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The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

Today I said something that I never thought I'd hear.

I think the web needs to die. I wish I had listened to a friend who, 15 years ago, was ranting about the trend to re-invent the internet on port 80.

We have taken a resilient network with a diverse ecosystem of applications and shoved every damn thing into a web application. The deluge of standards and bolt ons makes the web look like the stacks from Ready Player One - unmaintainable and fragile. We have created a single (and highly corporate/commercialized) single point of failure.

Accessing the internet:80 (or 443) is so fraught that you have to be a big player to make a browser that works correctly, but doing so allows you to gatekeep the whole thing. As a bonus you could mine behavior from that client to feed into your search and advertising machine.

And now we can't do shit without it. We're guzzling the kool-aid such that we write write apps in (originally) hacked-in web programming languages using toolkits that basically turn an entire web browser into a shared library.

I wish I had good alternates or suggestions for a functional replacement, but I have to say it: The web is a dangerous joke.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk have you heard of gemini?

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@if Yes. I've even posted on the ML, and have molly brown running.

It's not going to topple the web, though.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk For sure. I guess it's just like the fediverse -- a better alternative, but it doesn't get rid of the root problem.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk So I wonder if there is a way we can destroy centralized social media, and in a similar way, destroy the modern web?

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@if @docskrzyk
I'd say making GUI toolkits that are better than anything Web has to offer would.be a good start. I've heard many people complain that Gtk and Qt are shit and Electron is the only sane way to make GUI

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@wolf480pl @if @docskrzyk I would argue the opposite. Or even that it is about what you are used to. I'd prefer Qt any day of the week, and much rather GTK+ over web. But that is where I come from.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@e8johan @if @docskrzyk as in, you prefer to make GUIs in Qt than anything web?

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@wolf480pl @if @docskrzyk yup. The only upside of web is the immediate deployment.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@e8johan @wolf480pl @if Surprising, but mostly because you're not arguing the opposite. You're saying you prefer native toolkits, and implied within what I'm saying, the reliance on the web, especially the browser, as a toolkit leads to a lack of resilience.

shrug

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk @if Gemini / Gopher won’t topple the web, most like, save amongst us demimonde weirdos, but they do point a healthier path forward for mainstream internet. Protocols as points of comparison can have outsize impact.

At all rates, I also loathe going on the web now. It’s a den of vipers.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@Shufei @docskrzyk @if @wolf480pl My approach is to develop semi-compatable browser engines. Trying to show that we could have a web that works beautifully on absolutely any device, and impress people enough with how well that still works that they'll forgive some broken pages.

And I'm striving for enough modularity so that if, say, my CSS engine is useful to that nicer GUI toolkit they can reuse that code.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk it’s hard to draw parallels, but it feels like the Web and smolnet are still useful for anyone that wants to do their own thing. Counterculture has been a thing for a while now and this feels like a continuation of the property laws that discourage communes from forming.

The instability of communes is a whole ‘nother topic, but anyway — I don’t think there’s ever gonna be a point where you can convince the people that the emperor has no clothes.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@kvothe Just saying that something is broken doesn't preclude utility. I'm saying it needs to fail so we can move onto something that doesn't require big tech (who does not have your interests at heart usually) to make the means to access it.

I cringe every time I load chrome(ium). My firefox cleanse routine takes half an hour on a new install, etc. etc.

We should have known that Microsoft losing the argument when they tried to integrate the browser into the OS was not the end of the problem. The players just changed.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk

The World Wide Web™ was conceived of as a web of documents.

I can understand, even support extending the concept of "document" beyond plain text, to images, print-formatted documents, even audio & video. From that point of view, some of the aspects of HTML5 make sense, even though they do impose a severe load on the browser.

But when we begin to treat the Web browser as a place for applications, we've gone outside the original conceptual scope.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@publius Thanks for explaining what the web was? This is pretty much what I was saying.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk

My point was in the last sentence.

If you say "municipal sewers are, broadly speaking, a means of transportation, which is to say communication, & therefore we should use them to carry voice conversations", you're getting well outside the original conceptual scope, which was to prevent cholera outbreaks. Sewers may not be good for telephony, but that doesn't invalidate either concept.

So with the Web. We need a proper fitting of means to ends.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk

More broadly, we are living in a period which exemplifies that proverb, "when all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a thumb".

IP telephony is a fine little example. TCP/IP was explicitly developed specifically for traffic with a set of characteristics radically different from that of voice conversations (or television for that matter). But it has become the One True Tool, applied to everything with no sanity check.

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@publius
#MaslowsHammer mentions a nail rather than a thumb, but I guess for clumsy people like me, the thumb is just as accurate. 😅

A related #quote by #SilvanTomkins might also be apt here: "If one has a hammer one tends to look for nails, and if one has a computer with a storage capacity, but no feelings, one is more likely to concern oneself with remembering and with problem solving than with loving and hating."
@docskrzyk

re: The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@FiXato @docskrzyk

I find "thumb" much more fits the observed case than "nail". The results aren't just awkward, they hurt.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@publius @docskrzyk Though on the bright side, if one does adhere to the original spirit of interlinked documents, there are far more browsers that do just fine with that, such as lynx, elinks, links2, w3m, edbrowse, browsh (sorta), links+, and dillo.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk damn good post.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@docskrzyk ever heard of browser.blockstack.org/sign-in

But I basically agree.

The Web Needs to Die: A Long Rant 

@mattmark @docskrzyk
@wolf480pl @if @publius What do you all think of the decentralized web promoted through gun.eco/?

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hackers.town

A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. Keep it fairly clean please. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.