Andrew (R.S Admin) is a user on retro.social. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse.

So web browsers are bad, right?

And web browsers being bad is making the internet bad, right?

Or maybe the internet being bad is making web browser bad.

Doesn't matter.

The upshot is that we should stop using bad web browsers recreationally, and stop using services that can only be accessed from bad web browsers.

And when that isn't possible, build alternatives that work from not bad browsers.

That's why I'm so happy that Brutaldon exists.

So, what are the core features a good web browser should have?

What shouldn't it have?

If you were redesigning the web, today, knowing what you know about popups, cookies, malicious javascript, etc. What would you design?

@ajroach42 I guess the question is, how would you *split up* the web, so that applications that really do need the abused functionality went off into their own space (perhaps with its own protocol), while the pieces we like would stay in their own space in which annoyances are relatively difficult to implement.

@freakazoid Right. I'm not suggesting that we try to replace the web entirely. It is very useful, as much as it is a giant problem.

I'm wondering aloud what the core functionality of a modern document delivery platform should look like.

A thing that does what the web was supposed to do, rather than what the web does.

@ajroach42 @freakazoid
I've made the argument before that what HTTP does well gopher does better. For delivery, I'd probably opt for gopher.

With regard to formatting -- well, a subset of html might do, but maybe markdown would be better. Give the user complete control over fonts, sizes, and colors. Eliminate scripting entirely.

Andrew (R.S Admin) @ajroach42

@enkiv2 Markdown is what I've been considering.

Server side code I'm okay with, but no client side.

· Web · 1 · 2

@ajroach42 @enkiv2 fuck, I'm so glad someone else is doing this bc some variation of this idea has been threatening to eat me alive for about a year now

@aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 heh.

Just talking about, not doing. At least, not yet. :-D

@ajroach42 @enkiv2 you should talk to @garbados as well, she definitely has some relevant ideas about this space

@aeonofdiscord @ajroach42 @enkiv2 I HAVE MANY THOUGHTS i hope some of them are welcome

the browser is an application environment and it doesn't have to be a bad one. when we visit URLs that serve JS we are downloading software; it should be permissioned and constrained, but there's nothing fundamentally wrong with downloading software or executing it on your machine. major browsers over-privilege JS apps in order to favor surveillance and ads.

but... garbados.github.io/my-blog/bro

@garbados @enkiv2 @aeonofdiscord Your thoughts are always welcome. I have enjoyed our discussions on this front in the past.

@aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @garbados I am of the opinion that we have reached the point where the browser as an application platform needs to exist separately from the browser as a document distribution and consumption platform.

@garbados @enkiv2 @aeonofdiscord
I am still trying to find the right words to explain my proposed solution, but basically:

- The web that exists should stay, and we should work to improve it. I am not trying to replace it, but augment it.
- A subset of the web that exists + other stuff that exists outside the web should be made available through a protocol/in a format that resists the problems with the web that exists, while also limiting it's functionality.

@ajroach42 @aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @garbados so, bringing back BBS's, but putting them on a secure protocol that isnt just straight up telnet?

@chuck @garbados @enkiv2 @aeonofdiscord BBS + FidoNet style federation + SSH + a markdown browser might just do it.

@ajroach42 @aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @garbados TBH the whole scuttlebutt thing appeals to me on this level. If you're just syncing json there's about a million ways to present that data that are valid options.

@chuck @garbados @enkiv2 @aeonofdiscord Agreed.

SSB has some drawbacks that worry me, but I'm in favor of the general ideas.

@ajroach42 @aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @chuck yes, SSB and its ilk are really fascinating but are still dealing with critical standards and implementation issues (no deletes, etc). beaker and the dat ecosystem are muddling through tooling hell (hashbase, etc). all the pieces of a better web are coming together, and they improve with time

@garbados @ajroach42 @aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @chuck ability to delete/be forgotten is as important in tech as it is IRL. Until IPFS etc have privacy and deletability (within the realms of what's practical, mind) then it's just a really cool name with a bunch of smart people working very hard on something that is not widely applicable.

@dch @ajroach42 @aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @chuck i have some demo libs in the shop that support federated deletes (like deletes on fedi) but still i feel these technologies are wrong for certain data models that are otherwise being shoehorned into them

@aeonofdiscord @enkiv2 @garbados

Not only do I not want to load up a javascript application in order to read a news article, I don't want that to even be an option.

@ajroach42
This brings up the interesting possibility of a web browser that is incapable of networking.

Download 'sites' with a package manager to run in the browser, which cannot access the network at all.

@garbados @aeonofdiscord

@enkiv2 @aeonofdiscord @garbados

FEtch the content however you'd like, view it with a rendering engine that's not allowed to connect to the network?

That works as longa s there's nothing async happening (and, in general, there should rarely be anything async happening, IMO.)

@ajroach42
That's exactly my line of thinking.

Even things that seem like they need networking don't necessarily. For instance, a social network 'app' could be offline-first (like ssb is) -- a daemon syncs posts periodically, and the 'app' just renders & allows you to drop hints for things the daemon should post next time it syncs.

@garbados @aeonofdiscord

@garbados @aeonofdiscord @ajroach42 @enkiv2 tbh i think a key difference is that web code is loaded last second, and programs etcetera, at least on linux, are explicitly updated by the user.

At least in principle, the latter allows news to spread, if there were something wrong with the version.

@aeonofdiscord @ajroach42 @enkiv2 I think about this way too much. I'd like to experiment with separating content and layout.

This would allow devs to share layouts for common design patterns, or users could modify existing page layouts to increase accessibility. And I would want it so different pieces of page content could be user signed, for federated identity.

I have this dream of a browser with basic flex layouts, svg-inspired styling, and lua for lightweight scripting.