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Kill the Web

Sandra Prior
Jul 26, 2008
I really think it's time we got rid of the World Wide Web. It's too big, too clumsy, and too bad at doing the things we want to do with it. The World Wide Web, in my opinion, is a waste of the Internet's potential.

For many people the Web is the Internet and even those old enough and sufficiently wire headed to remember the pre-Mosaic days would tend to argue that it's so much more accessible and user friendly than those technologies which preceded it. And it deserves to be praised, if not actually beatified by a special session of the College of Cardinals.

The Web, after all, brought the Internet to the masses and in so doing, made it possible for geeks to chat up girls at parties while still talking about TCP/IP. For that alone, techies in general tend to be massively grateful.

But what everyone forgets is that the Web isn't the Internet. The Internet is a much more abstract entity over which various protocols can be run. In the old days we used Telnet, FTP and the like. Now we use HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). And we've been using it over 10 years.

HTTP is really good at helping people move around hypertext documents. After all, that's what it was originally designed to do. Some additions to the original specification are pretty good too. I like the ability to have pictures, and some formatting, for example. But HTTP (with its partner in crime, HTML ) is not uniformly good at everything.

This has been obvious from the days when the now obsolete Netscape first started using those kludgy plug-in gizmos to add some sort of functionality to the browser. It has been reinforced over the years by Java (a nice enough programming language, but ugly as part of a website).

And this is despite the fact that HTML itself has evolved from its elegant, easy to learn origins into a multi headed Hydra like monster laden down with Cascading Style Sheets and other stupidly hard to grasp complexities.

I say we should cry, 'Enough'. It's high time we stopped making the Web to do things at which it is very bad (and in so doing, taking a great risk of smothering those things it does really well). It's time for a new protocol or two - the next generation. The move goes from FTP to HTTP to...

To What?

Too much of the Web today is like a dog walking on its hind legs; one marvels not that it does it well, but that it does it at all. Surely we should find new ways of doing the jobs for which the Web quite evidently is unsuited.

Take those tasks and find a way of giving each its appropriate TP, so HTTP can go back to being about hypertext. Please.
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