In the past few years, I been have working on creating and maintaining websites. I grew tired of it. Not because the task is boring. I love programming. I would do it just for fun. But the reason why I create website has changed. Maybe it's because I grew up, or maybe it's just that I don't like creating the same thing over and over. One thing for sure is, I will not be working on someone else's poorly executed idea. I will work on my own poorly executed stuff.
Creating website is fascinating. You have the power to share information with the whole planet. But that's not why most people do it. They do it because they think it's cool and it's all about the social twittering like blogospheredom.
Here is what Ajax allows you to do. You can chat with someone else directly on the browser. Yes, chatting can be done without Ajax, but it sure makes it a lot easier.
With Ajax you can minimize the amount of data sent to the browser after each request. You don't have to re-download the stylesheet or external scripts every time you click on a link. So there is a potential to make your website much faster.
This in a nutshell is Web 2.0. But, if you are trying to have an online presence today, you don't have to worry about it. There are tons of services, that allows you to build websites using tools that automatically do everything for you. All you have to worry about is create your content.
Wordpress, Tumblr, Wix, Godaddy, about.me, all those make it much easier for anyone to just have a website. You don't even need to hire a developer
The good part is, all those create Web 2.0s for you. They are all very fancy.
From the moment you decide to create a website, it takes 10 minutes to be published and accessible to the whole wide world. How come not everyone has a website? Or if they do, how come not all of them are game changers?
It takes a lot work to maintain a website. Even if technically it doesn't have to change, people visit a page to fill a need.
Let's say you have a website where you provide people with tips on how to build stuff using Lego. You will write one article, with instructions, diagrams, and explain everything that will be needed to make awesome Lego architectures. The web is dynamic, and eventually you will want to add more. Maybe you will think adding videos will be more useful.
With time you might want to show examples and actually create architecture with your Legos and show it to your followers. You decide that maybe you will create one piece a week and show people how to do it. Eventually you will want to add a comment system so everyone can give you feed back.
It never ends, you have to maintain and improve your website. It grows and maybe receive more traffic than you can handle. You want to customize your website and you realize that tumblr, wix and all those services are limited. So you hire a developer to do the work. It becomes a full-time job. It requires too much of your time.
Then when you are asked about websites, you are not as enthused as before. You don't get as excited as before when someone tells you of a new idea. Not because you think their idea is stupid but because you know that building a useful website requires lots of work.
In the 90s creating a website that did some funky animations was all you needed to get a shot at making money. Not anymore, you will have to work hard to make anything happen.
It was the same with phone apps. Everyone was trying to create the next cigarette app to pay for their third house. That era is over.
Anything you build requires some work. If you want a website for the simple matter of having a page online so people can contact you, by all means take the next 10 minutes and go do it. I'll be right here waiting...
Ok, maybe you want more. Maybe you want to create something of value. Something you can use as an extension of what you love to do. Maybe you are a good singer and want to share your music with the world.
You can start using all the services available to you like Youtube and wordpress and tumblr, and maybe get a nice template on templatemonster. But at the end of the day you will have to work hard to be successful.
Building a website itself is trivial. What really matters is the idea or products you want to show the world. Whether you are using Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 what matters is the people coming to your website. Are you succeeding in sharing your ideas without distracting your users with the technology?
Instead of asking how can I build a website, ask how can I share my ideas. The website is just a mean to an end.
Everyone and their grand mother wants to create the coolest website ever. Where are the people with clear ideas to share. I will tell you who and where they are.
They are using the current system to push themselves in a place that was never possible before. They use YouTube to share their videos, they use twitter to directly contact their fans, they use WordPress to share their big ideas, they focus on what they can bring to the table not what programming language is best.
Technology is at its best when it is invisible. What makes you tick? The file size of your video? Or the number of people you are reaching?
We live in privileged times, and I don't ever want to build a pamphlet Web 3.0 website again.
Instead, I will be here to help make ideas possible. Big or small it doesn't matter. I will use technology as a medium, but my love letter to compilers still stands.
That is how a good website is made.