March 22, 2003 - Saturday
Webstering: As if I know what I'm talking about
>I was wondering, with the rise in
>net-awareness and easy availability
>of tools for designing/developing,
>a LOT of people have started
>coming out of the woodwork as
>internet specialists... in India, the
>term webdesigner is often applied
>to a 16yr old with frontpage or
>dreamweaver armed with the
>Comic Sans MS font.
Same as here in the USA. It seems like everybody these days has a little niece or nephew pounding out page after page of WYSIWYG spew. Some of it actually looks remarkably good, though, and functions very well, even if the underlying code is an alarming fright and the content not only vacuous, but misspelled. Many of these kiddies have visual talent, but without a commensurate depth of understanding of what's going on underneath: Artists aren't always craftspeople. Ah, well. Quality has never really been a driving feature of the internet anyway. Same as anything: books, magazines, TV, movies.
Not that I know anything, or am not vacuous myself.
>I work with a webhosting company as
>a php/html programmer yet find
>myself constantly researching other
>online fields... 2 years of this has left
>me a jack of all trades, master of
I think that's a good thing to be. Generalists are often better able to synthesize disparate bits into cohesive and inventive solutions than specialists. There's an awful lot of people with very broad knowledge of internet-related skills around, but I think those numbers will shrink as the internet moves more toward being just another multinational corporate moneymaking tool of increasing complexity churned on by pigeonholed pigeons with two-year degrees using WYSIWYG software, unable to debug their own work, spurred on by middle-managers with their jobs riding on the bottom line. (How's that for cynical?)
>the term webster comes pretty close
>to describing what a lot of developers
>are becoming... or have to become to
>keep themselves abreast of online
>As such, I'm compiling a list of things
>a 'webster' needs to be familiar with,
>i.e. navigation, accessibility, designing,
>content building, etc...
I'd say that list is adequate, along with a deep comprehension of the standard markup languages of the day, and decent skills on whatever graphics programs (both vector and bitmap) are the most comfortable and effective for the particular webster.
Everything else helps, certainly... but without a strong and wide foundation, a person is either a charlatan or a narrow expert. Somebody says, and I think I hear Garrison Keillor's voice saying it, "Do good work." That's the key, I think. Do good work. Some of the most startlingly effective and beautiful and inspiring websites are the simplest, written with the most basic HTML.
Admittedly, however, that seems to be getting harder to do anymore. I'm not sure why I think that.
>I'm sure in a few months, 'webster'
>might become as popular a job
>description as 'webmaster' or
>'programmer'... could you email
>me a list of things that you, as the
>official word-coiner of 'Webster'
>can think of ?
I wish I could take credit for having coined that word. When I started using it, I thought I had—for about a day. I think it's one of those things that any large number of people arrive to about the same time, independently.
I think of "webster" along the same lines as "doctor" or "shopkeeper." There's doctors of all sorts of different things, from general practitioners to neurosurgeons to sports-injury specialists. They're all doctors. And there are as many different shops as there are things to sell, kept by the widest range of humanity. Similarly, "webster," to me, is a very general, non-specialized term; from there, each person has their own credentials.
And, as a special added bonus, it's gender-neutral.