Who killed the Compositor, please stand up.

Let’s compare HTML (the way the majority web-pages were composted until the early part of this century) and what is currently considered best practice – HTML5 (version 5).

In many ways it’s better to think of the internet evolution in terms of composition than output. My issue with Web1.0 and Web2.0 is that the term ‘read/write’ web was wrong to start with, and that has error has been amplified to the point where the craft of actually composing information has been diminished as being ‘geek’ realms, rather than admission by those with superficial knowledge and skill that it remains a craft and demands as much skill now as it ever did.

The read/write web argument was a lie. It was convenient, but it totally ignored the craft. Worse still it allowed those with the skill to be stereotyped as ‘geeks’. So many people have built their reputation and wealth on doing this … and almost all of them have no idea how to code, yet tell everyone they should do as they do. They are the same people who think Comic Sans is an innovation I guess.

Cast you mind back to the 1960 and 70s, and there was a place in publishing called the Compositing Room. It was technical, mathematical and required vocational training and an apprenticeship).

Changes in HTML itself – as a language – actually allowed us to move from Web1.0 (static, expert composed pages) to Web2.0 (interactive, database driven, dynamic, responsive to user demands pages). To most people, a web-page, or a web-site is just that, they don’t consider the vast differences in the code and methods that produce them, just as people often think today’s search engines are comparable with those a decade ago.

What revolutionized composition was the ability to delete characters before committing to them being set in print. What characterised Web2.0 is the lack of ability to delete – which in terms of composition is a step backwards not forwards.

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