A Call To Arms

The popularity of the Internet is the most important single development in the world of computing since the IBM PC was introduced in 1981.

Bill Gates was quoted as saying that. I'd go further.

I believe that the Internet is the single most important invention we have ever created.

With the Internet we can now universally share information like never before. We can pool resources to solve problems, provide education resources for each other and future generations, and provide support and services (sometimes lifesaving) for almost all our needs. It has revolutionised almost every aspect of our interaction as a species with billions of people now having access to the largest, free, information portal that has ever been created.

The internet is a Good Thing

I am a web developer. I imagine that you, reading this are one also. As such we possess a unique and special set of skills that allow us to create software to expand upon and improve the Internet. I believe that as developers we have an obligation, I would say a privileged one, to ensure that every single piece of work we produce is delivered to the highest possible standard

To do that requires effort on our part. It requires dedication, passion, craftsmanship, and an attention to detail.

At present I don't believe as a profession we do this. I won't go into specific technical details with this post but I will list some of the common mistakes I see professionals make on a daily basis.

  • Multiple blocking requests of unminified resources in the head of the document.
  • Incorrect use of elements rendering websites inaccessible.
  • Sporadic, in-line JavaScript and CSS.
  • Unoptimized, massive image requests increasing page weight.

This is bread and butter stuff, day one stuff and we really should do better.

So here is my challenge to you: Every time you release a piece of work, ask yourself whether it is the best that you can do. Is it fast, lightweight? Is it accessible? Have you followed the defined standards? Have you tested it?

If you haven't, you are doing not only yourself a disservice but also one to the people who consume your work, who depend on your work and you should question your fitness for such an important role.

Strong words I know but we have a duty of care.

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