Building a Website to Last
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Building a Website to Last

The web is going in some very strange directions, with all kinds of technologies overlaid on the simple HTML and CSS and JPG that most people can learn to work with. A lot of modern sites are generated by scripts in the browser or are powered by a content management system like a forum: that is, they are backed with a database and run scripts on the server to turn the database into a website. Some of this comes from attempts to fund websites by advertising (and these failed miserably) and others come from attempts to make sites look good on all size of screens (mostly unnecessary, sometimes impossible), and others come from desire to make websites interactive (which is a basic dilemma: every way you allow users to write to your website is a way you have to protect from spam and hackers).

Its also the case that Google and Automattic and other surveillance or advertising companies have incentives for convincing people that websites are far to complicated for normal people to create and that a proper website must use their tools or hosting. One of the ways these companies collect personal information to sell or trade is through providing resources for other people’s websites which collect information about visitors. Google AMP is a beautiful example: as ?Maciej Ceglowski? says, one half of Google is clogging the webs with ads and tracking and other slow-to-download third-party resources, while the AMP division and the Chrome division try to undo that work and return sites to simple HTML and CSS.


Worked Examples

Less Radical Approaches from Someone Used to Being Listened To

A Bit Too High Level for a Mad Orientalist

Abid Omar, The Modern Web is Becoming an Unusable, User-Hostile Wasteland (2019)
Drew DeVault, The reckless, infinite scope of web browsers (2020) on how web browsers become almost operating systems and this makes it hard for anyone new to enter the business without a budget in the hundreds of millions a year


Twitter to RSS feed

Remember: if you want a site to last, you need to plan how to turn off the interactive parts when you can no longer maintain it. Any way of writing to a website will be used by spammers unless its manually purged. This site had received 636 real and 58,071 spam comments in August 2020. And anything you can’t store on your own server will stop working at precisely the wrong time.

Edit 2022-11-29: fixed links broken when WordPress introduced the block editor

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