This s#!7 is magical.

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I recently had to come up with a short bio statement, and so I just kinda rattled off whatever came to the top of my mind and hit send and there ya go. But one thing that I wrote keeps coming back to me and so I thought I’d write a little more about it because it makes me feel like a special snowflake.

What I said was this:

“Every day, I help people figure out how they can use the web to communicate with other people, and it still seems like magic to me every time when I hit refresh and it looks like I though it would look. I love my job. It’s why I left my lucrative career as a dishwasher.”

And it’s really true. I was a dishwasher. The other stuff is true, too. :) It is amazing to me that any of this stuff -websites, that is – even works at all. Now, I’m not conscious of it every time I tweet something or open an email, but when I stop to think about what it takes to take a website from an idea to a Thing That Works… I’m just awestruck.

“Wow, Marc, that’s super boring! It’s just a thing I use, like a car or a coffe maker. Simma down.”  OK, well, I am also fascinated by those things, too, but that’s for another blog post.

Just take a moment and think of all of the hoops that an website has to jump through just to get born: first it’s an idea, then it’s taken from a sketch to an approved comp  (which is another treacherous journey in and of itself) and then built out into an html layout. That’s a ton of work. HTML, CSS and JavaScript all working together like three brilliant stooges, each of them dependent on one another. Everything in the right order, versions and libraries and preprocessing… the skill and creative thinking that has to happen just to get that to work is amazing. And it’s not even live yet!

The labyrinth of technology that this assembled idea has to go through just so people can see it is fantastic. The server and its languages and php and SQL and how they assemble everything for delivery.  All of the various channels and wires and things that the code has to travel along, modems, ports, routers and cables.

And then there’s the computer. The insane complexity of a computer. I have so much respect for computers. So much so that when I open one up I’m afraid to even look at it because it just reminds me of how much I rely on something that, at the end of the day, I really know very little about.

All of the different languages layered on one another to form an operating system that finally assembles everything in a browser. Amazing! What an adventure for that idea. It is also amazing in a Darwinian sense that so many bad ideas are able to claw their way in to existence, given the path that they have to take.

So, anyway, yeah. I like building websites. And I’d like to thank Bonnie Bucqueroux for giving me my first opportunity to do it all those years ago. It’s still a trip.


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