I remember the day that Mark Andreessen announced the Mosaic web browser. In the fashion of the internet, Andreessen and his team released Mosaic as free for non-commercial use. I was immediately struck by the implications that it had for use interface standardization. At the time there was a big competition between Microsoft Windows and the Apple Macintosh for the desktops of the world. Unix was bringing up a close third place. A web based user interface would render the underlying desktop GUI insignificant.
The evolution of the web platform has been gradual. It started out with very clunky user interfaces and very kludgy mechanisms for processing the data and displaying the results. But by keeping a focus on implementing the simplest thing that might work, the platform has become a formidable standard.
One of the most important components in this universal platform was a stroke of luck. Brendan Eich was asked to write a scripting language to embed in the Netscape Navigator Web browser. He originally intended to implement a lisp like language like scheme. This was vetoed by the marketing team as being too foreign looking to programmers more familiar with more conventional imperative languages like C. He was given two weeks to deliver the modified language.
Web based applications are now a popular means of implementing software and there is a special category of web application known as a Single Page Application which runs directly on the desktop instead of in a web browser.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.