Websites of the 2080s
30 May 2012
By that time we will have resolved a lot of technical issues. Formats will be even more standardized, maybe resembling something like magazines and how templated they are.
HTML is merely a collection of bracketed tags inserted into text files. Barring the development of quantum computers, or quantum/classical hybrids (which Kim Stanley Robinson calls ‘qubes’ in his latest novel, 2312), text files will remain what they are today. HTML as a collection of tags need not necessarily go away.
When I began implementing my Journal as a localhosted WordPress database, I did so with the understanding that my Journal as a collection of Word.docs was likely to be unreadable in 20 years, whereas HTML was probably future proof.
CSS is another form of text file, but it is already giving was to LESS/SASS as an interface for writing it.
Present + 30 years
By 2042 then, we may have something else. Browsers will still be able to read a webpage from our era by piping the text files through a deprecated renderer, or some form of built in emulator (something like what OS X began using with the introduction of Roseta).
In the past month, I’ve dived into exploring WordPress themes and understanding the possibilities offered by WordPress as a CMS. I’ve used it as a blogging platform for five years, but only in the past six months have I begun to understand its use and potential to drive contemporary websites. The technical sophistication offered by off-the-shelf themes I found frankly stunning, and it is this model I foresee going forward. However, it is this very complicated collection (the WordPress backend remains a mess) that I imagine will be stripped down and simplified, so that by the 2080s, the database to text-file interface will be streamlined that there will be nothing complicated about it.
All of this inter-relation could be integrated into one backend coding interface, and we’ll have something like this eventually.
- May 2012: Published to my blog
- Aug 2015: this version produced, with copy edits