A number of blog hosts have joined this trend recently. Here is Confessions of a Community College Dean at https://suburbdad.blogspot.co.at/ (abandoned July 2019, his essays are still posted at https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions-community-college-dean as of January 2022- ed.)
Other sites appear completely blank without scripts. SquareSpace is especially egregious. Here is the blog of Aurora Simmons, a Toronto jeweller, with scripts disabled (http://www.handmaderevolution.org/blog/):
As you can see, there is no blog there for those of us who block scripts!
Reddit is very popular, and it sets many people’s expectations for a ‘mostly text’ site, so even though I do not use it much, I am very concerned.
I am sure we all know why it is important that a text-and-pictures site works without scripting, but just a reminder!
- Downloading all of those scripts wastes bandwidth (ie. your time and your money). Not everyone lives in a big city and has a high-speed Internet connection.
- Accessibility tools for people with disabilities often have trouble reading things generated by scripts
- The spiders and crawlers which search engines use to index your site and help people find your stuff usually browse the raw code not the version after all the scripts have loaded.
- HTML and CSS are quick to write and easy to maintain. Plenty of sites from the 1990s work as well as they ever did even if nobody has updated them in 10 years!
- HTML and CSS will be legible forever, whereas scripts have a short half-life and require refactoring as standards change. Remember when there were whole sites coded in Adobe Flash?
- Using a bunch of third-party scripts that you don’t understand to write simple HTML and CSS is ugly. Good engineering is simple and direct.
One reason why my home on the web is here is that I have a reasonable level of control over how my site is built. When my PhD is done, I will create another site in plain HTML and CSS for long-term projects like Armour in Texts and Fashion in the Age of Datini. And I do not link to things which appear blank without scripts.
Further Reading: Maciej Ceglowski, “The Website Obesity Crisis”
Edit 2022-01-17: fixed link broken when WordPress introduced the block editor (sigh)