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The Communal Cycle of Sharing

November 18th, 2019

What I’m interested in this year is how we’re continuing to expand on tools, services, and shared side projects to collectively guide where we take the web next, and the way we’re sharing that.

So many other mediums—mostly analog ones—have been around for ages and have a deeper history. In the grand scheme of things, the web, and thus the job of building for it, is still pretty new. We talk about open source and licenses, the ebbs and flows of changes of web-related (public and for-profit) education, the never-ending conversation about what job titles we think web builders should have, tooling, and so much more. The communal experience of this field is what makes and keeps this all very interesting.

The sharing aspect is equally, if not more important, than the building itself.

I thoroughly enjoy seeing browsers share more of their new builds include. I’m grateful that we have multiple browsers to work with and not one monolithic giant. I’m obsessed that websites like CodePen and Glitch exist and that sharing is the main goal of those services, and that people’s lives have changed because of an experiment they created or came across. I’m touched that people make things for their own needs and feel inclined to share that code or that design process with someone else. I’m also glad to see design tools focus on collaboration and version control to improve our process.

Recently, I was thinking about how delightful it was to set up Netlify to host my site and also use it for client work at thoughtbot. I used to try to understand how to set up staging previews based on pull requests or scratch my head as I tried to understand why the “s” in “https” was so important. But now Netlify helps with those things so much that it’s almost like that side of their service was built for people like me.

The Communal Cycle of Sharing

But, it gets better. In a community Slack, a fellow web builder says “Hey, Netlify’s a great tool and my static site generator now works on it.”

So then here I am at midnight and wide awake, starting a new demo repository using 11ty.

Fast forward, and another fellow builder shares their project Hylia, which makes starting an 11ty site on Netlify delightfully easy.

And all of this is freely available to use.

Putting this all together, I realize we’re moving from a place where we’re not just sharing what we have, we’re working to build and improve on what others have built. And then sharing that, and the cycle continues. In a way, we’ve been doing this all along but it feels more noticeable now. In a way, we’re not just building websites, but building and iterating the way we build websites, and that is exciting.