Web developers: take a moment to turn off javascript on your websites. If it can't be used at all--especially if the user is confronted with a blank screen--without js support, fix it. It's a bad website. #xp

@jer_ As someone who cares deeply about people in bandwidth- and battery-constrained environments, as well as privacy, I am truly sympathetic to this point of view, but I encourage you to think about the fact that React and Vue and similar JavaScript frameworks have unleashed a tremendous amount of creativity by making complex sites easy to make for a generation of developers.

And a big reason for this is that we can ship sites without a dedicated backend—which we would need to render your sites for you when you disable JS. A requirement for a backends just to render templates would be a very high obstacle for many applications and developers, in complexity, time, cost, and electricity. It simply wouldn’t make sense.

For this reason I do not consider JS-required apps as broken. Happy to consider viewpoints I’ve missed (I’m not addressing privacy because you’re addressing developers in Fediverse who presumably aren’t doing Evil Things with JavaScript).

privacy and Javascript 

@22 @jer_ if you use Cloudflare, Google, etc. scripts though those companies are doing invasive things ... not sure what you mean otherwise since many sites which require JS are powered by some form of database and my own approach to building websites is traditional

re: privacy and Javascript 

@bookandswordblog you’re right, many web apps do need a persistence layer and therefore need a backend server to either host or proxy a database, but *tons* more sites are client-side only, either interacting with public read-only data feeds (a SQLite database, REST endpoints, etc.) or don’t even use any data (I have a tiny app that creates Ruby HTML tags for me 😅 for example for East Asian languages). Such sites tend to be built by JavaScript bundlers that combine open-source libraries like React with the app’s custom code and output a static JS file that can be served by an ultra-low-cost static provider—baked not fried (aaronsw.com/weblog/000404). If I wanted to make a no-JS version of my little Ruby HTML converter site, I’d need to have a high-cost, high-electricity compute node running Node.js or Python or C application to service each visitor’s request and *dynamically* generate programmatic output.

You’re also right that many devs will host their client-side-only sites on free static providers like GitHub Pages which are built on top of CDNs and cloud storage providers that are storing and mining visitor logs. There’s some room for shenanigans. There’s also a lot of room for privacy: I can guarantee visitors to my static site that nobody will see the data they enter into it because no packet ever leaves. And static sites offer the ultimate immunity to vendor lock-in: literally anything can serve dead bytes on disk.

Hopefully this explains why I really like shifting the computing (the “frying” per Aaron Swartz) to the client with JavaScript. I am really proud of how many great apps people have made this way. We’ve probably alienated the subset of users who disable JS by unkindly forgetting to add rich <noscript> content but this was a good reminder to avoid that discourtesy.


re: privacy and Javascript 

@22 @jer_ thanks for the lengthy reply. I am still confused by that term "web apps." Here are the types of websites I most often visit:

- websites-as-books eg. ageofdatini.info/
- Displays of data by public institutions eg. weather reports, bus schedule
- Blogs
- Forums
- News sites, job posting sites
- Collections of photos with metadata
- Video hosting sites
- Mail clients

Which of those do you think would be acceptable to be blank without Javascript?


re: privacy and Javascript 

@22 @jer_ I think that when most people complain about sites which are blank without scripts, they mean sites which display text pictures and audio created by humans, not eg. browser games or meme editors

· · Web · 0 · 0 · 0
Sign in to participate in the conversation
Scholar Social

Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administrators—anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully.