Pushing envelopes and mining the hills
Although I did begin my days on the web by pouring over the HTML and HTTP specs back in 1994, I soon abandoned that effort and learned how to make web pages by example like most webmonkeys and hacks came to learn it. I wasn't ready, back then, to read a document like the HTML spec. But now, Mark Pilgrim makes me want to give it another serious shot, having leveraged the CITE tag in his weblog writing to pull a view of his entries by cited source. He's good at sneaking in smarty-pants things like that - you probably never knew he was doing it, you think it's wonderful when later revealed later, and then you wish you'd done more homework. Maybe "you" is just me. :) You think he plans these things in advance? I want the Mark Pligrim syllabus.
Of course, the problem with the way so many webmonkeys learned to apply some semblance of web standards was the web browser. If it showed up nicely in the browser, it was Good. If ugly, it was Bad. If invisible or without apparent effect, it was Ignored. And this mindset worked great for the busy page builder up till 4:30am trying to cobble together the latest brochureware site.
But now, after all the rushing around and recontextualization of business, it seems we're in the Winter season around here on the Internet. Not so much new feverish development going on, but a lot of reexamination and introspection - and actual reading of specs. And some really nifty things are going on, like the "rediscovery" of things that were there from the start but not too many people were careful enough to pick up on them at the ass crack of dawn while trying to launch another blight on the web. (No I'm not bitter about those days at all - no wait, yes I am. :) )
So, anyway, Mark Pilgrim wrote: "Let?s try pushing the envelope of what HTML is actually designed to do, before we get all hot and bothered trying to replace it, mmmkay?" I really like his point. Now that we're done rushing around trying to solve the insane demands of the moment, or trying to "add value" for the stockholders, maybe we can do more mining into what's already out there that we all trampled and stampeded past in the early years.
Or, rather, maybe I'm a "we" of few or one here, since obviously some people have already started mining the hills for neglected gems.