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Website Colophon

...and a sort of Mission Statement for a Better Web

Autumn 2020

This website has been built with a number of key concepts in mind. Among them are the following:

Speed

Terse, hand edited HTML. Basic, minified CSS. No gratuitous use of images. And above all, no JavaScript at all.

The start page weighs in at around 10 kilobytes (unpacked), including the header image. The heaviest page so far, a bunch of photos of Minix running on an Amiga, clocks in at roughly 210 kilobytes.

Rationale

Too many sites that at their core are about text - news outlets, discussion forums, blogs - are often far too heavy for their actual content.

Old Reddit, for example, loads somewhere around four megabytes of JavaScript. Why they do that is extremely unclear since the site is perfectly browsable even with JavaScript completely turned off. Perhaps they just think our utility bills aren't high enough already?

Similarly and quite ironically, the tech blog Freedom To Tinker loads 120 kilobytes of JavaScript. Apart from the dropdown for selecting a particular author, everything seems to work just fine in Links2 - which has no JavaScript support whatsoever. This isn't uncommon: a lot of "simple" blogs written by highly competent tech people send out crazy amounts of script code that doesn't really do anything at all.

Action plan: If we thought twice about what we use scripts for, we'd end up with significantly lighter web pages. With less code they'd not only load and parse faster, but also be faster and easier to create and maintain.

Accessibility

This site is designed to look as good as possible on as many platforms and in as many browsers as possible, while still adhering to current standards and practices. It's regularly tested in Firefox, Links2, w3m, Chromium and Safari (on iOS).

The markup and CSS code is regularly checked with W3C's validators and some effort has been taken to provide useful alt attributes on images, meaningful link texts and a markup structure that's hopefully friendly to screen readers.

Rationale

As with JavaScript, too many pages rely far too heavily on a presumptive user having the latest browser, fastest computer and highest bandwidth. It might look very fancy indeed, but a lot of it seems to be more about in-group posing between designers and developers than a desire to provide a pleasant and efficient experience for readers and end users.

Also, self-important, opinionated gits like me will want to spread their deranged ramblings to as many people as possible.

Action plan: Simpler sites are easier to make accessible than complex ones. By keeping things as minimal as possible, we ensure more people can partake online - no matter where in the world they live, what kind of hardware they're on, or how they prefer to consume the actual content.

Privacy

This site uses no JavaScript and no cookies, because it doesn't have to use JavaScript or cookies. It especially doesn't need the mystery code of some kind of third party analytics software. And neither, dear reader, does your browser or you.

Rationale

The Ad Economy is not only ruining the net, but also making real and negative impacts on mental health and interpersonal relationships. Let's not feed it quite so frivolously.

Action plan: By limiting our exposure to various entities controlled by algorithms for maximizing ad revenue we will, if nothing else, keep bandwidth usage and CPU cycles down. By safeguarding actual privacy, we gain the trust of our users.

Usefulness

The site features the kind of content and software that I myself would find interesting, proved if nothing else by that I use the software myself. I make it all for free, because I enjoy making it. The views presented are entirely mine, but I do of course hope that I can sway a mind or inspire someone in some small way.

The site is admittedly suffering from a distinct lack of flatulence-related witticisms, but top men are currently working hard to rectify this.

Rationale

There's truly an amazing amount of fun and free stuff happening in computing right now, but it seems there's also a race to monetize, centralize and regulate even the simplest of software, sites and ideas.

Trying to make money from this site would ruin the fun for me, because then I'd suddenly have customers and customers always have demands.

Let me leave you with a couple of questions: If "working with your passion" involved taking complaints and support calls, would it still be your passion? Would you make the same judgment calls if you were trying to cater to a group of paying fans as you would when creating purely for fun?

Action plan: By separating funny and money as much as possible, we minimize the risk of burning out and the things we care about will be less susceptible to infiltration by self-serving bureaucrats and third party interests. Also, let's expose the people who say they don't like jokes about passing wind as the liars they are.

Datagubbe?

Swedish for old computer fogey.

Rationale

Have you even read the rest of the site?