Whatever Happened to Webmonkey.com?
People on Twitter have been asking what’s up with Webmonkey.com. Originally I wanted to get this up on Webmonkey, but I got locked out of the CMS before I managed to do that, so I’m putting it here.
Earlier this year Wired decided to stop producing new content for Webmonkey.
For those keeping track at home, this is the fourth, and I suspect final, time Webmonkey has been shut down (previously it was shut down in 1999, 2004 and 2006).
I’ve been writing for Webmonkey.com since 2000, full time since 2006 (when it came back from the dead for a third run). And for the last two years I have been the sole writer, editor and producer of the site.
Like so many of you, I learned how to build websites from Webmonkey. But it was more than just great tutorials and how tos. Part of what made Webmonkey great was that it was opinionated and rough around the edges. Webmonkey was not the product of professional writers, it was written and created by the web nerds building Wired’s websites. It was written by people like us, for people like us.
I’ll miss Webmonkey not just because it was my job for many years, but because at this point it feels like a family dog to me, it’s always been there and suddenly it’s not. Sniff. I’ll miss you Webmonkey.
Quite a few people have asked me why it was shut down, but unfortunately I don’t have many details to share. I’ve always been a remote employee, not in San Francisco at all in fact, and consequently somewhat out of the loop. What I can say is that Webmonkey’s return to Wired in 2006 was the doing of long-time Wired editor Evan Hansen (now at Medium). Evan was a tireless champion of Webmonkey and saved it from the Conde Nast ax several times. He was also one of the few at Wired who “got” Webmonkey. When Evan left Wired earlier this year I knew Webmonkey’s days were numbered.
I don’t begrudge Wired for shutting Webmonkey down. While I have certain nostalgia for its heyday, even I know it’s been a long time since Webmonkey was leading the way in web design. I had neither the staff nor the funding to make Webmonkey anything like its early 2000s self. In that sense I’m glad it was shut down rather than simply fading further into obscurity.
I am very happy that Wired has left the site in place. As far as I know Webmonkey (and its ever-popular cheat sheets, which still get a truly astounding amount of traffic) will remain available on the web. That said, note to the Archive Team, it wouldn’t hurt to create a backup. Sadly, many of the very earliest writings have already been lost in the various CMS transitions over the years and even much of what’s there now has incorrect bylines. Still, at least most of it’s there. For now.
As for me, I’ve decided to go back to what I enjoyed most about the early days of Webmonkey: teaching people how to make cool stuff for the web.
To that end I’m currently working on a book about responsive design, which I’m hoping to make available by the end of October. If you’re interested drop your email in the box below and I’ll let you know when it’s out (alternately you can follow @LongHandPixels on Twitter).
If you have any questions or want more details use the comments box below.
In closing, I’d like to thank some people at Wired — thank you to my editors over the years, especially Michael Calore, Evan Hansen and Leander Kahney who all made me a much better writer. Also thanks to Louise for always making sure I got paid. And finally, to everyone who read Webmonkey and contributed over the years, whether with articles or even just a comment, thank you.
Cheers and, yes, thanks for all the bananas.
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