Since the beginning of the web, thousands, probably millions, of users have bootstrapped their way to technical understanding through exploring the way the existing web is put together.
Hah! I remember being 10/11 with my own PC (what a lucky kid I was) and neopets account. Being under 13 I was cut off from any direct communication with other players (and I didn’t speak english anyway) but I had a shop where I sold my excess items, and shops could be customized with.. custom HTML!
Dunno how I found it, but I eventually discovered the “View HTML source” in IE6.. and just started blindly copying other people shop’s code, figuring out HTML on my own, finding other MIDIs on the net and use them with ol' BGMUSIC and custom mouse cursors etc.
It was definitely not an easy way to learn HTML, but it was so fun.
Today we have incredible docs like MDN and sandboxes like JSBin and all sorts of crazy frameworks, but I wonder if we can still reach the very young people like the ten year old me? With the newfound focus on bandwidth and responsiveness we keep using layers above layers and minimizing everything to the point where even we can’t figure what’s really going on (although Google’s source is as impossible to decipher today as it was 10 years ago).
Maybe we could leave CSS/JS .map in production for the next webdevs?