John speaking at the 2017 EdUI conference in Charlottesville, Virginia
Above: John speaking at the 2017 EdUI conference in Charlottesville, Virginia


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My name is John Williams, and I am a web developer. I have been working professionally on the web since 1996, which I have lived through table-based layouts, perfected the faux columns technique, understand Adobe Flash development a lot more than is useful these days, and still have stress dreams about supporting Internet Explorer 6.

Oh, Flash. So many people were glad to get rid of it because they thought it would eliminate intrusive advertising on the web. How is that working out, I wonder? (I don't actually wonder.)

Although web development is a technical field, and I have a somewhat technical background, I came into web development through my interest in written language and my experience as a typesetter at the local newspaper. None of my computer science classes ever addressed hypertext or even the online world. The first web site I built for someone not me was the inaugural web site for Virginia Tech's Silhouette literary magazine. My first professional web job was for the same newspaper where I learned how to prepare broadsheet pages for the camera with a razor blade and waxing machine.

I occasionally speak at conferences on topics both technical and process-oriented. I've given several talks on developing web sites with an accessibility mindset, but my most recent talk looks at agile project management processes from a humanities perspective. That talk makes heavy use of the Robert Burns's poem about a mouse and production trivia about the movie Airplaine!.

Since then I've worked for several digital agencies and with organizations like FEMA, AARP, AAAS, and the Library of Congress. For the last twelve years and counting I have worked for (NewCity)[] as a senior developer with many higher education institutions, including my alma mater.

As a human person and not a worker bee, I still enjoy reading books. I also enjoy performing, writing, and thinking about music, but only consider myself particularly good at the last of those. I take a lot of photos, but I do so with a relatively cheap camera with a ridiculous zoom lens. Many of my photographic subjects are turtles because they sit still long enough for me to get them in focus.

About this site

I am a Drupal advocate and a React developer, but this web site uses neither. Why? For the same reason astronauts don't fly rockets to the office. Those are not the right tools for this job.

Contents © their respective publication dates or 2019. This John Williams did not write the theme to Star Wars. “Elfin John” was originally a Tim Conway character.