the most recent entries or look through the archives or categories over on the left.

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