cross-posted from: https://lemm.ee/post/28517038

Web browsers were very limited compared to today’s offerings but still very extensive when compared to other applications. Now, browsers on desktop are at a point where they’re equivalent to an OS in scope.

This frustrates me as it’s led to stagnation, where very few companies can hold their position. Firefox can only keep up due to preexisting groundwork and the large amount of funding from Google. Chrome had billions thrown at it to quickly enter the market.

The thing that kills it the most for me is there is no way to fix the massive amount of effort needed for a web browser. It’s extensive because it has to deal with thousands of situations: image rendering, video rendering, markup language support (HTML), CSS support, JavaScript support, HTML5 support, security features, tabbed browsing, bookmarking and history, search engine integration, cross-platform compatibility, performance optimisation, developer tools, accessibility features, privacy controls, codec support, to name a few.

Now, for my unpopular opinion: stripping back a general-purpose browser to its core, forcing web redesign, and modularising the browser. Rather than watching videos in the browser, an instance of VLC would be started where the video will be streamed. Instead of an integrated password manager and bookmarks, we have something akin to KeepassXC with better integration. Markup documents and articles automatically open in word processing applications. I know this idea seems wholly impossible now, but it often crosses my mind.

  • @survivalmachine@beehaw.org
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    12 days ago

    We have always tried to make the web do more. Whatever problems you have with today’s web are nothing compared to the horror that was Macromedia Shockwave, Adobe Flash, and Java plugins.

    • L3ft_F13ld!
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      111 days ago

      Been wanting to look at some of these. Any recommendations or preferences you’re willing to share?

      • @cerement
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        11 days ago

        not a lot of experience (keep thinking about it but then get distracted – and I need my uBlock Origin) …

        • vimb if you’re a vim fan (and I think there’s an equivalent for EXWM?)
        • w3m and Lynx are the text based browsers – and you get to find out how accessible-hostile modern web pages are :-/
        • surf, Min, and qute are the graphical options – really seems to be personal preference
          • ie. if you’re a dwm/dmenu fan, then you’re going for surf
        • L3ft_F13ld!
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          111 days ago

          Thanks for the reply. I thought those were all terminal browsers. Been wanting to try them just for the hell of it and to see what the experience is like.

  • Aniki 🌱🌿
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    612 days ago

    There’s that new browser being done by a group who’s also doing a whole new OS. It looks promising as it’s somewhat W3 compliant. It probably won’t every be fully compliant but I don’t think the developers intend it to be.

  • @brisk@aussie.zone
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    512 days ago

    It doesn’t look like there’s been any activity in 7 years, but your post reminded me of Uzbl, a set of browser components designed to apply the Unix philosophy