Architects of the Web. (fwd)

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 13:22:41 -0500 (EST)

As some of you may know, I'm out in LA right now, trying to figure out how to
get the gospel on Web Architecture out to the world -- a personal crusade,
beyond the W3C's institutional one. Adam and I went out to compare the
competition and found a brand new release on the shelves claiming to tell
the story of the Web. It's completely out-of-line from my perspective and
completely popular outside W3C/Web development circles.

This book is the distilled essence of our image problem: at one level that
we are not seen as a player, that our behind-the-scenes role is minimized,
that we are not the heart of controversy (thankfully!). At the deeper, more
chilling level, it is an idictment that the world does not understand what
the REAL role and implications of Web technology are. It's just seen as
a business curiosity, with no deep, definiing insights or long-range impact
on society.

The problem goes far beyond the lack of credit for Berners-lee, Connolly,
Raggett, .. (and I do mean TOTAL lack of credit). It's that our fundamental
role, the wider web development community, our vision and hopes and fears,
are completely unrepresented.


Forwarded message:
> From Mon Mar 31 06:00:33 1997
> Date: Mon, 31 Mar 97 03:00:05 PST
> From: (I Find Karma)
> Message-Id: <>
> To:
> Subject: Architects of the Web.
> Initial reaction to:
> _Architects of the Web: 1000 Days That Built the Future of Business_
> by Robert H. Reid, John Wiley and Sons, 1997.
> This is a downright infuriating book, which implies that the Web's
> success over the last 3 years has been due largely to 8 entrepreneurs,
> and their insights will guide the Web for the next 30 years.
> The author wrote the book in transition from lackey at Silicon Graphics
> to head of his own Web business consulting firm (for which this book
> gives him instant credibility, no doubt).
> The Web 1991-1994 is given little more than a sweep under the rug (sure,
> TimBL invented it, but he was only interested in keeping it under raps
> for research and academic use only until Marc A liberated it with a
> flourish of his bastard sword +6 a/k/a the IMG tag). The World Wide Web
> Consortium does not exist in this book, and Microsoft exists only as a
> sleeping dragon who is waiting for the Web to come and slay it (I kid
> you not).
> >From this book's POV, the people responsible for giving the Web its
> history and business relevance are:
> 1. Marc Andreeeeesssseeen, Netscape - portal to the Web.
> 2. Rob Glaser, Progressive Networks - uniting sound with sites.
> 3. Kim Polese, Marimba - vitalizing the Web.
> 4. Mark Pesce, VRML - bringing a third dimension to the Web.
> 5. Ariel Poler, I/PRO - bringing demographics and advertising.
> 6. Jerry Yang, Yahoo! - finding needles in the Web's haystack.
> 7. Andrew Anker, HotWired - bringing publishing to the Web.
> 8. Halsey Minor, CNET - merging media with the Web.
> The book gives a nice plug for Silicon Graphics from time to time, and
> completely underplays and/or doesn't play the importance of the
> TECHNOLOGY architects of the Web as impacting its overall history
> and commercial appeal. To the point of being infuriating.
> This is the kind of book that reads like the stream of consciousness pea
> soup that spews from the mind of Rohit all the time.
> Still, the stories of those 8 people are kind of interesting in their
> own right, and let's be fair: Reid doesn't know technology, so why
> should he try to present the stories of the actual Web architects?
> His book makes smart business sense for himself, even if it misses the
> boat from an technology standpoint. One would expect the W3C to correct
> this. If they don't, then history will remember the victors, which in
> this case is not them.
> Yeah. Why is Pesce's name associated with VRML and not Raggett's? Why
> is Andreeeeeesseeeeen attributed with building a portal to the Web and
> not Berners-Lee? What of the good work of Connolly, and Fielding, and a
> few hundred other people who made the technology feasible in the first
> place? What of their stories??? Please don't relegate them to the
> dustbins of history just because no businessman understands the crucial
> roles they've been playing where the Web is concerned...
> ----
> Some people have a way about them that seems to say:
> "If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a jerk."