A Moiety of Reminiscence
Saturday, January 23, 2016 · 2 min read
I’m not old, but I’m not young either. There are some little details about the last decade’s websites that bring me a moiety of reminiscence. Some things have gotten better, some have gotten worse, and some are just different: but all of them bring back memories of being a curious middle schooler exploring the secrets of the Web.
Here are fifty things that remind me how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.
When I was young…
- …you could learn HTML by clicking “view source”.
- …you wrote your own CSS, by hand.
- …flat design hadn’t taken over. Skeuomorphism was the pretty stuff.
- …nobody minded using the browser’s default styles for input elements.
- …tables often had black double borders.
- …people used the
<FONT>element and the
- …there were two serious libraries: Underscore and MooTools.
- …IIFE was a newfangled trend.
- …Figuring out which key was pressed was a struggle.
- …cross-browser compatibility was harder. Polyfills were cleverer.
- …the best GUI editor was Sublime Text. The vim/emacs war was just as bad.
- …“front-end framework” was synonymous with “jQuery”.
- …you could right-click all images to save them.
- …many people wrote HTML elements and attributes in ALL CAPS.
- …people learned web programming from w3schools.
- …you either proudly supported IE or proudly didn’t.
- …too many sites had nested pull-down-on-hover menus.
- …links you’d already clicked appeared purple on most sites.
- …people started serious projects in PHP. On purpose.
- …your CSS used floats and event handlers, not flexbox or
- …colors were bolder, undiluted by today’s weak (uh, subtle) pastel colors.
- …xkcd references were a lot 1337er.
- …userscripts and userstyles were a much bigger deal.
- …URLs had more question marks and ampersands and file extensions in them.
- …the OSX “close”, “minimize”, and “maximize” buttons were bigger.
- …there was no Node. Using
jscfor command-line JS was a nifty hack.
- …long polling was a thing. No WebSockets.
- …developer tools were basically just ‘inspect element’ and a JS console.
- …your average developer knew how to manipulate the DOM without frameworks.
- …the hot tech projects had .com domains, not .io domains.
- …people set the
LANGUAGEattribute on their
- …“mobile site” meant “annoying overlay prompting to install app”.
- …we used BBCode instead of Markdown.
- …you couldn’t search from the Safari address bar. There was a search bar.
- …there was more URL before the
- …we used screenshots of LaTeX documents for math; there was no MathJaX.
- …gradients. Enough said.
- …every website had some sort of sidebar.
- …rounded rectangles might have outnumbered cornered rectangles.
- …DOCTYPEs were gnarly beasts longer than Gettysburg Address.
- …the Google logo had serifs and a shadow. Google Doodles didn’t move.
- …most sites actually had
wwwin their canonical URLs.
- …plenty of respectable projects had homepages on SourceForge.
- …image-based view counters were pretty hot.
- …everything was beginning to look like Bootstrap.
- …there were a lot more pop-ups.
- …table layouts were beginning to go out of fashion.