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    This rant isn’t any more entertaining, insightful, or informative than every other “modern software is bad” rant. It is the kind of rant a content mill would write.

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      It’s time the software industry started serving its boss, the user.

      I don’t think the user has ever really been the boss. The entity cutting the checks for developing the software is the boss, and they never really cared about the user, they just care about making the next sale or accumulating the next gigabyte of PII in their database to raise their stonks valuation.

      This rant might as well be about industrial civilization as a whole, you could touch on all the same themes talking about hollywood movies, cheap plastic crap, gas station food / mcdonalds food, apple products, planned obsolescence light bulbs that are designed to burn out, etc. I feel like this is frustration with the human condition being channeled / projected onto frustration with software.

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        The entries for JSON, API, IoT are just pure bullshit, showing that either the author doesn’t understand what they are, or else doesn’t care and just wants to rant.

        (Just as one little example, Internet of Things is not about putting web server admin UIs into things; it’s about networked embedded devices.)

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          Firefox, the same thing. We have a browser that is doing everything to make itself into a different browser. And now, it is changing its very fiber, the extensions mechanism, so that we get a new framework of extensions that is completely incompatible with the old one, plus it’s going to alienate all the existing users. Oh yes, users. Supposedly the target audience who should benefit from all these software games. No, not anymore.

          Counterpoint for why abandoning the old XUL-based extensions was both the correct choice and necessary (written by a Firefox dev): https://yoric.github.io/post/why-did-mozilla-remove-xul-addons/

          (tl;dr: XUL-based “extensions” had infinite scope and were equivalent to installing arbitrary out-of-tree kernel modules, which was horrifically insecure, utterly strangled development because it was impossible to avoid breaking peoples’ “extensions”, and burned out add-on developers by forcing them to update their add-on whenever the relevant parts of Firefox’s internals were updated.)

          I would love to hear a counterpoint to the counterpoint, on what exactly should have been done instead.

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            This is definitely a rant, but I think it is something a lot of people have felt to some degree.

            I don’t buy all of what they are selling though. I happen to like JSON and the term API seems to mean something where I am.

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              Yeah, I’m wondering what the author’s prescriptions would be based on these critiques. Does the author think we should use CSV or XML instead of JSON? Or do they like JSON but want to criticize it for being a “glorified CSV” anyways? I don’t understand the point.

              And they say APIs are for people who are “idiots” and “cannot code”. Does the author think we should somehow stop using “APIs”? What the fuck does that even mean?

              I think you could write a well-reasoned argument for the problem with managers and APIs; maybe you could write about how managers may think using an external web API is a panacea, how they may be unknowledgeable about the short-term costs in terms of development time it might take to integrate with a web API or the long-term costs of making the product depend on a third party’s services. You could even fit that argument in a rant format if you wanted. But “you are an idiot, you cannot code, here, use this line here, and when it runs, it will retrieve something from a server somewhere” is so far away from that it’s not even funny. This strikes me as a really bad rant by someone who doesn’t actually understand what they’re criticizing.

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                The article is obviously a rant and some of the wording is a bit too much, with that said:

                I think the point is that maybe we didn’t need JSON and XML was just fine or at least that JSON did not fix all UX issues and in some cases, it introduced new ones. Now that we have JSON we might as well use it - that is not what the article is about.

                If we look at the history of configuration languages, let’s say it goes XML -> JSON -> YAML -> TOML (the exact transitions don’t matter - I want to show there was a lot of them) I think it is fair to say that they are all bad in some way. For example, XML was very wordy, but since it was all S-expression-like and editors were smart about it, it was easy to get it right. YAML is sometimes hard to read because (at least for me) even with editor guides it is difficult to figure out the indentation, etc.

                So if all configuration languages have UX problems why have new ones? The article claims most of this work is done for the benefit of developers who were able to spend their time coding new standards, new libraries, etc. instead of solving the original problems.

                How should the file format problem be solved? I don’t know to be honest, but I agree that with new formats what we needed was proof that they actually make all the things better before they were applied everywhere with a huge cost.

                In the same way, the author obviously didn’t say we should not use APIs. The thing is that before APIs programs could communicate through interfaces as well. Most of them could be called APIs maybe some were, it does not matter. What matters is at some point APIs became a “word” and it was used by business types as a nice abstract idea that sells and by developers again as an abstract idea that is easy to use: “we need to provide this API”, “we need to support this API”.

                I think the argument in the article was that I often see release notes similar to: “new export format” or “full support for new Gesture API”. Maybe the end-user does not care which format we use to export their data if it is not faster than it was 2 years ago? maybe they do not care if we support the latest Swipe Gesture API if the app loads slower than it has 1 year ago?

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                but I think it is something a lot of people have felt to some degree.

                I agree, but I’m not sure that’s a sufficient bar to be worth posting in itself.

                For instance, if I focus specifically on the Firefox-related part of the rant, I understand the frustration (and it’s a common sentiment) but there’s zero actual investigation into why the extensions system had to be replaced. And frankly, the reason is underwhelming: the XUL-based extensions were about as secure as permitting users to install arbitrary kernel modules, and as such were insecure by design.

                If we agree that people ought to be able to do banking over the web in Firefox, then it’s a foregone conclusion that XUL-based extensions had to go.

                Also, based on this:

                When I go to a restaurant, I don’t want to know what the staff is doing with my food. I’m paying for the service and ignorance. And I expect the same from software. I’m paying, I’m the boss. It’s time the software industry started serving its boss, the user.


                I expect that if banking wasn’t available on Firefox (or was notoriously insecure), this guy would be outraged at why such a primal need wasn’t fulfilled. So honestly I don’t see any solution here when this guy 1) doesn’t want to hear what the actual problems are, and 2) isn’t satisfied with any of his options. There is literally no way of satisfying this person.

                But circling back to your comment: if it’s something that a lot of people have felt, that’s a topic worth discussing if only to check if there’s a method of fixing it. I think a more useful approach would be if someone were to more explicitly start a discussion in the form of “A lot of people feel X. What is the cause of this, and what could be done about it?” Instead of trying to discuss the drivel in OP’s link.

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                  This reminds me of the thing chrome was trying to do with extensions specifically involving ad block a few years ago. I don’t really know what came of that. But the argument for it I think was made on the basis of performance and security.

                  You could make the argument that letting a website do whatever it wants with javascript isn’t a good idea.