The Web turns 30!

The World Wide Web turns 30 years old today, March 12th 2019, and its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has asked its citizens to help build a timeline of the web’s history. Given that reelyActive has existed on the Web for about a quarter of its history, we thought it’d be fun to look back at our own Web presence since 2012.

2012: First landing page

Our first landing page showed off our newly minted hardware — purely in monochrome — and provided guided visitors to either a serious or a silly site. In 2012, real-time location of individuals (aka tracking people) was controversial, and the silly site was intended to show visitors that we were indeed looking critically at ourselves and the platform we were developing. Indeed there’s still a sillyActive filter on this blog!

2012: The “serious” site

Yes, this was our non-responsive-design, fully monochrome, “serious” developer-oriented website in 2012. Fixed 960px width because who needed more resolution than that, right? We had just learned PHP, which was applied generously throughout. Credit to Twitter and LinkedIn for the social plugins in the footer that are still functional at the time of writing!

  ↪ Journey back in time to www.reelyactive.com/serious/

2013-2014: The “corporate” site

Finally colour! And JavaScript animations! Curiously enough, our first major experience with JavaScript was server-side with Node.js, which then gave us the confidence to apply it client-side, in this case with the TweenMax JS framework. Despite its non-responsive 960px formula, this website received a lot of appreciation for the Technology and Applications animations which were refreshingly accessible to a broad (non-native-English-speaking) audience.

  ↪ Journey back in time to www.reelyactive.com/corporate/

2014-2016: The “context” site

By 2014 we had finally gone responsive, abandoning ground-up web design for the lovely Creative Commons frameworks from HTML5 UP that we continue to use to this day. There was even a full-screen explainer video and fresh graphics from local designers.

  ↪ Journey back in time to context.reelyactive.com

2016-present: Our current landing page

Our current landing page has benefited from many iterations, and the most powerful changes are the ones behind the scenes. Many of the pages include linked data in the form of JSON-LD, which became a Web standard in 2014. This is what allows Google and other search engines to extract rich content, using Schema.org as a vocabulary. All of our IoT initiatives, such as Sniffypedia.org, rely heavily on these latest standards which are extending the reach of the Web to the physical world.

  ↪ Visit our webpage at www.reelyactive.com

Thank you Sir Tim Berners-Lee for your enormous contribution to humanity in the form of the Web, and to everyone who has contributed to its evolution and maintenance these past three decades. We were pleased to give a friendly nod to your contributions in our most recent scientific publication, and we hope that Mrs. Barnowl will have the chance to meet you and thank you in person, as she did Vint Cerf for his contribution to the Internet!

Purpose, commitment and accountability

Today is the sixth anniversary of reelyActive‘s incorporation, and to mark this occasion we reached out to all our current and past team members and collaborators, inviting them to record themselves reciting a passage from the Copenhagen Letter. The result is the following:

It is becoming an anniversary tradition for us to reflect on our past, as we did for threelyActive, asking how wrong we were on accelerator day one, as well as last year, when we took the time to document reelyActive’s history before contemplating the next ambitious 5-year plan.

Having now completed one year of that ambitious plan, we can affirm that our greatest challenge is no longer one of technology. If we are to achieve our mission of unlocking the value of the data you choose to share through the realisation of our vision of ubiquitous machine-contextual-awareness at the service of humanity, our greatest challenge is one of enabling the long-term and sustainable pursuit of this, our purpose.

How pleased we were, earlier this month at the PIRATE Summit, to be introduced to the concept of steward-ownership, which we discuss in our previous blog post, and to the Copenhagen Letter, which we read aloud in the video. The latter is a succinct summary of many of the ideas shared by our team (the why), and the former is an alternative legal ownership model for purpose-driven companies (the how).

We shape technology today. While it may not be easy, there are viable paths to put these ideas into practice. This anniversary we remind ourselves to hold one another accountable for the path we choose to pursue. That is our commitment.