Creating Commercial Websites – 2017

It’s hard to believe that its been over 20 years now since I wrote Creating Commercial Web Sites with my then wife and research assistant Kim Hampton.  I remember when Macmillan (Simon and Schuster) came to us with the idea.  The World Wide Web was a very new thing back then, and I had somehow gotten involved with putting technology giant Intel online.  Luckily I was still in my twenties then, and couldn’t be daunted as easily as I might have been later.

That book became the de facto bible for creating commercial web sites for several years.  I remember friends calling me, telling me it was being used in their graduate courses, and professors writing me to ask me if I thought the web might take this direction or that.  I was suddenly something of a big fish in a very small pond of developers, a pond which quickly grew until it seemed everyone was learning HTML.

I recently looked back over the book, and was surprised how relevant it still is.  Much of that is due to the fact that HTML and the W3C have progressed at such a glacial pace, but much of it is also due to the fact that the core of the book was about marketing and communications, and while we’ve seen technology improve somewhat in the last couple of decades – particularly bandwidth – the basics of how to interact with each other have not.

So, this blog is in support of those who are still striving forward while remembering the work of those who went before.  The Casey Kasem quote: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars” seems perfectly apropos in describing my own theory of electronic communications.  We do our best to advance the technology, but we can never forget that humankind learned to communicate face-to-face, and the best we can do is to emulate that.