Natural selection doesn’t just apply to humans, technology like website builders have gone through their own seven stages, discovers Neil Cumins…
In the formative days of the Internet, website construction was effectively a programmer’s skill. Starting from scratch, a site would be coded entirely in HTML by someone who could tell their attributes from their elements. Fortunately for the coding-illiterate masses, a raft of website building packages and services quickly rode to the rescue along the information superhighway. Today, you can design and launch a website without even knowing where to find the < > symbols on your keyboard. But how did website building evolve into an art, rather than a science?
It all began with the WYSIWYG principles of packages like Dreamweaver, launched in 1997 and inspired by developer Macromedia’s vision of how a web editing package could work. The ability to switch between visual display and coding was cutting-edge in its day, and competitors duly entered the market with refinements and new features. From the text-and-graphics minimalism of Web 1.0, integration of third-party packages soon followed. The release of PHP 4.0 in 2000 provided another major step forward in site functionality, and it coincided with the .com boom when every new business seemed to revolve around online sales. It was now possible to add animations, payment systems, interactive forums and user-generated videos. Websites as we know them today had finally arrived.
Although website builders were originally software programs installed on an individual desktop or laptop, the transition to cloud-based operations has been swift and successful. Widgets have also gone from obscure to essential, covering everything from social media links through to satellite mapping. When chosen with care, their presence can add functionality and value in equal measure.
UK2’s own range of services reflects the seismic changes in website building over recent years. This is the modern incarnation of WYSIWYG, with real-time adjustments available for instant preview by visiting the relevant URL. One company can now handle website creation, hosting and management, as well as domain purchase and e-commerce capabilities. This, in turn, has ensured that everyone from sole traders to multinational firms can enjoy the same quality of online presence.
The future for website builders is notoriously difficult to predict, but the current age of microblogging suggests a bright outlook for relatively simplistic services like WordPress, which can be installed as part of a UK2 web hosting package. No matter how many bells and whistles a site has, substance will always outweigh style. The meteoric growth in mobile browsing is presently inspiring a back-to-basics approach among website builders, encouraging consumers to focus on the core essentials of site design to minimise download speeds and accelerate navigation. It’s possible that this trend will itself be reversed in the medium to long-term, as 4G overcomes the issues that currently necessitate simple and streamlined sites for users on the move.
To find out more about UK2’s website builder and the free one-page Instant Website that comes with every domain name, visit the website.