Retro technologies making a comeback

Tim .

Some of the veterans in this industry, like myself, may have noticed a comeback of various technologies over the last few years. This is fairly unusual in this fast-paced industry with new technologies quickly replacing old formats. However, here are some of the examples that we’ve seen!

Animated GIFs

The actual GIF technology dates back to 1987 when it was developed by CompuServe. Compatibility of animated GIFs didn’t happen until the mid 90’s, and was primarily used for advertising banners on websites and, in some cases, the first form of video streaming on the Internet. Again, in the last few years there has been mass adoption of animated GIFs primarily on social media platforms like Twitter, Skype and WhatsApp bringing a more friendly and comedic atmosphere to conversations. Emoji’s have a similar story being invented in Japan in 1997. How many people remember CompuServe? For anyone who doesn’t, it was the precursor to the Internet run by a commercial organisation.

Retro technologies


Podcasts originally came out in 2004 when Apple iPod’s were all the rage. As with any new technology, these exploded over the first few years with a variety of different topics. By 2010, they had pretty much died a death. However, in the last couple of years they have had a huge resurgence with lots of organisations and individuals using them to build their personal brands. Largely these days they are coupled with video.

Static websites

This comeback is the most interesting one for me. Back in the late 1990’s, almost every website was static before fancy CM’s (like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Mambo) made it easier to update these websites. In the last couple of years, there has been a lot of  discussion of moving back to this format for websites, although this time for different reasons. The first being performance. Static websites always load much faster than any CMS as it requires much less processing power. The second being security. Typically, CMS’s are the weakest link with any websites but if you remove them you have a significantly more secure website. Anyone remember Mambo? Mambo was a CMS which was forked to become Joomla.

What’s next?

Are we going to see the return of the floppy disk? I think not.


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