sistrall.it
Published on April 16, 2016

If this is a site

Hey, this post is vintage content. It dates back more than 8 years ago: it may contain outdated and inaccurate information.

Mum! You must have heard me mention websites a thousand times in a thousand sauces: 'go to the sites such-and-such', 'I do sites for a living', 'I read it on a site'.

**But do you know what a website is?' Because, by dint of hearing about it, at some point, even before you discovered the internet, you will have wondered what it means to 'have a website'.

It's not difficult (let's do some theory first).

Let us start with something you know well: a website resembles a book. Like a book, it has things written in it by a person (or several people together), it has a cover, it is made of pages. It is made of words, but also of images. Some sites, rather than real books, look like magazines, like the ones you read at the hairdresser's; others look a lot like the newspaper Dad bought every morning on his way to work. He says that as he passed La Stampa through the car window, the newsagent would always say: 'Here they are, nice and fresh'. I always thought he was referring to the sheets of the newspaper, otherwise it doesn't explain the plural. Although... who knows... But let's not digress.

A website, however, is also very different from a book or a paper newspaper. Newspapers and books are in the hands of a few. We live in a fairly free society and, fortunately, there is not a single publishing house or newspaper. But, at the same time, publishing anything on paper is very expensive and very complicated. And it also costs a lot of trees.

Publishing a website, on the other hand, is so easy that anyone can do it. Of course you have to 'study' at least a little (think of the irony: you can use other sites to learn), but it takes very little to get started. And in most cases - imagine! - it costs nothing.

And then there is another thing that makes a site different from a book: the order in which you read what is written. How do you read a novel? From beginning to end (unless you're curious enough to take a look at the ending before you get there). How do you leaf through a newspaper? I don't know about you, but I start at the first page, then open and flip through the rest, almost always from the beginning to the end. How do you read a magazine at the hairdresser's? Well, yes, in this case the approach changes a bit, but not that much.

A site does not: a site has links (which is read as it is written and in Italian is translated link): just as you are reading, you come across underlined words, you touch them (if you are using a phone) or click on them (if you are using a computer with a mouse) and another page opens up. And so, instead of going from the beginning to the end, it happens that you start to move - so to speak - sideways, going a bit sideways, left and right, in a continuous flow of curiosity and inspiration. And all this going right and left sometimes makes you discover things you would never have imagined; at other times, it goes against your real goal, the one you had when you started reading.

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I am Silvano Stralla. I am a developer, I like taking photos and riding bikes.
If you want, you can write to me at silvano.stralla at sistrall.it.
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