20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

December 11, 2010

The excellent Fi development firm put together a site titled “20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” for the Google Chrome Team. The site is written in HTML5 (you don’t have to use Chrome to view it but you need a current browser; I used Firefox 3.6.13), with an amazing interface that looks like you’re reading a really sharp book. The book pages turn as if it’s a real book—without redrawing the page. The site also remembers where you were in the “book” when you return at a later time. After looking at a couple of pages, take a peek at the source code (HTML5 is a whole new world).

As for the content, the foreword to the book says, it’s a “short guide for anyone who’s curious about the basics of browsers and the web”. The material really covers the gamut of what the Web is, beginning with TCP/IP in 1974! There are 19 topics, with about 2-3 pages per (the 20th topic is actually a recap). Some of the content is basic—the kind of thing that might help your parents understand how the Web works—and some is sufficiently technical. Initial topics covered include HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and the forthcoming HTML5. Other sections focus on features of browsers: plug-ins, extensions, cookies. The section on Web apps does an excellent job of discussing the benefits that Web-based applications have over traditional desktop ones. Several of the mid- to later sections properly explain the security concerns surrounding Web browsers and the Internet (common fix: use a current and up-to-date browser). And although the site was developed for Google Chrome, it’s not too Google-centric, in my opinion.

All in all, definitely worth checking out!