Idea: Dev Tools as model for Web Lit Tools?

David Humphrey David.Humphrey at senecacollege.ca
Wed Dec 18 10:19:20 PST 2013


I have been thinking about a tweet by Christian Heilmann from earlier today:

https://twitter.com/codepo8/status/413363661143416833

He's linking to a pic of what the Developer Tools look like in Firefox (hint: they are really becoming amazing, and if you haven't played with them, you should).

In 2014 one of the things I want to explore in earnest is how we can leverage the Dev Tools for Webmaker.  Today I had another thought, and I want to plant the seed with the rest of you:

Idea: "As Dev Tools is to a web developer, Web Lit Tools could be to a literate web user/maker."

Consider the Navigation section of the Web Lit Standard: https://webmaker.org/en-US/standard/exploring#navigation, in which URLs and hyperlinks are discussed.  What if I want to understand the URLs and hyperlinks in a page I'm looking at?  We don't provide simple tools for you to just get a list of them all, or to examine them as a curious tinkerer.  You might be interested in how many go to a particular domain, or in how they are constructed, or navigating to content above you in a relative path.

Consider the Building section: https://webmaker.org/en-US/standard/building#composing, in which we talk about being able to Identify and use HTML tags.  View Source is great, but overwhelming if you're not an expert.  What about a tool that showed you all the HTML tags in use on the current page, and offered docs to explain what they are?  What about pretty-printing the HTML so you can make better sense of it?

In both cases I'm describing tools built into the browser that let you explore and ask questions of the pages you visit--any page vs. just an exercise with a built-in script.  These aren't necessarily editing tools, but rather lenses through which I can observe the web and how it's built.

I think having a set of Web Literacy Tools, similar to the Developer Tools, would make it possible for non-developers to engage with more than just the manifest web content rendered in the browser: the web is most interesting when you can peer at what lies beneath.

Dave
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