BACK IN THE old days of the information superhighway, curious newbies had an easy way to see how websites worked: View Source.
So new tools that let everyone see, understand, and remix today’s web are needed. In other words, to reboot the culture of View Source.
“As programmers, we’ve become a priesthood, and I wanted to smash down the walls,” says Daniel Moore, Glitch’s lead developer. The goal, he notes, was to make it as easy to publish a web app as a blog post—no need to wrestle with backend server code.
Glitch joins several View Source efforts that help people recombine code in useful ways. In Milwaukee, Chris Coyier has amassed roughly 1.1 million users for his CodePen service, which features about 12 million reusable frontend demos. “I’ve been in plenty of rooms with Girl Scouts learning to code, and when they can see they can take a project, change a few bits of code, and see those changes immediately, it’s powerful,” he says.
Hands-on tinkering works—as educators and hackers have long known. And as tech gets increasingly complex, we have to make sure tinkering is not only possible, but also encouraged. Let people twiddle the knobs and you demystify the world.