As I get deeper and deeper into developing wedding crowd, I feel more and more like I've been asleep for the last 5 years when it comes to web app development.
I grew up on classic asp and HTML 4.0 in the good old days of Netscape Navigator 4.0 and IE 4.0. I remember how bad cross browser "everything" was. I recall irritating layout bugs with vanilla HTML tables that occurred if you didn't put your line breaks where browsers wanted them. I remember playing with AJAX before it was called AJAX (with the ie Active X object) and when Netscape's Layers were depreciated for DHTML.
Early on in my career, I moved on to .Net and got deep into Web Forms development. There was a time I could confidently say I've done most everything with Web Forms and had a firm understanding of the entire platform. I remember picking up a book on rails when it first became hot, way before ASP.Net MVC came out and thinking it was interesting, but not something that was worth breaking out of my web form shell for.
Since then I worked deeply with Windows Forms and Desktop Development, BizTalk development and even SharePoint development among other technologies. I hadn't really kept up with all the advancement in the web development craft these past few years. When I started working on HOSY (my failed attempt at a social qa site), I was really impressed with the speed I could build applications with MVC and only scratched the surface with what could be done with jQuery.
I've found excellent jQuery plug ins for skinning file upload controls, creating scrollable divs and creating light boxes, all open source with great documentation.
I'm also starting to dig into SignalR, a client server messaging framework which also seems to abstract most of the complexities needed for creating extremely rich messaging in web applications.
I really feel like I building on top of the shoulders of giants.