It's even worse than it appears..
Friday April 8, 2022; 11:10 AM EDT
  • Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Automattic and lead developer of WordPress, said something interesting on Twitter on April 5.#
    • It's amazing how much development, how many startups, and how much funding is going into rebuilding Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver as a web app. (Gutenberg included.)#
  • I've been thinking and writing about evolution and how we never go back, only forward. The great example is the Neil deGrasse Tyson discussion of the evolution of the human eye. The eye originated when our ancestors lived underwater. They don't work well in the air, but it's done. We can't get a better eye. Evolution has finished the eye. Look at all our eyes, every animal on earth has watery eyes. You don't notice it until you look for it. #
  • I think this same idea applies to the evolution of software. The theory says FrontPage and Dreamweaver will never fit well into the writing and publishing environment of 2022 and beyond. The evolutionary fork that took us off that course was when Apple made the decision in the late 80s to make networking virtually impossible to write software for. It was such a tease, because Macs all had builtin networking hardware, and the wires were easy to set up and inexpensive. They wanted all Macs to be connected. But for some reason the APIs were inscrutable. I know, I banged my head against those APIs for years. I gave up when I saw how easy HTTP was to develop for. If Apple had the same insight for software that they had for hardware, if they factored their APIs so that networking could easily be added to any application, as it is on the web, we'd be evolving off a base with a strong well-documented GDI and a well-defined graphic user interface, with guidelines that made sure all software worked the same, as opposed to the user interface chaos of the web. The two worlds are antithetical. #
  • In hindsight, simple networking was more important than a simple and consistent graphic interface. It's why Manila and Radio UserLand took off, and Clay Basket did not (in the UserLand universe). And why Dreamweaver and Frontpage have faded out, and plain text rules. #
  • Now the challenge imho is to swing back to writers, not people who need a lot of stylistic control of text. The people who valued WYSIWYG were the first owners of laser printers. In a world where most people are using smart phones, there isn't that much you can do with wizzy tools that shows up for the reader. Today's writers need the UI to get out of their way, and make it easy to create more complex and useful structures for notes. I think this is the way forward. And we should of course keep improving and simplifying the underlying network protocols. #

Last update: Friday April 8, 2022; 9:56 PM EDT.

You know those obnoxious sites that pop up dialogs when they think you're about to leave, asking you to subscribe to their email newsletter? Well that won't do for Scripting News readers who are a discerning lot, very loyal, but that wouldn't last long if I did rude stuff like that. So here I am at the bottom of the page quietly encouraging you to sign up for the nightly email. It's got everything from the previous day on Scripting, plus the contents of the linkblog and who knows what else we'll get in there. People really love it. I wish I had done it sooner. And every email has an unsub link so if you want to get out, you can, easily -- no questions asked, and no follow-ups. Go ahead and do it, you won't be sorry! :-)