I just discovered the Developer Tools in IE8. WHAT THE?! When did things get so complicated? I suppose when browsers got so capable – however goes some way to explaining why people treat the browser like systems in their own right now. And IE8 and I should fancy also Firefox and everything else has a console I can try stuff out on. How weird – I mean for someone who has not had call to write a website by hand in a long time. No wonder web “developers” can exist purely in web land and still make a lot of noise – web land seems to have all the resources to keep people verybusy and make something like a 20k piece of wondercode seem cool enough to make people’s lives a lot easier. Still, all that piece of code appears to be is essentially a vimrc – a rewrite function that subverts the way the engine works. So what is the browser now – a kernel, an engine, a database? Are developers just DBAs, tweaking and poking the engine to do it what they want it to? And does anybody care about all this cleverness if they’re not actually another web developer? I mean we hear about jQuery and HTML5 but the world is still turning the same way and web pages are as shonky and slow and unreliable as they always were. So what gives with me and what gives with the world of the web?
But I can start to feel a fundamental change in my assumptions. Rather than the browser being the add on – the browser is at the centre and everything else floats around that. But Google tried that and it plainly didn’t work for some very good reasons that Berners-Lee said on a mailing list not so long ago which I would only misquote if I could find it. And so I digress into a Friday reverie of simpler times when you could understand what was going on and not everyone thought they were a developer.
Except of course back then everyone told you to read Zen and the Art of the Internet and The Internet Worm and consider those as even more simple times and looked down their noses at poncy C++ developers with their modern ideas.