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The modern web is a moving target - Articles


The modern web is a moving target

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written by owen on 2018-May-12.

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I love going back to old Jakob Neilson articles from the early days of the internet when the main goal was to make the internet open and standard for all parties involved. Flash is 99% bad is from 2000 which is light years away from what the internet is today. Today's "modern" internet is a land of auto-updating browsers and deprecating non-secure http.

The modern web is a moving target. A rabbit in a minefield of tall grass. No one is really sure when and where the modern web starts or stops. It just keeps going and going and anything that is not on the latest version is considered obsolete and outdated so that we have to keep buying new computers, new phones, adding more RAM so that we can use more cloud services and watch advertisements forever. The modern web needs consensus and it seems the only way to achieve it is to slowly and carefully shift the goal posts.

Software has always been searching for a way to have full control over the hardware and now we are at a point that browser platforms can push new updates and features at regular intervals based on invisible timelines and milestones. There is no longer a need to write efficient, optimized software to support a wide range of hardware. The browser is now a parasite within every operating system - every operating system is a parasite inside its hardware.

A user will never know what will stop working next week or what security hole will miraculously need to be fixed by an update in the middle of the day. New AI will miraculously make your life better but first you will have to let us degrade the stability of your hardware.

No matter how many companies get hacked using root exploits it will always be the burden of the user to update all their passwords with longer and harder to remember 3 factor authentication methods. The burden is no longer on the vender of the software but it has been transferred to the user. If you want to be secure you have to give us control of your upgrade cycle and your wallet. This model has worked well for Apple.

Developers and users are herded from one platform to another. New APIs are released to fix old bugs and everyone has to recompile all their apps or risk being sent into oblivion. New ideas are cannibalized at a rapid pace. Whoever is in control of the platform determines what is modern, new and therefore "secure". Not only that but the period and points in time that any one thing is relevant is based whatever direction someone on a high chair decides is the best way to "push the web forward". The web gets pushed forward and everyone gets pulled with it or deprecated.

How else are we going to have nice things? Can we live without facebook and google? Give us your personal information so we can Big Data some Artificial Intelligence cloud services for free to the masses and added a surcharge for power users and business users. The bait and switch strategy is the root of the web industry. There is a new thing just around the corner.

In the end we will never know what the modern web will bring. I imagine one day they will find that HTML is insecure and index.js Javascript files running on HTTP 2.0 is the only secure way to watch cat videos on a computer with 64gigs of RAM on the modern web.

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