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    Finally, using tags and MP4s instead of tags and GIFs is brings you into the middle of an ongoing cat and mouse game between browsers and unconscionable ad vendors, who abuse the attribute in order to get the users’ attention.

    Indeed. And I feel like I’m playing a cat and mouse game with the browsers. Long ago, annoying videos were delivered with Flash. I didn’t have flash and I was happy. Then browsers took all the annoying aspects of Flash and made them possible with HTML5. So I had to dig around in settings and disable autoplay and media loading, etc. although with somewhat mixed results. Now they’re taking that annoyance and making it possible with just an img tag.

    There’s this flattening effect that happens at the same time as broader feature support. Certain features used to be “advanced”, which meant you could cut them off. But everything has been squashed downwards. Everything is “baseline” now. You can’t readily draw a horizontal line to split the feature stack. It has to be a vertical line (on my imaginary diagram) which in practice is much harder to draw. Old man ruining the web grumps aside, I think there’s a lesson here about how we build complex systems, and how we let users control them, etc. Something about more features vs bigger features.

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      Exactly! And do we really need this perversion of the img-tag for this purpose? Why can’t we just stay with video now that the transition has finally been completed from gifs for animated content? Why can’t the browser-vendors just optimize their browsers? And from what it seems using img for videos is more like a hack that just slows everything down even more. There is a reason why videos are not preloaded.

      At suckless we believe that the web has to be reformed or at least reduced to a sane subset. The reason why we have the internet of apps is mostly because the OS-platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux) failed to provide consistent native interfaces which are naturally given on the web, or at least were developed further and further to accommodate it. One can’t just discard the web. The first step towards simplicity is to discard one’s dependencies on complex web applications. Having achieved that, it is possible to browse the web for instance with JavaScript disabled, which is already a huge factor in simplification.

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        Now they’re taking that annoyance and making it possible with just an img tag.

        What are they newly making possible, though? The annoyance of decoding MP4s? Because the annoyance of distracting animations already existed… they just had to be served up as animated GIFs.

        I guess the fact that MP4s are much smaller than GIFs could allow soundless animations to be used a bunch more than they currently are. But it’s uncertain to me that that’s actually going to be the case.