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Ask HN: What are examples of British Web Innovations?
4 points by typeengineering 44 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments
Hello all. GB has the second largest number of Software Engineers in Europe, after Germany. I'm doing some research, so could you please comment on what British software products (libraries, frameworks, engines) for building the web do you know, and people behind them?

For example, for Node I think substack and TJ Holowaychuk (although he's not noding anymore) are British. Yet I don't know of any British innovation - elastic search, mongo, react, reducers, node, name anything -- doesn't come from the UK. You can include non-web software too but please indicate so (e.g., Arm was founded in Cambridge). What are your thoughts on why there isn't much British innovation in the field, especially considering there are such Universities as Cambridge and Oxford? Thank you.

There was a British guy called Tim Berners-Lee who did something in that field ... just can't remember the details now.

Yes I believe he is a web developer or something :)

Here are three(two out of those some how missed the opportunity):

Symbian OS: At one time this mobile OS had almost 99% market share, and at one time was leader in PDAs!

Imagination Technologies: Leader in low-power graphics and audio hardware.

ARM: Low-power microprocessor IP.

If you think of the above three sectors, the UK was leader in three important pieces of the mobile stack, except for coms(I think that too could have been achieved if the guys from Cambridge were serious about building that piece of the stack).

BTW, there are many other companies that work in biotech, chemtech and display-tech that are way ahead of the rest of the world. The curse of the UK is they never get to own the market.

https://solidproject.org is not only by a British individual who is very well know (Sir Tim-Berners Lee), but it has also come from within academia(MIT). It is a shame that the project is not getting as much attention as those projects that are promoted by the Big Tech companies.

Last.fm is from the UK, and while it doesn't seem that groundbreaking of thing, they've been around quite a while and most streaming services almost certainty took ideas from what they did w/ music suggestions and such.

OpenSSL had and has a few core developers from Britain who have made significant contributions to the project. Though there are forks and alternative TLS libraries, most websites in the world probably run on OpenSSL.

Almost all web innovation I've seen has not come from universities, that includes US based. They come from advertising companies, at least lately. Angular? Ad company. React? Ad company. QUIC/HTTP3? Ad company. WebUSB? Ad company. WebSocket? Ad company. WebRTC? Ad company.

The research that happens in universities seems a lot more theoretical, like interacting with WiFi, pathfinding, robotics, health-tech.

Yes it's true I don't think that universities are directly involved in that sort of innovation. What I meant is that they're supposed to produce smart people who invent something new, not necessarily via academic research. Thanks for that list too. Regarding the repeated "ad company", it would be nice to see something modern-day Adobe which isn't an ad company and Macromedia that are _real_ software companies.

The https://solidproject.org came out of MIT.

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