Jul 29, 2023
As I was reading Tim Berners-Lee’s book on the origins of the web it became clear that TBL has, or had, a real passion for democratising the creation of the web and for people to be able to create content directly in the browser, even editing the content they’re viewing.
We ought to be able not only to find any kind of document on the Web, but also to create any kind of document, easily. We should be able not only to follow links, but to create them - between all sorts of media. We should be able not only to interact with other people, but to create with other people. If interactivity is not just sitting there passively in front of a display screen, then intercreativity is not just sitting there in front of something ‘interactive’.
Throughout the book TBL seems frustrated that his idea that a web browser should also be a web editor never took off:
A long-standing goal of mine had been to find an intuitive browser that also, like my WorldWideWeb, allows editing. A few such browsers/editors had been made, such as AOLpress, but none were currently supported as commercial products. Few items on the wish list for collaboration tools had been achieved. At the consortium we wondered what was wrong. Did people not want these tools? Were developers unable to visalise them? Why had years of preaching and spec writing and encouragement got hardly anywhere? p183
- With Easels, you can create whiteboards/moodboards/dashboards with clippings or live views from the web and share them
- Boosts allow you to restyle and “edit” (override, for you) content on the web
- You can take Notes directly in the browser and share them
I doubt any of this is exactly what TBL had in mind in the 90s, but this idea of being in control of the web and generating and sharing content directly in the browser definitely feels like it fits into his philosophy.