WHEN I STARTED making websites as a hobby in 1995, being a web developer meant knowing HTML. That’s it. Neither JavaScript nor CSS would ship in browsers for a year, and Flash wouldn’t exist until later in the decade. The web was just starting to become a rich medium full of engrossing content, and anyone with a text editor who could remember a dozen or so tags could participate. It was nice.

Twenty years later, web development is no longer so simple. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript remain the foundation of our work, but over their history—their recent history in particular—they’ve evolved from languages for crafting documents, simple enough that most designers could write them from memory, into a platform for writing applications. ...

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