This article on ‘The Web I Want’ may seem like a rant, but indeed, it is coming from the deep desire for preserving the open nature of the web, the very foundations on which it was built. I have been using the internet for the past two decades and have witnessed complete, a significant part of its rapid evolution. Although the internet has reached the remotest corners of the world, and billions of people now use the web, it is sad to note that simple and less-energy consuming web pages are now being replaced by technologies consuming enormous energy resources during production, transmission as well as the rendering of the web pages.

Whenever I come across the web pages written years before, especially those old pages of technical documentation, and try to emulate their rendering on different screen sizes (desktop, e-reading, and mobile devices), it is surprising to see that many of these simple pages work quite well on different devices. Analysis of these web pages shows that they use the web standards like HTML and CSS. Yet these simple web pages work everywhere compared to current web pages, which have numerous heavy (CSS and JavaScript) frameworks. The use of hyperlinks which was one way to share the location of information on a given page is replaced now by single-page applications. These single-page applications provide no easy way to find shared information. Websites with pagination are now replaced by endless scrolling options, leaving the users no way to find and share the location where the information could be found.

The web is based on the principles of ‘open’ standards, following which people share information. These open web pages are now completely replaced by social networking websites, which could be considered walled gardens, allowing only those who have access to these websites to find the relevant information. If we see the evolution of social networking, it is clear that these sites enabled a lot of people with limited or no digital expertise to jumpstart using the web. People can now easily share text, audio, and videos. Managing your server and website is still challenging despite the availability of multiple solutions.

Personal or enterprise data are managed by external storage or service providers, social media platforms, or cloud service providers. Despite this limitation of dependence on external providers, it is important to note that these solutions help in easier management of websites as well as discovery, marketing, and distribution of information, products, services, or campaigns to a wider audience. However, no single organization has the time and resources to manage multiple social media websites. The organization may require time to look for comments and respond to multiple queries on different websites. Given the way the web is evolving, we see the popularity of social networking saturates and dwindles over time, replaced by another solution. And the companies are often in the dilemma of continuing or stopping their presence on obscure platforms.

Having seen the evolution of web 1.0, web 2.0, and now web 3.0, I still suggest maintaining a personal website is important. If you dislike the current way of developing an SEO (search-engine-optimization) driven web, you may still choose to do it the old way. You could use links to discuss your product on the social networking sites popular at any given point in time. You may choose to disable comments, disable analytics, and create simple web pages where the focus is more on your content, product, service, or brand. Such an approach allows you to maintain your constant online presence on the web despite the changing web evolution. Your site could be as simple as the ones that were made years ago, yet they will continue to work despite stopping work on different frameworks.


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