fulgid techy things & other things by Noah Muth

Imagine a Better Web

This post is part of my Thirty Days of Things, an attempt to post one article on this blog every day for 30 days.

the mess we are in

The web was designed for reading documents. It began in the 90s with static HTML; your browser would download markup, render text, and maybe add some images. Eventually, custom styling became possible with CSS, and later interactivity with JavaScript. Now, thanks to JavaScript and AJAX, the web is a platform for rich applications like productivity suites, cable TV replacements, and games. Many sites which should be primarily text content, like cnn.com, run enough tracking and advertising scripts to be considered an application.

In this current situation, we have the following problem:

  1. The web was not designed for GUI applications, and using it to create good GUI applications invokes heavy overhead (particularly in RAM).
  2. The web is still the cheapest, easiest, most painless way to create cross-platform GUI applications.
  3. Because the web is cheap and easy, we create more complex and intensive web applications, and users pay the cost in wasted resources (particularly RAM).

The problem is that the web was designed first for documents, and later the ability to write applications naturally developed. What if we redesigned web technologies to be application-friendly from the start?

the goal

Any design for an application-first web would have to solve these problems:

In my opinion, it should also have these goals:

Over the next few days, I’ll noodle out some ideas as to how this might work in practice.