Now that the World Wide Web has been around for so long, it’s easy to forget its history. Web designers and other professionals who work in the industry should be aware of the people, places and events that made it possible for them to make their living helping people navigate cyberspace.
Every field has its sacred spots, places that were vital for certain crucial developments. Just like artists make pilgrimages to places like Florence to visit the places where Michaelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci painted their masterpieces, so web designers should visit locales of similar importance to their own field.
Only many web professionals are sadly ignorant of their history, especially younger ones who have grown up taking the internet for granted. To help remedy this, here are ten places that every web designer should visit at least once!
Interesting Places for Web Designers to Visit
Located at 1600 Ampitheatre Parkway, near San Jose, California. Googleplex should need little introduction to anyone who works in an internet related field. This is no longer Google’s largest complex, as that honor now belongs to a gigantic building in New York City that was purchased in 2010. Googleplex, however, is the famous site of the company’s original campus, the place where the world’s mightiest search engine developed its secrets. Without Google, the web as we know it wouldn’t exist, so what better place for a web designer to begin his or her pilgrimage?
2. Adobe Systems Headquarters
Located at 345 Park Avenue, San Jose, California. After you’ve visited the Googleplex you are only a short drive from the corporate headquarters of Adobe Systems. Anyone who has ever built a website has used one or more of Adobe’s products. This is software that is used so often, and updated so frequently, that a world without it would be unimaginable. Millions of websites were created using Dreamweaver. Meanwhile, without Photoshop, for example, you would have to use unaltered photographs in their original state. This would render the web unrecognizable!
3. Site of Netscape Headquarters
Originally located in Mountain View, California. The original site of Netscape is a bit like visiting the ruins of Pompeii. Although the Netscape site still exists, it is a mere shadow of its former self. As any student of the web knows, Netscape Navigator was once the web’s leading browser. Yes, those old enough to recall browsing the web way back in the 1990s almost certainly did so using Navigator. Today, Netscape and AOL, the equally diminished company that purchased it, occupy a sad little spot on the web that exist mainly as an historical curiosity.
Located in Geneva, Switzerland. How is this organization, whose official name in English is The European Organization for Nuclear Research, connected to the World Wide Web? The fact is, without CERN there would be no WWW, as it was invented in 1989 by a British scientist named Tim Berners-Lee who worked with this prestigious organization. Yes, the world’s very first website was hosted on something called a NeXT computer. While CERN is mainly dedicated to lofty matters such as particle physics, it’s essential role in the development of the web cannot be forgotten!
Various locations, but the main annual event is in San Francisco, California. WordCamp is the name given to conferences dedicated to WordPress, the world’s leading blogging platform. The first release of the now ubiquitous blogging software came out back in 2003. Today, WordPress is used by a staggering 60 million websites, and this number grows daily. For this reason, any web designer who cares about his trade should take the trouble to keep up with the latest WordPress happenings!
6. Microsoft Corporation
Main campus headquarters located in Redmond, Washington. People have wildly differing opinions on Microsoft and its billionaire founder Bill Gates, but no one can deny that this company is one of the heavyweights of the World Wide Web and was integral to its development. Without Microsoft, personal computing as everyone knows it would not exist. The Windows operating system remains the most widely used OS in the world to this date. This means that most of the people who visit any websites you design will be doing so via Windows!
7. Apple Headquarters
Main headquarters located in Cupertino, California. Along with its arch rival Microsoft, no computer company has been more influential than Apple. Like Microsoft, the company has both its rabid fans and its detractors. Either way, there’s no way to ignore its vast influence on the web as we know it. Many of the world’s most creative web designers prefer Apple for its video and graphics capabilities. A true web designer shouldn’t be lazy and just visit an Apple Store but should make the trip to the company’s headquarters!
8. Dice Holdings, Inc.
Corporate office located at 1040 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. FileZilla is probably the best known open source FTP software, so it’s a household name, at least in households where web designers dwell. FileZilla is put out by SourceForge, which also distributes lots of other important open source programs, including Apache OpenOffice, IPCop Firewall, Scintilla and many others. SourceForge, in turn, is owned by a company called Dice Holdings, which is why you’ll have to visit their corporate headquarters if you want to pay homage to FileZilla.
9. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Why should web designers visit this relatively obscure Midwestern university? Because it was here that the web’s first major browser, Mosaic was developed back in 1992. This was the first popular browser that supported multiple internet protocols, making it instrumental in the early development of the web. Today’s browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome and IE were all strongly influenced by Mosaic.
10. Apache Software Foundation
Corporate headquarters located in Forest Hill, Maryland. Finally, no web designer’s pilgrimage to crucial locations can be complete without acknowledging Apache. The Apache HTTP Server represents one of the most important developments in the history of the World Wide Web. In fact, Apache, now serves well over 100 million websites and is used by a wide variety of operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Apple and others.
Now you have an itinerary that will put you in touch with some of the web’s most notable historic sites. While visiting these places may not instantly upgrade your technical skills, they can give you an appreciation for some of the crucial developments that made your profession possible!
Have you visited any of the above-mentioned area before? Share your experience with us!