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And Now, a Brief Definition of the Web (theverge.com) 64

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge: Traditionally, we think of the web as a combination of a set of specific technologies paired with some core philosophical principles. The problem -- the reason this question even matters -- is that there are a lot of potential replacements for the parts of the web that fix what's broken with technology, while undermining the principles that ought to go with it. [...] A lot of tech companies are flailing around looking for ways to fix this problem. There are web apps that work in Chrome but not really all that well elsewhere. There are Instant Articles in Facebook and AMP pages on Google. There are Instant Android apps that stream to your phone over the internet instead of being installed, which go away when you're done with them just like a browser tab. Google claims to be trying to bring some of the open ethos of the web to smart speakers. Hell, go back to 2014 and you'll find Apple pundit John Gruber arguing we should consider apps and "anything transmitted using HTTP and HTTPS" as part of the web. [...] And now, a brief definition of the web: To count as being part of the web, your app or page must: 1. Be linkable, and 2. Allow any client to access it. That's it.
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And Now, a Brief Definition of the Web

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is all common sense, why is this being posted here? Probably enlightening to our moronic moderators though.

  • Pre-Internet: < 1995, THE WEB, post-Internet: > 1995
    • And during 1995 it was The Information Super-Highway

      Thankfully that didn't last long.

    • Pre-Internet: < 1995, THE WEB, post-Internet: > 1995 </ 1995, THE WEB, post-Internet: >

      You left out the closing tag. This is the web after all.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @11:49AM (#54485297)

    "Tubes"

    • 100% agree. The Internet is the interconnecting pipes. And to correct one part of the summary, "A lot of tech companies are flailing around looking for ways to fix this problem" should be read as "ways to make more profit"

      Big companies don't want to fix anything. They want good numbers for their shareholders. Selling stuff to "fix the problems" is their core business.
      • Big companies don't want to fix anything. They want good numbers for their shareholders. Selling stuff to "fix the problems" is their core business.

        They also love to steal other people's ideas - often freely donated to the world - to boost their profits.

        Then they complain, loudly and bitterly, that the ideas aren't perfectly tailored to their thieving business models.

  • The technology is fine. It's our so-called civilization that's broken, and it's brokenness is what breaks the Internet. Between some nations and their draconic censorship, ISPs mucking about with the flow of information, and criminals using it as a vehicle to attack it and it's users, I'm surprised it works as well as it does. As usual a good thing has been ruined by getting too many PEOPLE involved with it.
    • > The technology is fine.

      No it isn't -- HTML is crap and is the THIRD time the web has been re-invented. It is a pale shadow of what could have been.

      Alan Kay - Normal Considered Harmful [youtube.com]

      • No it isn't -- HTML is crap

        No, it isn't. It's a fine markup language. When it becomes crap is when page designers think it is a publishing language and think that their view of how their HTML should be rendered is the only way their HTML should be rendered.

        and is the THIRD time the web has been re-invented.

        I'm pretty sure that HTML was there at the beginning. I remember writing web pages for the CERN server in HTML. HTML5 is perhaps the fifth redesign, trying to turn a good markup language into something it wasn't meant to be.

        Here's a demonstration of how HTML is not understood at a

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @11:51AM (#54485319)

    "There are web apps that work in Chrome but not really all that well elsewhere."

    10-15 years ago, there were "web apps" that worked in Internet Explorer but not really at all well elsewhere.

    Google decided, a couple years ago, to basically go that same route... and probably for the same reasons. It's all about lock-in.

    • 10-15? Maaan, they're still around. It's died down a little bit since IE9+ somewhat supports that new-fangled "HTML" and "javascript", but there are still a TON of business apps, especially in locked-down environments, which only support IE. A lot of it has to do with those environments historically ONLY providing internet explorer (because, locked-down environment, obviously the most insecure and targeted browser that comes with the most insecure and targeted OS is the way to go!!).

      I, for one, still rememb

    • I remember IE6. *shudders*
    • Google decided, a couple years ago, to basically go that same route... and probably for the same reasons. It's all about lock-in.

      Or, as far as I'm concerned, lock-out. Because if Google tries to lock us in to Chrome, I will simply not use Chrome.

      The result is a partition of the Web into two segments: 99.9% go on using the Web, while 0.01% can lock themselves into Chrome (if they wish).

    • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

      "There are web apps that work in Chrome but not really all that well elsewhere."

      10-15 years ago, there were "web apps" that worked in Internet Explorer but not really at all well elsewhere.

      Google decided, a couple years ago, to basically go that same route... and probably for the same reasons. It's all about lock-in.

      Agreed with lock-in, but what Google is doing is quite different from the Microsoft days.

      Microsoft wanted IE-first support and was battling with Netscape, but didn't have a specific internet tie for the data being transmitted because it was an OS and apps company, not an internet company.

      Google controls 75% of all advertising, half of all smartphones' entire software stacks, and is more than willing to track everything you do, and in fact send all of your web requests out through Google's own servers. "Brow

  • The real takeaway here is that AMP, and everything similar to it, need to die in a fire.

    Don't use AMP, don't let your clients use AMP, don't click on any AMP links. AMP is cancer.

  • Be linkable? (Score:4, Informative)

    by war4peace ( 1628283 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @11:59AM (#54485393)

    I found less and less stuff to be truly linkable. Some of it is almost linkable, but more often than not I try to bookmark that shit only to click it later and get to some generic page which asks me to manually go through some hoops to get to the specific item I bookmarked in the first place.

    Direct downloads of software installation kits is a prime example.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:04PM (#54485445)

    To be part of the web, your app or page must:

    1. Collect as much of the user's data as possible. Bonus if you can get their entire social contact graph, page visits from outside your domain, and all their search history.

    2. Work as poorly as possible if the user attempts to push back against your data harvesting by disabling javascript. Bonus points if you can disable the clipboard and "save as".

    3. Load 10X slower than it should due to making connections to two dozen advertising domains.

    4. Attempt to hijack and/or completely break the back button.

    5. Scrunch all the text up in a 5cm wide band in the middle of an 80cm wide monitor, no matter how the user might attempt to resize the window.

    6. Smear content that would easily fit in a single page over 20 pages separated by "next" buttons so you can harvest as many ad impressions as possible.

    7. Attempt to get the user to store all of their data remotely in "the cloud", because you can't easily run big data analytics on it if the user gets to store it on their computer. See also, Gmail.

    8. Partner with national intelligence agencies.

    9. Enforce political based censorship on everyone. Saying $THING is illegal in country $C? Take it down for the whole world.

    10. Load 500KB of random scripts merely to display what could be done with 5KB of plain old HTML.

    11. Make sure standard HTML hyperlinks don't work unless the user enables scripting.

    12. Attempt to use the hardest to read color combinations.

    THAT is how you become part of the modern web.

    • 5.5 Fill the remaining 75cm with ads and 'sponsored content'.

      6.1 Hide the "next" button among at least a half dozen ads that are disguised to also look like next buttons.

      6.5 Break the site completely if adblock is enabled.

    • 4.1 Pop up an alert if the user tries to close/cancel the page.

      13. Auto-play videos that can't be configured to only start when the user manually clicks play.

      --
      The web was re-invented three times -- first in 1968, 1987, and last in 1993
      Alan Kay - Normal Considered Harmful [youtu.be]

    • 5.1 Create pages that are 120% of the window size so you can never see the entire page, ever.

      10.1 Load 5k of "plain old HTML" to display what can be done with 200 bytes of plain old text.

      12.1 Use CSS to configure a link to change to strike-through text when there is a mouse-over, making the link look like it is broken or invalid.

      12.2 Use underline font on random words so they look like active links.

      12.3 Turn random words into active links to pages to define the random words.

      6.3 Fill your page, which i

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:04PM (#54485447)
    >> HTTP and HTTPS" as part of the web

    That's awfully protocol-ist. (Good thing I'm not an ITJW.) Aside from the original web (which included things like FTP), Apple might be interested to learn that there are content-optimized protocols like QUIC out there.
    • I was under the belief that the web was just shorthand for world wide web - i.e., web pages. I know that there are web based FTP management tools that doesn't mean FTP is part of the web, no?
      • Exactly. "The Web" is simply one application of the internet. The web is a set of hypermedia resources that can be linked to one another (hence the term 'web', with a visualization of the hyperlinks appearing as a spider web). If it isn't hypermedia served over the internet, it's not the web but some other internet application. FTP, email, smartphone apps, etc. all use the internet, but are not the web.

        • To clarify, FTP's part of the web when it's accessed via a URI/URL. E.g.:
          ftp://ftp.funet.fi/pub/standards/RFC/rfc959.txt

          In that case, it's media served over the Internet from a hyperlink, but the media itself isn't served up via HTTP/S.
          • To clarify, FTP's part of the web when it's accessed via a URI/URL.

            Uhhh, no. The FTP server (and the entire FTP transaction on the wire) is no different whether the client is a web browser using a URI/URL or an FTP client from the command line.

            Just because a "web browser" has been coopted into doing other things doesn't make everything it touches part of "the web". For example, it would be silly to call a local file on your computer part of the worldwide web ("the web") just because your browser understands the "file" scheme. That file is not part of the web, it is a file

    • Aside from the original web (which included things like FTP)

      The original web did not include FTP. It was several years before web browsers understood the ftp: scheme, and it appears that at least firefox has no idea what a gopher: scheme is (a protocol that was, at one time, more prevalent than http.) Just because FTP was an internet protocol doesn't mean it was "on the web".

  • by xevioso ( 598654 ) on Thursday May 25, 2017 @12:17PM (#54485523)

    1) Define "linkable".
    2) Define "client".

    Do so in a way that is unambiguous, but also is unlikely to change over time. Good luck.

  • Now that HTML5 is finally finished, what the web is is defined very clearly by the W3C standards. Sure, you can replace those with your own proprietary tech, but then don't call it 'web'.

  • My friend Ghostery tells me this page has 31 different trackers loaded on it. 31 pieces of useless information to be sold by one group of con/ad men to another. And it is the dependence on selling demographic information and the insta-bidding of ad space that keeps clogging the tubes and prompts well meaning but deluded engineers to create solutions like AMP.

    Give me back Web 1.0 and HTML 1.1 where content where you were judged on your content, not how well your page looks on a phone.
  • (3) And must include 300k of Javascript libraries.
  • Google Apps are being discontinued except for Chrome OS.

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/... [theverge.com]

    Not only that, they're slated for second-half of 2017... so like in a couple of months. Goodbye Netflix app. I hope they've resolved the "no 1080p/4K in Chrome except in the app" issue.

  • I'm given to understand that there are even ports other than 80 and 443. Gasp! You could even write a client that does something crazy, like use port 110 for a dedicated email client. Heresy!

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