Let There Be Light In The Darkness
Thursday, April 1, 2004
I wrote this at the beginning of 2002 while channeling my energies into the Windows Forms book. I never published it, but I liked it (and I’m in writer avoidance mode as day #2 past my due date rolls by), so I thought I’d share it:
The Dark Ages, a period of five centuries beginning in 5 AD, marked a time of intellectual darkness and barbarity. A ruling feudal class kept a firm grip on their over-worked peasants in small enclaves eking out a meager living from the soil. Only lonely, isolated monks were able to record knowledge using primitive tools to painstakingly inscribing it into hand-crafted volumes, each unique and each unavailable to their fellow man. Only pilgrims and adventures, willing to endure long journeys and brave many hardships, had the chance of obtaining this secret knowledge. Finally, the Renaissance, brought on by the spread of knowledge in approachable formats using inventions like the printing press, was able to rejuvenate a weary world and bring about a period of intellectual growth and achievement that continues to this day (interrupted only briefly by the Reagan years).
The Browser Age, a period of ten years beginning in 1991, marked a time of user-interface limitations and lowest common denominators. A ruling standards body kept a firm grip on their over-worked participating members in companies large and small, eking out a meager living from IPO wind-falls. Only lonely, isolated web masters were able to record knowledge, using primitive HTML to painstakingly code it into hand-crafted pages, each unique and each unavailable to their fellow programmers. Only Perl programmers and regular expressionists, willing to parse tangled byte streams and scrape many screens, had the chance of separating the data from the presentation. Finally, .NET, brought on by the spread of the information available programmatically to rich client applications using inventions like Web Services and Windows Forms [ed: and soon, Avalon], was able to rejuvenate a weary software world and bring about a period of productivity growth and achievement that will continue until long after we retire (interrupted only briefly by the Internet Bubble burst).