Save the Web?

The web is dying, they say. "Save the Web!" they chant. At the time of this writing the major peril comes in the form of apps, closely followed by URL redirection services1: the former are apparently destroying the fabric of the web by creating walled gardens, the latter are supposedly destroying the fabric of the web by breaking the direct relationship of a link.

But the web will not die.

Earlier on in the history of the Internet a lot of things threatened the web - do you remember when AJAX broke the back button and a fundamental part of the user experience? or when missing alt tags on images (and image submit buttons) created accessibility problems? or when tables were commonly used for layout purposes?

 

Web

Is it broken yet?

 

Point is, the web is changing. It won't break, and it certainly hasn't died yet, but it will never be the same again (and no, it never was the same to begin with). The specific features of a certain period are both a demonstration of technological progress and an expression of fashion: at one point PointCast was doable, and so it was done, and fashionable, and so it was used. Then it went out of fashion, and that was that.

Today we've got apps and URL shorteners; tomorrow we'll have unheard of services which will "threaten the very fabric" of the web. I can't wait to see what they are.

 

1 Disclaimer: I am associated with the URL redirection service ful.li.