Dries’ Keynote and the Assembled Web

At this morning’s DrupalCon Denver keynote, Dries mentioned the concept of the Assembled Web a number of times: how Drupal enables web applications to be assembled from component parts (both parts from within Drupal and parts from outside it).

Although his usage is a bit different than ours was (and Acquia has been using the term for some time) I couldn’t help but recall all the writing we did about The Assembled Web when I was at Optaros in 2008-2009. Specifically, I went back to “The Assembled Web: Notes Toward a Manifesto” on this blog from September of 2009, and I was amazed at well it holds up, even with the themes of DrupalCon 2012.

Some highlights from the original post I thought remained relevant:

1. You should always be thinking multi-site, multi-interface, multi-project.

Although we weren’t calling it responsive design then, we were thinking about the notion that any time you create content or functionality, you need to think about the multiple contexts in which that content or functionality might be used. We were thinking less about devices and more about contexts, perhaps, but it still sounds like pretty decent advice.

4. Design is critical, and design is not about pretty shiny objects

Well, ok, one could argue there’s never been a time where this wasn’t true – but we were right to say that its importance was only increasing as interfaces proliferated.

5. The internet itself, like the *nix operating systems on which it (almost entirely) runs, is a set of small pieces loosely joined

Other than the shameless poaching from David Weinberger’s book this one holds true too. This is maybe the closest to what Acquia has picked up and taken from the meme we tried to create, with the elaboration:

Every project you do must be composed of smaller discrete components communicating with each other. The corollary is that every project you do must also be composeable or consumable by other projects – including projects you know nothing about. This is true across multiple projects (within your organization and outside it) as well as over time within a given project.