Part I. Origins

In the beginning was the Web, and the Web was good. Well, in this case, the beginning was the early 90s, and “good” meant a site had found its way onto the Yahoo! index page and the visitor counter was spinning at the bottom of the table-laden, animated GIF–infected page.

But that’s all you really needed in those days. As long as you were feeding your fellow webring subscribers with click-throughs, all of the webmasters were happy. And those webmasters? Yes, they were masters of their domain...literally! Websites were simple creatures, and the webmaster was their keeper, tending to the tangle of HTML and wondering if these new Cascading Style Sheets were something to be bothered with; most had already written off JavaScript as a passing fad.

But like any medium, the Web grew. JavaScript stuck around. CSS was useful for more than just setting the page’s font family and font color. Webmasters eventually found themselves at a crossroads.  Their website traffic continued to grow, and the technologies of the Web continued to expand (transparent GIFs!). There were too many new things to keep track of, too much work to do; eventually webmasters were forced to specialize. On one hand, they really liked their “under construction” signs, and the ubiquitous marquee tags, but on the other hand Perl was the best language ever to be created and will undoubtedly power every website from here into eternity.

When it came to hiring a second person to help run their precious domains, ...

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