It's about the Web for crying out loud!
s anyone who has had to deal with configuring, programming, or
installing computers knows, having good reference material is
invaluable. Whether it's building a new kernel for a UNIX machine,
writing a Perl script, or trying to get MacTCP and Eudora to work with
a mail server, a clear, concise, comprehensive guide is the best tool
to have at your disposal. Luckily for us, there are already several
excellent references available for these tasks.
I have been working with the World Wide Web (WWW) for some time now, and the best reference materials I have come across are the scribbled notes that I write in the margins and on the backs of FAQs that I have down-loaded and printed out. Depending on the hour that I wrote them, they are either neatly printed and concise, or (by the time I get things working) scrawled, rambling and incoherent. I think it's my training in the sciences that makes me a compulsive note-taker, but that's a story for another time...
I suspect that there are a lot of people doing this on some level or another. As the WWW grows and expands, the amount of reference material needed to keep a handle on things is going to grow along with it. No longer will we be able to keep track of what is going on based on notes we scribble in margins.
But these are not the only considerations for this magazine. There are many things that are evolving as we speak, like VRML and Java. They may become the next step in the evolution of the Web, or they may fizzle and die. Either way, we will cover these topics, and you can decide for yourself which way you think the Web should move---this is the stuff the Internet is made of. Already the web is beginning to resemble a distributed processing environment---one of the aims of HTML: to distribute the load more evenly between server and client. VRML and Java are leaning toward the same distributed model. Are we finally seeing the glimmers of the distributed processing that has been outlined in science fiction novels? These are all important considerations as the Web develops, and the people who steer the course will be the people building the sites, writing the protocols, and working with the Web daily.
WEBsmith hopes to provide a scratchpad, archive, and reference for those of us in the trenches doing the work.