The other day, I had a chat with one of my sixth graders about websites. He’s interested in technology, mostly in terms of app development and mobile devices, but he was wondering about how the Web works. I pulled up the source code on our classroom website, and showed him what is really behind the magic of what we see.
He was transfixed. It was the first time anyone had ever shown him how to lift the veil of the Web and see the actual invisible infrastructure of the language that makes the Web run as we see it, as something we take for granted is a visual experience. I liken it to some magical experience. What we see is not necessarily what the reality is. It was this shift, via Netscape, into the graphic nature of the Internet that changed everything, right?
And someone, or more likely a collective somebody, has worked to make this experience of using the Web what it is today and what it will be tomorrow. There’s obviously a long line of innovative people — from Tim Berners-Lee, to Marc Andreesson, to countless others — who have radically changed the way we interact with information via the Internet. Seeing the source code of a website is an eye-opening experience for people, like me, who don’t often think or consider why this blog works the way it works. A look below the hood makes you appreciate the complexity of the code, even if it feels like a foreign language to most of us.
Give it a try. Check out your own source code (mostly, you can do that by right-clicking on a webpage and using the “source code” option). What do you notice about your site? We’re examining with the Web in Connected Courses, so this is a good time. Go deeper. What do you see?
Peace (behind the visual),