2019-07-11 The breaking of the web

Today I was looking for some info on the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN). It’s a great resource for us all. They asked me to partake in a survey on the frustrations of web developers. I couldn’t answer this one question because the survey site broke: I was supposed to drag some items around to sort them, but it didn’t work. I could not skip the question, and I could not report the problem.

Thats the very problem! 🙄

The problem with the web is that is so great, so grand – we need a huge monster of a browser to use it as some people would like us to use it. Since other people are simultaneously attacking, distracting, abusing and confusing us, we need an array of defences at the same time.

More attack surface, more moving parts, more parties to trust. That’s why we need a simpler web: we want smaller tools, too!

People suggested Pi-Hole. A good alternative to an adblocker. But still only an adblocker. The browser remains just as bloated.

And yes, I like text-browsers like lynx, w3m, or eww inside Emacs. But these don’t work on my mobile devices, they don’t look as good on a graphical display. I like bold and italics and underline and font families and font sizes. Just look at this site! 😅

I also contributed to two gopher clients, wrote a web based gopher client, wrote a simple text server, wrote a gopher server for my wiki, and more. It’s not perfect but it’s an important alternative we can point at and say:

“Look at it! It doesn’t need much and we could have an experience that wasn’t as distracting, as ad-filled, as tracking-encumbered, as malware infested as the current web.”

A very small subset of HTML should be enough. Basically: Markdown plus maybe another ten or twenty things? It doesn’t need much more than that!



“A very small subset of HTML should be enough” You know who else thinks so? Google. They call it AMP 😉

Andreas Gohr 2019-07-11 21:38 UTC

That is not the main problem with AMP. 😀

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-11 22:21 UTC

The problem is that it’s a different subset for everyone.

deshipu 2019-07-11 22:39 UTC

Well, part of the simplification is of course the loss of features that a subset of people pushed to be included, for sure.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-12 09:09 UTC

If I were to try a text-browser on my laptop (with some version of Windows), what would you recommend?

Ynas Midgard 2019-07-22 11:42 UTC

Lynx. 😀

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-22 14:17 UTC

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