The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML

I've told this story at conferences - but due to the general situation I thought I'd retell it here.

A few years ago I was doing policy research in a housing benefits office in London. They are singularly unlovely places. The walls are brightened up with posters offering helpful services for people fleeing domestic violen


@Edent Oh, wow, this story reminds me that we still need to figure out how to solve that TLS issue for old devices.💔

Excellent article.

You touched a point that has been bugging me for a while: PDFs. For some reason, in this modern world of hypertext and differently sized screens, people insist on using a print analogue--often with inline hyperlinks that won't even work in print!

You'd think it would make more sense to use a simple HTML layout with a CGI script to produce a PDF. It would certainly be good if certain govs didn't all but mandate Adobe Reader.

Better then .docxs 🤷‍♀️

browsing while rural 

@Edent its the same outside the big cities in low-population-density countries like Canada or Australia: slow expensive Internet

@Edent This one hit close to home: I spent my teenage years slowly scouring the web using my PSP, and yeah, you can forget about anything javascript heavy...

Also, nowadays the PSP is near unusable: it's got ancient TLS that isn't supported anywhere anymore

@aearil it does worry me how many people we exclude with upgraded TLS.

@Edent Yeah, though in the case of pre-heartbleed TLS, the harm resulting of keeping it enabled would've been way worse

@Edent How ignorant most devs are about this stuff is so sad. They'll say shit like "who has less than 8G RAM now" or "internet's so fast who cares about the downloaded page size".

It should kinda be part of a programming curriculum's ethics course to have students use these devices for long hours or days, even. Way software is today even a laptop from 2010 is sucky. Programmers on maxed out cutting edge hardware and ultra fast fiber know none of that.

@cadadr @Edent agreed. Current web trends favor those and only those who chase web trends that are themselves solving self-inflicted developer problems and the pressures of surveillance capitalism on computation

@Edent What I mean is that just looking at the HTML, my site is golden. But, for good reasons, I don’t wanna turn on TLS 1.0 so it still won’t work on pre-2008 devices. So a lot of my simplification-efforts are wasted.

The same goes for you; your article looks awesome in Lynx and edbrowse but your server doesn’t support TLS 1.0.

@Edent Project Gemini is a cool effort to move away from the ridiculous heavy modern Web, like a modern take on gopher

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