Originally I wrote this on Twitter and nearly hit send. Then I remembered or realised that posting this content on Twitter not only contributes to their platform, but also locks in the content behind a series of walls and prerequisites - one of which is the requirement for JavaScript to be enabled.

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What follows are a series of musings about the web, what makes the web and related navel-gazing.

The web.

What is the web? Well, it's an extension of the internet. The internet is protocols, but the web, the web is connected content. It's connection. To quote my good friend Bruce Lawson: the web is people. People connected.

So, with this in mind, what is it to be part of the web?

If a web site is published, but not linked to from anywhere, is it still a web site? In no way is it part of the web, so does it mean it's not "of the web"?

Conversely if I publish a markdown file (or json, or anything) and link to it from the web, does that make the URL part of the web, even though it's a leaf (and webs do not have leafs)? It's like a terminating point, but unlike HTML it can never link out.

Similarly if a web site works exclusively with JavaScript this means it is behaving like these leafs/terminators which makes it part of the web, but not a contributor to the web. Except, I guess, your browser works with JavaScript (you can't read this otherwise), which leads me nicely to:

What if a web site only works in a list of pre-approved browsers? In the dark old days of the web we started slapping on "works best in…" badges. I started with recommended resolutions (of course 800 by 600 was The Best) shortly followed by a war on which was the best browser. At least the site would still (maybe just about) render in the non-best browser, but soon followed the completely broken browsing experience.

Twitter as I discovered recently decided to block all users who did not have JavaScript turned on. I know that having to jump through hoops to enable viewing a site isn't a fun experience let alone one that should be put upon the visitor.

But surely nearly 2 decades on we've learnt how to keep the web available to all? Nope. Now Twitter now has a list of "supported browsers" and this doesn't mean "it might not work" if you don't use one of Twitter's sanctioned browsers - they meant the site will not work.

Try curl -L https://twitter.com/rem and you'll get a wonderful message*:

This browser is no longer supported

Please switch to a supported browser to continue using twitter.com.

* not wonderful

Actively preventing browsing mechanisms. Not just flip a switch (assuming you can find or change that switch). That's the web for a subset of people. Which, by definitions that I subscribe to, means that twitter dot com in particular is not part of the web.

How we're constantly repeating mistakes already solved in history is beyond my tiny little mind. But we humans are very good at forgetting and repeating terrible mistakes.

/end of musings.