I wanted to call this post “giddy”, but it turns out that word means “having a sensation of whirling and a tendency to fall or stagger; dizzy”. Not really the feeling I was going for.

But, I digress.

I am elated at the direction the web is going in. I am most excited with how far from “web” the web is actually becoming. Watching the web browser become the future of visual expression is exciting, and while in some ways the HTML/CSS/JS triumvirate is tearfully clutching pieces of the technology that really truly just…need…to…die, it’s story is a wonderful example of an organic and purpose-full evolution.

It started out as a simple way to link together and transmit simple text documents, and after a long, strangely stitched labor, it is giving birth to inspiring new ways of visually expressing ideas and information. I mean, JavaScript used to suck, and it can now be used to generate incredibly smooth and colorful 3D content (canvas, WebGL, etc…). I’d say I was excited when I saw python for the first time in 1999, but I have never been this excited about anything related to computers before.
This is because I feel like computing is finally growing up. It is no longer strange but is now mainstream, and has rich purposes that people can relate to without having to think that a computer is even there. Today we aren’t so much trying to get computers to help us do things we have already been doing for centuries, like allow us to read books, look at paintings, or just play chess. Instead, they are finally allowing us to do things that we have never been able to do before.
We can create new kinds of music that would have never before been possible. We can express new ideas in new ways using animations, interactivity, and multiple media at the same time. We can create fine art that becomes new art all on its own because it interacts with other art. Above all, we can actually be more creative.

Because of this, I am in awe and inspired by the “web”. If the true test of a language is implementing itself in itself, then the technology of computing is redefining this test because we have used programming languages to invent new ways to write programming languages – the web browser is becoming the next generation of the computer operating system. Standing on the shoulders of giants we are, no doubt.

Three.js: The page that inspired this blog post.

I was talking with someone earlier today about some work involving interactive presentations, and realized that I was starting to think so far outside the box that the computer part of the equation wasn’t really part of the equation any more. Sure, we know that we were going to use computers for the job, but I wasn’t really thinking in terms of what the technology would allow us to do; instead I was thinking in terms of what we wanted to do for the job.

This is an incredible success for the story of computers.

In this case the success is largely credited to the fact that web browsers kick so much freaking ass right now. And they are kicking a few more asses every day. We are getting flexible tools, rapid prototyping, and performance that was hard to imagine just five (five!) years ago. All of this means that a decent developer with mediocre web experience can sit down and produce something that can blow his clients away in a relatively short time frame if he has a good idea. In my humble opinion, this is the very definition of success in design.

Thank you to all the giants for all the amazing tools that we are enjoying today.