Intro — My Journey with the WWW
“Can you build a website using this?”
What met my eyes was the Microsoft Frontpage manual on the table. I was at an interview after a surprise job-related call through school. It was sometime in 1997; I was a Junior in an art college in New York City and barely halfway through my first HTML course.
This is how my career has started, which I did not know at that time, along with the internet boom in the late 1990s.
My life as a Gen X somehow has been intertwined naturally with the history of modern technology: I was born in 1971 — the year the first Intel microchip was invented; the year 1994 was the year I moved to the United States from Seoul, South Korea, switching my major in Statistics to pursue Art, then to Computer Art, which happened to be the year Sir Tim Berners-Lee also moved from CERN to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
I still remember the Netscape logo, the “N” over the green horizon on the screen over my classmate’s shoulder. When I asked what he’s doing, “I can watch videos and read free stuff here.” The videos at that time were as tiny as a matchbox, yet while cramming at the computer lab (I switched to Computer Art major from Fine Art) for the final project week, locked in the lab overnight in the city, we often enjoyed group-watching videos or funny sites.
We swam in 256 colors and pixelated images while giggling at the dial-up modem’s ping sounds. Even AOL’s “You got mail” made it to a movie. Then came XHTML, Flash and ActionScripts, Lamp stack, Dreamweaver, Napster, the rise of smartphones, WordPress, Facebook won the market over MySpace, the app boom, …and the list goes on.
Looking back, it’s been a journey with never a dull moment. Personally, especially as a female developer/often as a team leader, I am grateful to the opportunities to collaborate with such talented people around the world for numerous projects and for a variety of clients, including some Fortune 500 companies.
Observing the current trend, I see a flood of buzz words, frameworks, APIs, microservices, cloud computing, CI/CD, a million different ways of building websites pouring out every day — obviously not as simple as how we used to handle in the past. It is exciting, yet I don’t deny that it could be exhausting at times. One thing is clear that there may not be one silver bullet these days. The goal now seems to seek the most efficient way to handle things “at the moment” — the architecture, the build plan, and the capacity to understand its limitations can be a helpful guiding light in my view.
Not only the development but also the design field has been through many evolutions. Call me biased, but facing the era calling for more efficiency and flexibility in designs, some intuitive online UI tools (Figma and Framer) are leading the UI market exceeding what most known desktop-based design tools offer.
Now, what does this retrospect boil down to?
Over the past 20 years, many tools have come and gone. Every day, new technologies are introduced and improvements are made to existing ones. Yet what holds the fort tight and steady is the ever forgiving HTML.
HTML is like the grand ocean welcoming all types of water. Through many iterations of stubborn and opinionated IEs (now fast forward to 2020, Microsoft vows to open source), Flash vs. apple war, and shiny and loud social media era, HTML has always been there, like your old friend, observing all these rises and falls, yet not forgetting one thing — its role to keep the Web fair, available for everyone.
So here is the breakdown to back my rambling on why “start with HTML” in 2021:
- Start with HTML — Part 1: HTML, Home Sweet Home
- Start with HTML — Part 2: Flexible outside, strong backbone inside
- Start with HTML — Part 3: The rise of browser power and progressive web apps
“About Hanl Network(하늘네트)”
During the unprecedented pandemic situation that started in 2020, I had a chance to reconnect with what I had left back in South Korea. “Hanl Network(하늘네트)” has been founded as a collaboration with close friends based on the need we felt for a culture that nourishes open source and more accessible and affordable technical education opportunities in South Korea — especially for the future generation.
Hanl(하늘;haa-nul) means “sky” in Korean. We adopted that name as there is no border in sky that remains always open and connected, welcoming all. Currently, the focus is simply on providing quality open source information as a start. We plan to branch further out meaningfully within a year or two. Stay tuned…