In August 2017 we celebrated our 13th birthday as a dedicated Drupal agency. It has been a period full of challenges, great clients and some fantastic additions to our team.
So to mark the occasion we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some of the big developments in the wider digital space, and Drupal, since we began.
Here’s our list…
1) Drupal’s Teenage Years
Last year Drupal celebrated 15 years since its first release. It has gone through several incarnations and evolved into the platform that we know today. Usage of Drupal has grown exponentially year on year since its release, and shows no sign of slowing down. From its origins in a student dorm in 2000, Drupal now also has a worldwide network of more than 1 million developers.
2) Growing Connectivity
Some of us still remember what it was like to use a dial up internet connection, which ran at a painfully slow 56kbps. In many households there was a single phone line for the internet too, meaning the web was very much appointment viewing! With broadband the internet is always on, and you can be constantly connected through your computer, smartphone or tablet, which in turn has given rise to a rapid growth in internet-based services.
3) The Birth of Fibre Optic
Developing further from the broadband revolution, fibre optic cables increased the speed of the internet to up to 300Mbps. It is easy to take this development path for-granted so here’s a bit of context - at 56kbps approximately 7 minutes of video could take up to 40 hours to download, something we’d now expect to happen in seconds!
4) Video on demand
Youtube was born in 2005 and brought with it a simple way to stream video content online. It also allowed people to create and share their own video with ease. A year later it was already the fastest growing site on the web and it has revolutionised the way that users share and watch video content. It has even changed the way we view celebrities, with vloggers now becoming legitimately famous people!
5) Browser Wars
The Mozilla Firefox browser was launched in November 2004. Through the testing phases it was consistently praised for it’s speed and security, outstripping the long established Internet Explorer to briefly become the world's most popular browser in 2009 until…
6) The Rise of Chrome
It wasn’t Internet Explorer which regained its crown as the king of browsers but Google’s Chrome. Released in 2008, it was originally developed for Microsoft Windows, but was later ported to Linux , macOS, iOS and android. In the second quarter of 2017 it was estimated that Google Chrome holds a 63% share of worldwide browser usage.
7) The Demise of Flash
Adobe Flash, the plug in responsible for irritating banner adverts, constant plugin updates and security risks is finally killed off - and web users worldwide breath a sigh of relief!
8) Web 2.0
By the mid 2000’s the web was well on its way to becoming social. The dawn of a more interactive web environment, often termed Web 2.0, is today most closely associated with social media platforms driven by user content, including the likes of Facebook and Twitter. However, sites like Bebo and MySpace were pioneers in the arena before the rise of the latter day stars. Myspace, for example, was the most popular social networking site between 2005 and 2008 but, with the advent of Facebook, declined rapidly and despite several redesigns, has never been resuscitated. Facebook has grown steadily and currently has more than 2 billion monthly active users. Twitter was created in 2006 and now has more than 319 million monthly active users.
9) Google keeps people guessing
One of the big changes of the last 13 years has been the rise of Google as a gateway to the web, driven by its powerful hold on web searches. It is estimated that Google accounts for 63% of web searches, placing it miles ahead of the likes of Yahoo and Bing. This has meant the rise of a whole discipline specialising in optimising websites for the search engine giant.. And Google has kept this industry guessing. Gone are the days of invisible coloured text, used by many site administrators to stuff keywords on to websites to game the system. Google’s PageRank algorithm has since undergone a number of major updates, keeping SEO experts on their toes.
10) Amazon does hosting
Launched in 2006, Amazon’s hosting system, Amazon Web Services, changed the world of cloud hosting. Now cloud storage is a popular way to store data and available through a large number of different providers.
11) Touch screen smartphones
The most prominent event in the history of the smartphone has to be when Apple launched their touch screen smartphone in 2007, marking a pre/post touch screen divide, and changing the way that we interact with tech. Marked earlier this month by Apple themselves with the launch of the iPhone X, mobile browsing is now one of the most popular ways to access the web.
12) … and tablets
Following on from smartphone driven growth in mobile browsing, the first commercially successful tablet, the first generation iPAD was released in 2010. Though Microsoft had strictly produced their first tablet 10 years earlier, it fell flat, with Bill Gates himself stating in an interview that Jobs “ did some things better than I did”, For web developers, this fueled and even greater growth in apps and responsive sites as internet browsing moved away from desktop PCs and laptops.
13) The IoT revolution
In the last 13 years we have come from a time when having your phone connect to the internet was a new and exciting feature, to an era, when having your kettle or your fridge connected to the internet seems perfectly plausible and reasonable. The Internet of Things is making the web more important in every aspect of life, and while some applications, like using your phone to boil the kettle from the other room, seem a little self indulgent, there are applications in many sectors such as environmental monitoring, transport and healthcare that herald the IoT as the next stage in the information revolution.