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    Web browsers need to stop browsers rant drewdevault.com
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    Safari is a joke.

    Why? Personally I use it a lot and I really like it. Moreover WebKit wouldn’t exist without Safari, and Chrome was forked from WebKit. Back in the time, even IE wasn’t a joke and killed NetScape. Could you elaborate?

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      I’m a bit puzzled by this statement as well. The most heard criticism for Safari is that it’s slow to implement new features, if it implements them at all. Given the rest of the article, it’s safe to assume that the author doesn’t share in this criticism.

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        It’s a funny statement as Safari actually will not implement 16 Web API’s due to privacy/tracking concerns. So they aren’t adding the bloat which Drew complains about ;-)

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          It was my preferred browser on Mac too. You can disable tabs with it, which is pretty much impossible in Firefox or chrome now.

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            WebKit wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for KDE and KHTML. We can thank Apple and now Google for creating forks that just fragment the community.

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            No layoffs or pay cuts at the management level, of course! It’s not like they’re responsible for these problems, it’s not like anyone’s fucking responsible for any of this, it’s not like the very idea of personal responsibility has been forgotten by both executives and engineers, no sir!

            I disagree with pretty much the whole post, but this is patently false.

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              https://twitter.com/lizardlucas42/status/1293232090985705478

              I imagine for those layed off, it was a bit of a financial burden too.

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                There were no pay cuts anywhere. Layoffs happened fairly uniformly across ICs and management. Not sure how that tweet disproves my comment.

                Fwiw I don’t remember Baker saying those words, and her response to the same question today did not follow that theme.

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                  https://answers.thenextweb.com/s/mitchell-baker-aGY62z

                  Baker: Are execs, esp CEOs paid too much? I’m of the camp that thinks the different between exec comp and other comp is high. So then i think, OK what should mozilla do about it? My answer is that we try to mitigate this, but we won’t solve this general social problem on our own.

                  Here’s what I mean by mitigate: we ask our executives to accept a discount from the market-based pay they could get elsewhere. But we don’t ask for an 75-80% discount. I use that number because a few years ago when the then-ceo had our compensation structure examined, I learned that my pay was about an 80% discount to market. Meaning that competitive roles elsewhere were paying about 5 times as much. That’s too big a discount to ask people and their families to commit to.

                  So, the “difference between exec and other comp is too high” but also it’s okay for Baker to raise their compensation to closer to market rate because that is “too big a discount to ask people and their families to commit to”.

                  I wonder how Baker feels about the 100% discount that the people fired are getting. The average salary at Mozilla is ~$100k according to glassdoor, so Baker’s salary ~$2.5M would pay for maybe 20 engineers and managers with room to spare. Could have maybe kept 50 or more jobs if the whole C-suite committed to pay cuts.

                  Anybody who genuinely believes that they’re worth 25 times their employees’ wage is a vampire.

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                    Speaking for myself, I suspect most C-level executives don’t earn their salary. Maybe there are a few genius CEOs out there who do, I don’t know.

                    Most of us (ICs and management) take some sort of pay cut to work at Mozilla. We could likely make more elsewhere, but believe in the mission enough to make the cut worthwhile. I’m willing to take a small cut, but if the pay wasn’t at least competitive, I’d go work for one of the tech giants instead.

                    So while I don’t believe it’s right that the wage gap is so high, I’m also a practical person and understand that it needs to at least be competitive with industry standards to attract people with that type of experience. It would take an enormous stroke of luck to find someone with talent who is willing to work for a quarter of what they could be making elsewhere. I certainly wouldn’t do it.

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                      It’s pretty common for people in academia to take a 70% or more pay cut relative to industry wages to work on things that they’re passionate about. Top universities don’t seem to have any problem recruiting very smart people on that condition. My take-away message from this is that Mozilla C-level execs care less about Mozilla than a typical computer science academic does about their work. That doesn’t really fill me with confidence in their leadership. Particularly given that 30% is a competitive CxO salary still puts you in the top 1% by income. You can live very comfortably on 10% of a $2.5m/year salary, let alone 20-25%. If you offered $500K/year to run Mozilla Corp, does she really think you’d have a shortage of qualified and passionate applicants?

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                        I think that’s a reasonable opinion, and I honestly don’t know the answer to your last question. I will say that Mozilla spent 8 months searching for a replacement CEO and failed to find someone suitable (even with competitive salary). I think it might be a little harder than you’re making it out to be.

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                          The academic and CEO job markets are different enough that I don’t think this is a good comparison.
                          CEO compensation is determined by the board (How Companies Actually Decide What to Pay CEOs) and they use other companies in the same industry as a benchmark. The average tech company CEO makes $6.6 million and many of them get stock options. It’s highly unlikely that the Mozilla board would decide to pay bottom of market under these conditions. Self interest is also a factor - Mitchell Baker is a member of both the Mozilla Corporation and Mozilla Foundation boards.

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                          Anybody who genuinely believes that they’re worth 25 times their employees’ wage is a vampire.

                          CEOs don’t have to believe they are worth anything. They simply have to negotiate the best offer they can get.

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                      Same. I looked and looked and could not find any evidence of this.

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                        We’re any senior managers fired? Did the CEO cut salary? From Mozilla’s announcement it sounded like the entire 250 were from staff working in cancelled projects.

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                          Yes, and (as stated in another thread) no.

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                        (Modern) web browsers exist to deliver nonfree software to users in a way that is more convenient for the nonfree software vendors.

                        So if you believe “nonfree software can be ignored” (like drewdevault has said in the past) then maybe we can just ignore browsers by extension?

                        I mean, I still need a way to see wikipedia, and lobste.rs, and maybe some other stuff, but so far on my PinePhone I’m finding a lot of things I want to see actually do work fine without JS or most crazy features because true documents (or things very close to documents, like lobste.rs) don’t use the crazy features anyway.

                        Of course you can find exceptions, like maintstream news (does anyone still use that?) or product listings on some stores (which I think are still document-ish if you’re just looking at prices and specs at least). And then some of us choose to swallow the bitter pill and use some of those nonfree apps (like my bank’s online banking web app as an example) but that’s a choice we’ve made to hurt ourselves in one way to (hopefully) gain elsewhere – a tradeoff.

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                          That’s not even a consistent part of what he thinks in general. Apparently all closed source software is bad… except Steam and games, since he plays them. And the majority of games on Steam are, afaik, closed source, whereas a browser can be used to access unimaginable amounts of documents besides non free applications.

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                          TLDR - Drew hates the modern web, gripes about Mozilla management, and wants the scope of web browsers to be reduced.

                          Edited to remove snarkiness.

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                            I’m forgiving the rantiness because I’m upset and angry about the Mozilla thing too. What I’m taking from this:

                            1. Google is actively saturating the web with complexity for its own ends, one of which presumably is creating an insurmountable barrier to entry into the browser market
                            2. All the other existing players but Google clearly have no interest in trying to stay in that market
                            3. The resulting mess isn’t doing anyone but Google any good

                            Of course it’s possible my interpretation is somewhat motivated. ;)

                            I don’t think this really adds any factual information to the pool, but opinion pieces aren’t always a bad thing, and it could start some important conversations about the future of the open web.

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                              Mozilla just fired everyone relevant

                              It feels like Mozilla management finally accomplished what Microsoft and Google tried unsuccessfully for decades:

                              Burning the company to the ground.

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                              Exactly, I feel like this isn’t saying anything that Drew hasn’t already said in the past.

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                                And he is right in every word.

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                                The browser is the operating system.

                                More accurately, the browser is the terminal. Glass ttys gave way to monochrome smart terminals because people wanted the features therein. Monochrome smart terminals gave way to color terminals because people wanted color. Terminals got local printers, vector graphics, sixel graphics, pointing devices…and many of those features had people complaining then too.

                                The problem is that people want rich, interactive, colorful applications. They want those applications on all their computers. This problem was solved in the 90’s by Java. In an alternate universe this article would be talking about Java encroaching on the space of the operating system and how it needed to stop. Instead we have a different “write once run anywwhere” runtime, one that doesn’t generally require any installation, one that works on just about every major and minor device, and that lets you take your data and applications with you anywhere you have an Internet connection.

                                Honestly, the modern web browser has solved a lot of problems. The concern, IMHO and as also stated by the article, isn’t that the browser keeps growing - that’s just meeting people’s needs and desires. Much more concerning than the growing scope of the browser is the consolidation of the browser engine landscape. Mozilla is moribund.

                                The “good” news, even if we all end up standardized on WebKit/Blink, is that there are still at least different browsers built on top of it. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Opera, etc will still be able to have some tension between them. Google can add a feature to Chrome unilaterally but if Microsoft and Apple don’t follow suit, it (hopefully) won’t get standardized.

                                That being said, I think Google needs to be divested of Chrome. Breaking up Google entirely isn’t probably feasible: search and advertising are too intertwined for either to be viable on their own there, but the browser business could be spun off into a non-profit or something like Mozilla.

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                                  It’s just patently absurd to call the web dead when native apps have been almost entirely replaced with stuff in the web browser. Hell, serious business people just use Gmail as a web app!

                                  I really dislike how the stuff with Mozilla in particular is playing out, but like…. I want my browser to be able to do most of the stuff on that list. I don’t feel a need for native apps for, like, a thing I’ll use for 30 minutes in my entire life. It’s delivering more and more on the promise of Java, letting me use any OS pretty comfortably without having to worry if Slack will work well under Wine.

                                  People who whine about EMA also seem to forget that life before EMA was installing nasty plugins that could do even more damage to your system. The story of the “expanded scope” of the browser is mostly a story of reducing the need for nasty plugins to do stuff people were already doing in the browser. It’s mostly been gradual improvements!

                                  You might not like the direction, but it’s like saying the Wii is a failure despite it selling like 10x more than the Gamecube.

                                  Aside: AMP’s power dynamics are a not great, but I love getting AMP search results. It loads instantly. Yeah, the news website/recipe site could just be better. But it’s not. I’m sure loads of people are fine with AMP, even if you are not.

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                                    The web is one of the best cross platform development frameworks available. I absolutely want to see it get as close to native parity as possible. WebUSB, WebBT, WebMidi, sensors etc.

                                    There is a huge problem with memory usage, but I don’t think it’s native APIs that are causing that problem.

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                                      So you basically want your Chrome monopoly running as a walled garden OS on your machine’s real (but now useless) operating system?

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                                        it’s not a walled garden, it’s a sandbox. there’s a huge difference.

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                                          It can be both.

                                          It is in Google’s best interests to make it a walled garden.

                                          They’ve already changed the Chrome APIs to make it impossible to implement a good adblocker. There’s nothing stopping them from modifying Chrome such that you can’t install extensions that aren’t approved by the Chrome app store.

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                                        This is the fault of everybody who has made learning native development more difficult than necessary.

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                                          What do you mean? Who’s making learning native dev more difficult than necessary? Platform vendors?

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                                            For proprietary systems, vendors for not taking documentation and backwards-compatibility seriously enough.

                                            For community-driven systems like Linux, developers not settling around sane architectures (looking at you, desktop Linux) and really just polishing up the on-ramp for other folks. Like, the two best options for rich desktop experiences on Linux are either using the Windows APIs through Proton/Wine or using Electon.

                                            For just programmer culture, de-emphasizing writing cross-platform software in favor of living in ’nix/Apple/Windows monocultures and also treating targeting multiple systems like some herculean task instead of just a collection of shims over common logic. So much FUD.

                                            (oh, also, fuck Android dev. Just figured that’s worth mentioning.)

                                            For all of the talk of freedom and libre software and choice and all of that, we’ve failed our developers.

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                                          I would dispute that it’s cross-platform. What it is, is a platform that can be bootstrapped on top of other, better platforms.

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                                            That’s pretty much what all cross platform frameworks are.

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                                              Fair enough.

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                                            or, I dunno, and hear me out: what if cross-platform desktop app development in Go and Rust were actually good? Go has fyne, but … have you ever tried to actually use that? It’s … not good. Qt still exists, and Qt … is good, actually. Even if Qt had a very permissive license, the problem with Qt would still be that it’s very closely tied to C++’s type system, and adapting Qt to Go is deeply awkward (dunno about Rust). I have built a non-trivial desktop/systray app in Go+Qt and shipped a commercial product with it, it was a very awkward toolchain to work with (weird conversion semantics, made the compile times much longer, made cross-compilation a nightmare, much harder to set up a dev environment) but allowed us to do things that would be impossible to do in the browser (watch processes and tail local files).

                                            If you think the only difference between a single-page app in a browser and a native app is performance … I really don’t know what to say. That’s just fundamentally untrue. “But electron…” still makes it so that you have to wait until a browser manufacturer decides to allow you to use a part of the operating system, instead of just … using it yourself.

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                                              I think the biggest difference is distribution. It’s just so easy to type in a URL and be using a webapp, close the tab & it’s “uninstalled”, versus having to find a download link, install, let it run arbitrary code on my computer, then if I want to get rid of it, figure out how to remove whatever traces it left behind.

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                                              I totally agree with this. And not just because it’s cross platform, there are many other benefits.

                                              As a user I don’t want to have to install some random company’s app to use their service, that I’m probably going to use only once and will uninstall an hour later. I also don’t want to have to trust that their app isn’t doing anything nasty TikTok-style. And I’m always sad when I’m sat at my computer but I’m forced to use my phone because some service requires you to use their app.

                                              As a web developer, I can publish whatever I want without having to work/pay to get included in the app stores. I also don’t need to worry about it being pulled sometime in the future for some reason. Maybe this doesn’t happen that often but I’ve read so many stories where this has happened to people.

                                              For sure there’s always going to be use cases for native apps, but I think the the web is a much better option in many cases, and all these API’s are helping that happen.

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                                                Why not Java?

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                                                  I don’t have anything much against java-the-platform, but I think its been on a downward trajectory for end user applications for quite a long time now. My sense is its getting increasingly unlikely that a random end user has a jvm already installed. They lost the default apple install, the installation and update story is miserable ux. It shares some of the downsides of the Web (non native ui, memory usage, start up time) but doesn’t share the benefits (discoverability, insane level of preinstalled users, built in update mechanism). It continues to be a decent choice in corporate environments, but for end user apps?

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                                                    I can’t run Java apps on my iPad

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                                                      Sounds like a device problem, not a Java problem.

                                                      Best to talk to the device manufacturer about it.

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                                                        Absolutely not. If I’m looking for a platform to deploy my next app to, going ahead with something that doesn’t run on the device my target users want to run it on and then pretending it’s the manufacturers fault is just a horrible idea.

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                                                          But you won’t be able to use any of the apis not supported by Safari anyway. Who’s to blame then?

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                                                  Web browsers that will render the modern web cost millions of dollars to produce.

                                                  Who else has the incentive to do that?

                                                  Is he suggesting that someone (not him, presumably) fork Chrome and remove the extensions and features he doesn’t like, and backport security fixes weekly?

                                                  Google’s incentives are clear, and no one is forced to run browsers with these featuresets he complains about.

                                                  What, exactly, is he proposing, and to whom?

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                                                    What, exactly, is he proposing, and to whom?

                                                    “I call for an immediate and indefinite suspension of the addition of new developer-facing APIs to web browsers. “

                                                    The article is very short and doesn’t need a lot of interpretation. He simply wants the companies that create browsers to stop adding these new features and in some cases start removing them. This may happen with Firefox. By removing 25% of their workforce it might take a little bit longer to add new features.

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                                                      Firefox wants feature parity with Chrome.

                                                      Google wants a large technical moat around browser competitors, as well as full, native-app-like functionality on ChromeOS devices (hence webmidi and webusb et c).

                                                      Why would they stop? Because Drew said so?

                                                      More importantly, why should they?

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                                                        Google wants a large technical moat around browser competitors

                                                        More importantly, why should they?

                                                        Should they be allowed to rig the market such that it’s impossible to compete in? It sounds like you agree they’re doing that, and I don’t see how that’s a good thing by anyone’s standards.

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                                                          It seems to me that Google is playing the embrace-extend-extinguish game, but in a different way: they’re extending the scope so broadly and with features so hard to implement that even companies comparable in size to Google don’t can’t compete against it (think of Microsoft dropping trident and forking chromium, and think of opera basically becoming a chromium skin)

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                                                            Nobody’s rigging anything by releasing free software (Chromium).

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                                                              I’m not sure if that’s true. Google has arguably “won” the browser wars by open-sourcing chromium. Everyone (almost) chose to contribute to Google’s dominance rather than compete with them. You can’t realistically fork Chromium anyway, with the limited resources you left yourself with, so all you can do is contribute back to Google while sheepishly adopting everything they force upon you.

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                                                            They shouldn’t stop because Drew said so. It looks like they’ll stop whenever this becomes a financial burden.

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                                                              We’ll end up with a situation like before, with IE 6: All competitors well and truly crushed with a more featureful, “better” browser, and then decide to throw in the towel when it comes to maintenance. Yay…

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                                                          Web browsers that will render the modern web cost millions of dollars to produce.

                                                          Yes, and the proposal is to stop adding features to keep the cost from rising further.

                                                          You know, there might be viable new competition, if writing a browser wouldn’t involve also writing a half-assed operating system, an USB stack, an OpenGL driver wrapper, …

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                                                            I’m not sure that there is a legal or moral argument that they shouldn’t be permitted to. There certainly isn’t a logical one that, from their perspective, they shouldn’t.

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                                                              how is moral that a private american corporation has de facto unlimited power over a technology developed by thousands of people around the world over the years and it’s free to steer the future of such a critical technology? If Google behaves like Google, this will lead to the exploitation of billions of user around the world. This is the equivalent of buying out all the sources of water and then asking for money at the price you decide. Web Technologies are now necessary to create and operate the tools we use to reproduce socially, to work, to study, to keep families and communities together: letting a bunch of privileged techbros in California exploit these needs freely is in no way moral.

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                                                                It’s nothing like buying out the water supply. In this case there are still alternate browsers with differing feature sets.

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                                                                  Not if Google keeps breaking the standards and no dev supports the alternative browsers. Yes, you can have nice browsers that work for niche sites, but that might become a separate web entirely that will be simply ignored by the vast majority of the users.

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                                                                  Because steering is an abstraction, at any point you can use the version of Chromium from that day for all time if you so wish.

                                                                  Google gets free expression just like anyone else does, and can add any features they like to their own free software project.

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                                                                    A browser can be used only if the websites are compatible. The situation where chromium is a viable, secure option now might change in the future, rendering it a non-viable option. Why do you think Google will keep supporting chromium after winning this war? It might happen but it might not.

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                                                              Yeah, I don’t really understand.

                                                              His proposal seems to be “give the last vestiges of control over the web to Google”? It might make more sense if the title were “Google needs to stop”.

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                                                                At the moment, Google is deciding where web browsers go, approximately unilaterally. The two aren’t precisely equivalent, but they’re far too close for comfort.

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                                                              It is ridiculous. I keep saying “stop helping” to prompts. Dismiss, no, stop. Stop helping. It’s bad help.

                                                              Humans find the shortest path. Like water downhill and electricity. If the web gets dumb, something will pop up in its place with usage. Flash, applets, realplayer, VRML, some quicktime file popping up and other things. The old things weren’t destroyed but slowly get routed around. People will figure out what works - half the population is above average intelligence.

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                                                                It’d be nice if web browsers stopped development. But there’s no reason they need to stop.

                                                                The reason is we, as technologists, have the skills to create/revitalize computing platforms. It is expensive and difficult work. But the web was not always dominant. It was once niche, a little weird, and seen as a toy compared to desktop apps. It was built up by technologists. All of the effort put toward that can be directed toward web apps that respect users, or the revitalization of native apps. Drew does good work in this vein.

                                                                We can do it again elsewhere. We don’t need permission, or the status of working on something “important.” (Controversially: we don’t need non-technologists to buy into it, either. They’ll come if it’s good and has something for them.) I suspect we lack the collective imagination, and the will.

                                                                Me, I’m eagerly awaiting the web losing it’s hegemony. It’s been a long time coming, and it is slipping. But it will be awhile longer still.

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                                                                  fad nonsense like a paid VPN service and virtual reality tech

                                                                  Citation needed. A paid VPN service by Mozilla is desirable to me, and VR is extremely useful and interesting. He has an extremely hot take here. Perhaps you can make the argument that Mozilla shouldn’t be focusing on those things, but you can’t just dismiss them as “fad nonsense” without some solid reasoning.

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                                                                    This is correct. Browsers are WAAY TOO big. It should be possible to have an open source browser project. It is effectively not possible, because the minimum viable browser would be something that only a Google can make. NetSurf is probably the closest.

                                                                    It’s like everybody has forgotten how lame it was when Microsoft had a lock on the general installed user base. This is the same thing. Once we are totally locked into products that are produced by commercial entities it will suck again.

                                                                    That’s it, I’m switching to only using NetSurf. This page probably doesn’t work there, who knows.

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                                                                      I would be surprised if lobste.rs doesn’t work with NetSurf. This website uses very little (mis)features.

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                                                                        Using NetSurf (as of a week ago at least), I can’t save, upvote, or reply. I haven’t tried submitting. Working without, or with very limited, JavaScript is something that HN does quite a bit better than here.

                                                                        For now I use Lobste.rs on my phone instead, which isnt a great solution.

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                                                                        I was curious about this, so I tried to install NetSurf

                                                                        • on my Raspberry Pi it relies on a libc newer than I have installed
                                                                        • it’s not available for MacOS
                                                                        • the Windows binary is a ``technology demonstrator and is not ready for general use’’

                                                                        I’ll check back in a few months, I guess.

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                                                                          I’m testing my projects with NetSurf and make sure they work. Filed a bug report once for broken form submits. It got fixed! :-) Not everything looks perfect in NetSurf, but the functionality is all there!

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                                                                          Modern browsers are operating systems, for better or worse. It’s hard to imagine complaining that the Linux kernel is getting too complex (or maybe it isn’t so hard).

                                                                          We can all agree that browsers today are not what it was once meant to be a browser, but the meaning of words changes over time.

                                                                          Should browsers abandon all of what they made possible the past decade, delete millions of lines of code, and only support a simplified format like Gemini? Or is there space for both, perhaps under another name?

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                                                                            Meta question: This post is tagged browsers and rant, and is up on lobste.rs. Yet a similar post, titled “Mozilla is dead”, got removed. Why remove one, and keep the other?

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                                                                              The moderation log is publicly available to clear questions like this up. The reason given for that article was “Removing business analysis.” I assume this article is still up because it’s more technology focused than business focused and “Mozilla is Dead” was removed because it was the opposite.

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                                                                                Ah, right. I love the transparent moderation here (which isn’t the case over at HN). r/ScientificNutrition is another community that does it well.

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                                                                                  fwiw I made https://orangesite.sneak.cloud for exactly this reason.

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                                                                                    Aha, thank you for that, it’s interesting to see what holds their attention.

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                                                                              i also think it is a problem, and imo one of root causes is the belief that browser NEEDS TO support x and y and z and all the “standards”, created by committee of 1.5 corps.

                                                                              i personally believe that one should be able to use ANY browser, and the site should bend over backwards to accomodate.

                                                                              working mostly by myself part-time for a couple of years, i was able to support almost every single browser i,ve tried, including classics like nn3, nn2, mosaic, lynx, ie3, opera3, and many others.

                                                                              ironically, chrome is the one which gives me the most grief and head-scratching

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                                                                                Mosaic and Netscape Navigator 2 didn’t support CSS right? Does this mean you did most layouts with table elements? Since you’d be limited to HTML 4, I’d be curious what didn’t work in Chrome (unless you built your site with one giant blink element).

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                                                                                  I’m assuming support doesn’t mean an exactly equivalent experience, just an acceptable one. That’s basically what we do with IE11 at this point – ignore minor cosmetic issues as long as a user can complete the main goal of the site with that browser.

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                                                                                    as swehren said, my goal is accessibility and functionality. i do have optional table layout, but mosaic does not support table either.

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                                                                                    Are you talking about http://shitmyself.com/ ? If so, that’s really cool!

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                                                                                    Remember with IE6 how it was in use for a long time and web developers complained that it was the bane of their lives because it made it difficult-to-impossible to deploy newer web technologies?

                                                                                    We are now living in the opposite extreme, where forced and rolling updates bundle security and functional changes. Because everyone “must” take the security things, they must take the functional things, and website developers are now free to deploy whatever feature was added 18 months ago. Once that happens, there’s no way for users to go back, because the web depends on the newly added features, and the amount of functionality (and security vulnerabilities) goes to infinity.

                                                                                    Pick your poison. At least personally, I think users should be in control of updates, and things should be more stable, which implies accepting the IE6 scenario. Not that it seems likely to happen, because the incentives for it do not exist.

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                                                                                      The problem with IE6 wasn’t that it was slow, it’s that it was broken. A solid browser implementating IE6-era web tech (say, a single digit firefox version) would be great.

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                                                                                      I think at some point in the near (sooner than later) future Apple will make the brave, courageous move to remove Safari and WWW Access from the iPhone. The ‘Web’ will be a depreciated, out of date word within a year, replaced with some other locked down ecosystem. I imagine this will happen by 2027, maybe before.. screenshot this, you heard it here first

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                                                                                        Open standards are not enough for a healthy ecosystem. They need to be accessible to developers, as well.

                                                                                        By accessible, I mean small enough that independent implementations can be created and maintained without megacorp levels of funding. Web standards are hideously complicated to implement, and browsers are hideously difficult to charge for. This means that they’re inevitably going to end up getting captured.

                                                                                        I didn’t expect Mozilla to go through mass layoffs now – I thought Google was getting enough value out of having a browser to point at and say “We’re not a monopoly!” – but it seems like it was going to be the end they were heading for. Even if they cut 80% of their costs and focused on the browser, they’d have to come up with 100 million a year.

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                                                                                          The problem is also demand (for features), not just supply (browser authors trying to write scratches for itches). Every front-end dev has their little feature or quirk they can’t live without. So it metastasizes. Add on things like minifying that really defeats any visibility into why something doesn’t work and a browser author is behind before they even begin. Believe me, I know.

                                                                                          What would it take for everyone to say that we have what we need and we can stop? I bet lots of people have their pain points too, and if we could just fix those … so, we don’t stop.

                                                                                          Things like Gemini are a conscious decision to say “there won’t be more, so deal with it.” Apparently we can’t say that in the Modern Web (tm) and thus here we are with no end in sight.

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                                                                                            The problem is also demand (for features)

                                                                                            There is a difference between new features and new APIs. Plan9 is a good example of how you can accommodate new capabilities (features) in terms of your old APIs. Unlike Drew I do think Web Components were a step in the right direction. But it is clear that the web would benefit of taking a step back and thinking about what would be a good set of building blocks for what the use cases they want to support.

                                                                                            The article though is a low-effort rant that doesn’t make that point clear.

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                                                                                            Thank god Drew said this, because now everything will change.

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                                                                                              No, nothing will change “because Drew said it”. He’s a very abrasive person and his opinions get the attention because he’s controversial appeals to a certain audience which upvotes his content.

                                                                                              He’s a good guy, he’s got good ideals, but his communication skills need a lot of work.

                                                                                              I’m not opposing what he’s said, but you overestimate the impact he has.

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                                                                                                I was being sarcastic

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                                                                                                  Wasn’t obvious :) You nailed it.

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                                                                                              If Google has enough power to dictate AMP usage across the web, they have more than enough power to dictate what the browser will and will not do–regardless of who ends up writing and maintaining that browser. This is probably why MS threw in the towel.

                                                                                              The Mozilla thing is noise. They make most of their money from search partnerships. Hard to say “no” to Google when they’re the ones keeping the lights on:

                                                                                              https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/annualreport/2017/#:~:text=Today%2C%20the%20majority%20of%20Mozilla,remain%20the%20subject%20of%20litigation.

                                                                                              Given their current share of the browser market (and especially poor showing in mobile), I think Mozilla is just a ~$500M/yr antitrust insurance policy:

                                                                                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers#Summary_tables

                                                                                              If the cool kids want something less offensive than the modern web, they will have to make it. “Build it, and they will come

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                                                                                                Give me text with (very) basic styling, images and basic animations (which I get to trigger) and nothing else. I’ll do my own styling through the client I use - to suit me. That would make me happy - happier than I am now - for 90% of what I do through web browsers.

                                                                                                This might sound like a simple to implement set of features on the client side, but really it isn’t. There’s still crypto to (partly) defeat snooping on what I’m reading, layout, smooth scrolling, caching, history, bookmarks … and much more.

                                                                                                I still want to watch videos, buy food, interact with people, and all the other useful things we can do on the web, but I’d much prefer to do all of these in dedicated apps. I have apps for these examples on my phone already!

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                                                                                                  I certainly don’t want one app per restaurant/shop I order food/things from. Not on a phone, not on a computer either.

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                                                                                                    Perhaps create a set of standard protocols for these use-cases so that you can use any restaurant app implementation to order at any restaurant? Businesses often believe they are snow flakes and need their own apps with stupid gimmicks and stuff, but if you look at it these apps are all the same. So why not unify that?

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                                                                                                      Nice idea! Restaurants are currently given the choice of letting the well-known delivery services take a large cut on orders, or trying to go solo and risk being ignored.

                                                                                                      If they all published a menu, opening times, etc. in a standardised format then any app would be able to present this to customers. For ordering, I believe at least one service installs a ‘connected’ printer at premises. I don’t see why this couldn’t be a commodity device.

                                                                                                      I can’t imagine how this would all get off the ground, though. There doesn’t seem to be any incentive for the delivery services to support it, and restaurants would need some help getting the data published, so there would need to be some infrastructure and support provided for that.

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                                                                                                        such a protocol would have to be choke full of corner cases, though. Basically would need to be scriptable (how about some “restaurantScript” language inspired from java?). How else do you do 13-in-a-dozen offers, holiday/valentine’s specials, let people ask for special acomoddations, handle allergies, vegan, shared dishes, etc. ? And that’s just for restaurants, why a protocol for restaurants and not bakeries or coffee shops? Where do you put the limit?

                                                                                                        Thinking of it, I don’t recall a lot of internet protocols tailored for “real life” stuff. They tend to be lower level and preoccupied with computers only. (I’d be happy to be proven wrong).

                                                                                                        Besides, it’s indeed unrealistic to imagine someone would come up with such a protocol and that it’d gain adoption. No one benefits from it except the users.

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                                                                                                          If you use some delivery company apps, you start to get a feel for what kind of structure and features they allow in the menus provided by restaurants. Emulating this seems at least possible, therefore. It already exists - just not in the form you’re imagining where it has to deal with infinite possibilities.

                                                                                                          I completely agree that it would be the consumer who benefits, but I’m not sure that means only them. Happy customers can lead to more business, surely?

                                                                                                          I do agree that adoption seems almost unimaginable though!

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                                                                                                      Me neither. In fact I use:

                                                                                                      1. An app for groceries (from one supermarket, but with thousands of brands of goods)
                                                                                                      2. An app for takeaway food delivery (that covers most of decent restaurants/takeaways around here)
                                                                                                      3. An app for clothing (that covers hundreds of brands and has human + algorithmic assistance). These all work quite differently so it’s good that they are different apps with different interface designs.