I've long dabbled in running everything "for myself", with interests in stuff like federated platforms, long dead MMOs, and being the proud owner of what some may call a "home lab". Yet, due to either ADHD, or being tired and worn down from working a long and mostly thankless job within cybersec, I often give up, and it usually boils down to complexity.

Now, I don't mean "It's complex and scary" sort of complexity, I mean "use docker or die" complexity, really heavy stuff.

My experience with "modern web"

If you havent noticed from the look of my website, I'm not big on flair. My website is (thankfully) permanantly stuck in 2006, where Apache+PHP, Pixel-Art, and tacky GeoCities pages rule supreme. It's stylistic, but I think it encapsulates a lot of my interests fairly well. Now, what if I told you that I use no CMS (except this fresh new blog, which runs on PicoCMS), no SQL servers, nothing of the sort. Just lines and lines of HTML? I would be insane; and yet that is in fact the case.

I'm of the opinion that this is how personal websites should be, and that stuff like Squarespace and Wix is a liability waiting to happen. Sure, buy a webhosting package, set up your own domain and website, watch the traffic roll in, but by god do not use those highly templated "we own everything you love" services. You deserve more control than that.

Inevitably then, people will turn to CMS solutions. A fair choice, since not everyone has the option to write their own website, not everyone is autistic as me. The usual one is WordPress, for which the mere mention will make most cybersecurity folk shudder. WordPress is what happens when a web server is tasked with hosting something a fair amount out of it's depth. Its clunky, insecure, and in my experience, like a deck of cards, so fragile that FedEx (or Hermes) would break it instantly.

Wordpress then brings on questions of "Well, how do I run this", since after all, it depends on an SQL server, which is always fun. Immediately, after those words leave your mouth, 100 little men with inexplicably baren GitHub profiles will crawl out of the woodwork to tell you "use docker!", or "write your website with this instead". These people are what I like to call "Web-based Snake-oil salesmen".

The Snake-oil of Web2.5

Most people are willing to understand that Web3 is a scam, NFTs will not make you rich, AI will end us all, blah blah blah blah...

What most people aren't willing to understand is that the modern web, this Web2.5 of sorts, is also essentially a scam. It has long since turned from "improving the browsing experience" to "reinventing the wheel a few hundred times over". It started when Flash and (web) Java died, The market immediately set its sights on one thing, that being, how can we possibly make displaying a webpage to an end user take needless resources from both the server and the client?

The worst of this is probably perpetrated by some project I've never heard, the second worst is probably NodeJS.

NodeJS is simple, "what if the same language that ran on the client, also ran on the server". On the outset that doesn't sound too bad. Consistency is something reserved usually only for Apple products and foodstuffs, rarely web software. The problem, of course, is that Javascript sucks; it's a fact that everyone who uses it is more than willing to share. Yet, people still use it, worse yet, javascript users are by far the most prolific snake-oil salesmen out there. Building a framework that fixes some "fundamental flaw" of another framework is all far too common these days. I do think that flash was the great equaliser that kept these squabbles at bay.

Flash in the pan

Macromedia Flash (yes, "Macromedia", the big A doesnt deserve a namedrop) was somewhat of a revolution. It combined animation, programming, and more, into simple files you could put on your webpage. Some people got Flash to do some seriously neat stuff, like entire CCTV NVR viewer programs that ran using Flash. This, of course, spawned so much internet culture that it sometimes scares me, but it also made designers intimately close to the whole "web page making" thing, and thus ravenous programmer types could not intervene much there (most of them were much more interested in what Flash could do in terms of games (it was a lot)).

For a long time then, the World Wide Web was very pretty...

And then it was over; killed by 1000 cuts, and capitalist need to "always innovate" (and always destroy), Flash was gone, and in its place came the "Frameworks"


Frameworks are a type of thing you use to make building other things easier, like scaffolding, or a toolbox. Very useful. Sadly, the Web2.5 salesmen are here, and they would like to introduce you to Electron, React, jQuery, or whatever other thing they want to get you to use....

Half the time, these things are peddled quite simply due to Buyer's Remorse. A sort of "I learnt this framework, so everyone else should use it, so I don't feel lonely". It always hurts to see. I, for the record, don't hate frameworks themselves so much as the people who will stick to the bottom of my boots and call out asking me to learn React, as if it will make my website better. I'm sad to say to these people, every time, "No sorry, I just want to display static HTML". Some get enraged, to the level of a 4chan /g/ user when you insult Gentoo. Some get sad. All of them need to stay away from me. I am not going to use FartJS or Pissstrap Remix to build my next project, I'm sorry.


This has been a very longwinded thoughtpiece and rant on why I hate the modern web, which isnt exactly a novel opinion, now that I consider it. But as someone who hosts everything on an Apache server with PHP, I've grown weary of those who dare push me to pay money for a VPS once more. Never again.

Never again.