… web developer, writer, and consultant based in Hveragerði, Iceland.

I write about web dev, interactive media, digital publishing, and product development.

I’m available for consulting and hire.

On the vaunted robustness of the web

(This is a short repost of a series of tweets.)

Anybody who looks at how durable and robust old websites are when old apps and Word documents aren’t and thinks that making apps in HTML and JS will make them more robust is misunderstanding what is going on. Old websites still work because they are simple and uncoupled from their rendering.

To be able to make apps in HTML/JS you need to increase the complexity of the formats and APIs to fit and couple it tightly to specific software and OS platforms, which makes the app fragile again. Robustness and adaptability isn’t a function of open vs proprietary nor is it a format-specific feature.

Robustness and adaptability are a direct consequence of simplicity and loose coupling. Lose those two features and things start breaking again.

The web we are creating is just as impermanent as old apps or documents. Robustness wasn’t a feature of HTML but of what we were doing with HTML.

Join my Newsletter

Do you ever wonder why a newly released open source project matters? Why it doesn't? How new or old standards or specifications affect your work? Why the web, tech, and publishing are the way they are?

This is an unapologetically political newsletter about tech, the web, and publishing—with context.

Because, to decide whether to use a piece of software, web standard, or open source project, you need to know why it‘s interesting, not just that it‘s interesting.

I won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.