Let’s get building!

By Nick Stenning | 26 September, 2014

This week saw Nick Stenning’s first week at Hypothes.is. Nick previously worked at Open Knowledge, where along with Aron Carroll and Rufus Pollock he was one of the authors of the open-source Annotator library we use in Hypothes.is.

Nick is joining us to continue what he started with Annotator in 2008, and will be helping us develop our team as our Engineering Manager.

When I started working on Annotator six years ago, I knew next to nothing about programming. The JavaScript I wrote was unstructured, buggy, and hard to read. But the desire to annotate documents on the web seemed to be so obvious, so natural, that I could not believe it wasn’t possible. Whether out of naivete or sheer stubbornness, Annotator came to be.

It was what a friend of mine would call “a hack on a stick,” but it worked, and we included text annotation as a feature of Open Shakespeare, a project to collect all the public domain Shakespeare texts and allow non-technical users to study them using the tools of the digital humanities. Since then, the community around Annotator has grown in size by several orders of magnitude. This is in no small part due to the efforts of the team at Hypothes.is. Dan has been a tireless evangelist for the bright future of annotation on the web, and Randall has provided excellent advice and indispensable support as a maintainer over the last few years. In the intervening period, I might even have learned a thing or two about programming.

So, after a stint working in web operations for Her Majesty and a great year back at Open Knowledge, I’m now working for Hypothes.is, where I’ll be focusing on developing the Annotator platform and supporting its community. In the immediate short term, my focus will be on getting out some beta releases of Annotator 2.0: we know you have been waiting long enough!

The Hypothes.is vision articulates nothing short of a revolution in communication on the web. I see many substantial technical challenges ahead of us, but this team is already having an impact far beyond its small size. I’m excited to join them.

Let’s get building!

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