Monday, 12 April 2010

What goes around comes around

I left school at 16 to become a professional racing driver. That led me briefly into a career as a mechanic where I realised that the job, like most involving manual labour, was being superseded my computers. Realising that’s where both the future and the money was, I went for a career in IT which lead me to the internet industry, which opened the door to other businesses and also into the world of amateur journalism, which lead me straight back to racing where I am now a paid racing driver.

It’s a similar story for the godfather of Datapartners, Peter Banks. He set out to become a rock star and tore up the US charts before his band split up. After this, he moved into the recording studio he’d built which led to him spending more time using computerised equipment. This led to forming a computer company, which in turn evolved into an Internet business, which then re-ignited interest in his band and resulted in them reforming. So, as with my racing, the circle completed.

This brings me speedily rock ‘n rolling neatly onto the subject of website evolution.

You see when websites first appeared they mainly consisted of text on a page and maybe a couple of images. Soon, however, they started getting more advanced. Animated gifs became all the rage because people could have logos that spun around, Flash came on the scene and suddenly everybody wanted a website built entirely in Flash. Sound became the “it” thing and people started wanting pointless sound effects whenever someone rolled over their flashy button. Javascript started allowing sites to have quirky things like those wonderful dropdown menu bars that became so popular in 2001.

With the rise of the Google Empire, Search Engine Optimization companies started springing up everywhere trying to make money off the back of Google. First they told us not to use animation on a site because it distracted the visitor. Sound effects became a taboo because they caused pages to take an eternity to load. Then they told us that Javascript was bad and Google would smack our bottoms if we used it. They then told us that Google would not be able to see any sites that were built in flash. Then they told us not to use font tags and tables and instead start building sites completely using text and formatted using stylesheets.

So what we have now are websites that are mainly just text on a page and a few images. In other words, websites are back to what they were in the first place. The only difference is that they look a bit nicer.

So there you have it. The evolutionary cycle of life will always come full circle. Perhaps that’s why the majority of the inhabitants of this country are degenerating into apes who can only communicate using grunts and whistles. Nevertheless, one thing is absolutely certain: The Internet is a truly magnificent invention and can open doors to endless possibilities.

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