My new project: Web Development History ⏳

Introducing Web Development History, an online history of the internet for developers and the technically curious.

Hello Cybercultural subscribers! I’m excited to introduce you to my new project for 2021: Web Development History (WDH). It’s a blog (remember those?) and will eventually be a book. But you can get all the content via email, just like with a Substack newsletter. I’m aiming for two or three posts per month, so it won’t overwhelm your inbox. The content is totally free, so I’m not fishing for subscription revenue here. This is a passion project, pure and simple. Want to know more? Here’s an FAQ:

Who is WDH for and why aren’t you updating Cybercultural any more?

Great questions… so WDH is an internet history written for developers and the technically curious. As a tech journalist, I classify myself in the second camp — so you don’t necessarily need to be a web developer to subscribe. My goal is to chronicle internet history from a development perspective (most internet history books, websites, podcasts, etc, are from a business perspective). I want to describe how the web actually works and how that has evolved over the past 30+ years.

As for Cybercultural, the email newsletter you signed up for, that was my online project for all of 2019 and a couple of months pre-pandemic 2020. But after COVID-19 swept the world, for various reasons I decided it was time to knuckle down and get a job. So I began working for The New Stack, a tech site run by my former ReadWriteWeb colleague Alex Williams. I love the job and the people I work with, and so Cybercultural fell by the wayside over the rest of 2020. It was a nice experiment in 2019, but it didn’t end up making any money.

Web Development History is a side project, so I’m doing it in whatever free time I have when I’m not working or spending time with my family.

So, web development — that’s what you wrote about in the early days of ReadWriteWeb wasn’t it?

Why, yes! Very perceptive of you. I am going back to my roots here and exploring the history of web development. That includes the Web 2.0 period I covered with RWW (2003-2012), but also of course the decade or so prior (early web and Dot Com) and the period after (dominated by cloud computing).

What are some of the first posts you’ve published in WDH?

Check out the beginnings of my survey of JavaScript, to get an indication of how I’m tackling this massive project. I’ve pasted a few links below.

I will be taking a chronological approach within topics. So for example, JavaScript is a big topic and I will tackle it in a series of chronological posts starting from 1995. At the same time, I may start or re-start work on other topics (e.g. exploring the history of cloud technology on the web, starting with Amazon Web Services in 2006). The upshot: although each topic will be covered chronologically, the blog will jump around the web timeline to keep things interesting.

This sounds awesome! How can I subscribe?

You can sign up to receive each new post via email or in your RSS Reader. Go to the homepage of Web Development History to choose your preferred option.

WDH is something different to Cybercultural, so maybe it isn’t your cup of tea. But if you are at all curious about how the web has evolved over the years, and you like a good tech history narrative, then I think you’ll enjoy my new project.

Thanks and see you around the interwebs!