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Why is it harder to make a website in 2021 than it was in 1996?
448 replies and sub-replies as of Oct 13 2021

I mean, writing your own HTML in Notepad and uploading it via FTP was a chore. But it was understandable and easy.
If you want to create a fanpage of some obscure topic, everything is just ... too much. So instead, people will create an Instagram/TikTok/Facebook/etc and start posting there.
I fear that Figwit will never appear in today's Internet.
This is not the tweet that the author thinks it is
Cloudflare pages tied to a gihub repo powered by jekyll. Super a simple setup and elegant, using js from 2016. At some point I want to add @tailwindcss
Odysseas personal site
And because some people need to be told very explicitly
the original tweet wasn't me being nostalgic, it was about the fact that ad-driven apps are simpler and will therefore win. until that happens, creativity and expression will be captured by large, privacy-invading companies.
I mean, @carrd a.k.a exists.
It is also very illustrative that so many people did not get "ad-driven" as social media. They are so good at separating their users and customers.
not to dogpile but .eth lol
I think this process _is_ easier than what came before... but this doesn't replace the simple, static sites you were talking about: Jekyll et al. are a much easier way (imo) to achieve something like Wordpress.
I love static site generators. But there's still lots to grasp as a beginner.
Agreed - they replace a Wordpress blog, not an artisan fanpage.
When it comes to your problem space, I feel like the piece that's really got more complicated is "write the HTML". It's crazy how much more complicated front end has become in the name of making things easier. Why do pages need to be interactive?! Can't we just load a new page?!
If anything I think backend is just as easy or easier. There are still shared hosting packages we can FTP things to, but instead we can also just add things in GitHub's GUI (and for free!) or use S3/CloudFront (much easier/safer than fighting with Apache configs).
This has earned you a follow.
"Simple and elegant" I had about 5 emotional breakdowns trying to learn how to use github pages, let alone trying to learn how jekyll even works--if it COULD even work on my windows pc. 50 hours of my life for something that's 'ok' It took me 10 minutes back in 2004 when i was 9
GitHub: give your source to Microsoft and make collaborators agree to those ToS Cloudflare: give your markup to a massive internet censor trying to centralize the net I see ethical issues with this setup too
How long would it have taken you to create the equivalent of a facebook shop in 1996?
Part of that is audience penetration as well though... Search ain't what it was... :\
You can still do this, there are just more options to create more complex apps. People create on those platforms because the audience and functionality is already there and has been refined over time, not because creating a fanpage has gotten harder.
OK, disregard my first comment here. You already know... :)
fandom is like mega easy tho, and pushing static html to github or whatever is still easy 🤷🏽‍♀️and well. still a million available ftp providers ….
this take is so dumb and you seem earnest, had to add another tweet. ~16 years ago when i published my first fan website i couldn’t even afford or easily buy a domain coz none of us had credit cards, now my dad 60+ year old has more than one website he maintains. grow up dud
Uh, I think you’re entirely missing the point of these ad-driven platforms, but anyway,few people actually understood HTML in 1996. It’s so elementary to us today, but to people in 1996 it was esoteric. Not to mention FTP back then wasn’t as easy as it is today either.
To create easy-to-use platforms for user-generated content on the web, you have to deal with complexities which requires work and thus money. There’s simply no way around it. Even the best open source options (wiki, WP) have a learning curve and require server space.
Oh what was the point I was making about ad-driven platforms?
The reasons why these platforms are popular and dominant go beyond how hard it is to create websites today or whatever. As a result of network effects, early advantages translate to dominance.
you can still do that, but you'll get people on your case every day about how "your CSS sucks".
I haven't seen those. I will take a look. I also believe that @htmx_org is the right way to do JavaScript.
you can do that nowadays too if you want :)
I still do that. It's not against the law.
*cough* *knock knock* Open up! It's the Internet Police! We got a report you're serving HTTP/0.9 without a LICENCE.TXT!
Hooking a static website to Netlify provides a very similar experience nowadays if you can get away with static HTML/CSS.
Check out, it's a static site builder made with Rust. I still roll HTML by hand for my site, Zola makes it a tad easier and simpler. Must admit, I migrated from Notepad to VSCode 😂
Delicious no-css websites with table layouts, in-line styling, and overuse of <hr/> and <marquee>scrolling</marquee>.
<blink>I miss the old ways</blink>
Sadly all these great tags are deprecated :(
That just means you can buy 'em cheap! 😂
Nowadays people use GitHub Pages for the same thing.
Apparently I am too stupid for Jekyll. I always seem to have issues with getting it to do what I want.
I don't like Jekyll either. I currently prefer Next.js static site export.
Next.js is aggressively subbing in Rust over JS lately, for big performance gains
I use GitHub Pages to host a few static sites, and I've never had to touch Jekyll
Or other site builder frameworks... I just wrote some HTML and it serves that HTML
Yep Jekyll is optional and if it gets in the way (it never has for me) you can disable parsing with an empty ".nojekyll" file in the root Point being that you can treat GitHub pages like a static file host with Fastly CDN benefits
I didn't know about that either. I haven't needed to have a .nojekyll file in any of my projects to get GitHub Pages to serve up static content is a single page static site I have hosted on GitHub Pages, for example:
GitHub - Cipscis/oia-guide: A guide to using the Official Information Act
A guide to using the Official Information Act. Contribute to Cipscis/oia-guide development by creating an account on GitHub.
So do that. It still works. It’s also accessible, responsive, secure, doesn’t need banners about tracking cookies, (probably) won’t give you zero-day vulnerabilities in some npm package you didn’t even know you were using, and doesn’t need 2.6Mb of JavaScript just to say hello.
Don't slap me in the face with reality Dylan.
In my opinion the closest things we have today are static site generators.
I used Ultraedit to edit and upload production code in-place.
you create the same file in vscode (or notepad), check it into git, push it to gitlab, and publish on netlify
sounds harder, but then configuring your own server and ftp is also not that easy, even as vps
There's also if you want that old school feel to it!
FTP was a pain in the ass. Now you can just drag a folder with HTML in it to @Netlify. Couldn't possibly be easier.
Technologies that already exists and works. Why don't you use them_
you might appreciate something like this:
I know they used so many different languages they think they're great and they'll do just the same old crap ever did so you have to learn something new when you really didn't have to.
I mean, who said you can’t still do that? It’s not like these methods can’t be done anymore.
That’s what I still do, except with BBEdit and SFTP. Works great, site is fast, no worries!
This is still possible tho…
You can still make a website like this though. It’ll just look and feel…plain.
You can still do that
To be fair, writing HTML in Notepad and uploading it somewhere is still an option, and works as well as it always did. People just have different expectations today.
I still do this 👀. Well, I switched notepad with VSC but still. FTP all the way for all my weird hobby projects
The only people who found it actually easy to write HTML and FTP it to a server in 1996 were nerds, and that’s why we were the only ones with websites, and that’s why there were more Wikipedia articles about Pokémon than any other subject until like 2010.
As a kid at that time, I disagree
As a horrible tween at that time, I think you aren’t giving yourself enough credit
Did you code HTML back then because no it wasn't that simple and you had multiple browsers and platform combinations to code for I once had to code for 180 of them.
I was a kid mucking around. Using View Source as a guide, it felt like I could smudge together whatever I needed.
Cool but that's not the same as building sites for companies. It was much more difficult back then. I coded then and now, though much less now.
But you can still do this today?
I have been thinking about the same.. It might be because Internet was originally build for simple text file with few hyperlinks.. Now, Internet can replace a TV, Shopping complex, MailBox and a Phone to name a few... Feature overload!
I think it depends on how sophisticated you want it. You can still do a simple html site and upload it to something like netlify. There are still web hosts out there that support FTP
Hush! Too soon.
I actually wonder Squarespace and Wix have demonstrated that site builders don't need to suck.
🎶 "Dreamweaver..." 🎶
Front page server extensions, connecting to a SQL version 5 database. That was my world in '96, '97; what a world it was.
I was good with Runoff and Latex
Bring back Geocities
Too late, it's on the internet!
That's too modern like. 🤣
Look, all you need to do is understand complex CSS layout models well enough to understand how your specific CSS framework library abstracts those models, and then simply build your website in 43 nested DIVs. Also the <blink> tag isn't supported anymore.
Don't need to understand a CSS framework if you don't use a CSS framework
Also <marquee>. Utter bullshit.
Fortunately both those regressions can be fixed with WebAssembly. 😄
They could probably be fixed with pure CSS too I'm guessing.
I mean, sure, but then how do I smoothly segue into talking bout how cool WebAssembly is?😀 Can even use Notepad to create, like it's '96:… 😄 Can CSS do *this*: (OK, sure, maybe w/appropriate tooling but that's not my point.😂)
Understanding WebAssembly text format - WebAssembly | MDN
This finishes our high-level tour of the major components of the WebAssembly text format and how they get reflected in the WebAssembly JS API.
Ah, this was going to be my tweet. Has anyone mentioned <center>?
I have created a CSS framework (1 file = 1 tweet).…
To be fair, it depends on what sort of website you want to make. I don't think there's anything stopping you from putting a super simple static HTML site somewhere if you want to? Honestly though it's a good question. It particularly matters for young people and beginners
Exactly this, I did a website in early 2000s that was static HTML in Dreamweaver. No need to account for mobiles/tablets. Hosted on an ancient mac server in the server room at work so could network copy to it (what security issues you ask?).
I tried doing that this summer with a hobby website and the main annoyance was not having templates. Like putting the nav links on every page. A lot of hobbyists still use Iframes to get around that like this site
I couldn't give up being able to link to specific content so I used @eleven_ty to deal with templates and such but it's hard to recommend to other hobbyists if they aren't already devs since it requires command line/node.js
Unique Petz
A vintage Petz 4 Site
Yeah there are definitely a bunch of tools available for building static sites, but honestly I haven't used any of them. Not that I've solved the problem another way, I've just managed to sidestep it (e.g. by having websites that are just one page)
I remember making a javascript file with just the nav and including that on each page, so at least the content of the nav was in one place. Same for the footer.
Yeah I did that once, it's a good solution for builders willing to learn JS. There are also some lightweight server-side templating options like lit-html.
i'd use php instead to keep the navigation, header, and footer in separate files but otherwise use regular ol' html. one of my biggest pet peeves is websites that require javascript for what should be static content.
Having nav links on every page was already a challenge 25 years ago. Perhaps you could create some simple JavaScript-based web components for navigation and other common elements. No command line or server-side complexities needed.
I used to use .shtml to include a nav section on every page , got me wondering if that’s still an easy option
That's a fair point. When we talk about a 2021 Web page I assume we're wanting for more than just a static html
it's only harder if you follow the pack with insane frameworks, transpilers, bundlers, containers and such. everything works just fine without all that
Yes but I guess that's the point about a 2021 Web page
Whatever you did in 1996 will probably still work now 🤷🏻‍♂️
Exactly this. It's not harder to make a website it's just harder to make one that someone will pay you for 🤣
Mumble mumble... Simplex Veri Sigillum
waaaaay easier now imo
Making the website is actually way easier (though expectations have significantly increased). Deciding what you're going to use to build it on the other hand…
yes the paradox of choice is real! personally abdicated decision making to 'just use AWS' but I can attest that decision creates as many problems as it solves (at first…then all the sudden you don't even think about it for literal years)
I'm forcing myself to use WordPress and IDK it's pretty easy. Most hosting companies have 1-click install and there are a zillion page builders including their own Gutenberg.
In 1996 we were calling setTimeout() ourselves so we were closer to the metal.
And nearly all fired sometimes.
Cloudflare pages tied to a gihub repo powered by jekyll. Super a simple setup and elegant, using js from 2016. At some point I want to add @tailwindcss
Odysseas personal site
That's not simple
You don't want to know how cloudflare pages work under the hood...
By censoring people using Tor and VPN Do you have 6 minutes to do an hCAPTCHA before you read this blog? Oh, well I guess it wasn’t that important
I want to know.
This is a completely ridiculous ask for the average internet user.
Yep super quick for anyone who already knows html/css/Jekyll/git/GitHub/CloudFlare/DNS Kind of proves the original point
If all you want is to write some HTML and upload it somewhere it's much easier now than it used to be. Code editors these days are amazing, and you can just drag and drop a folder to Netlify.
Any day now, some enterprising young developer will reinvent Geocities and the Great Cycle will be complete.
Is it impossible to resist the urge that you could do it better?
Pretty sure I saw someone had done that already :-)
That's the one 😄
Not looked at it since it was launched. Each 'website' was really an island then, so it couldn't be turned into a social-network of any form. No doubt it's a bit better now. And it's cool it's survived!
To date, I have never bundled, webpacked or transplied anything. I dread the day when I finally have to try and get my head around it.
honestly, front-end scares me. it's almost like I've retreated to the back-end over the course of my career, rather than having it be a conscious decision.
I’m still a massive fan of bookmarklets! 😀
Whenever I see front end development in progress it feels like I’m looking at the matrix.
This is exactly how backend feels for me right now. Never really sat down to learnt it. When I started learning to code (not very long) I 'naturally' thought it's better to walk in through the front door when it's your first time.
As someone who shied away from front end, you might find esbuild to be a more approachable setup for it all. It isn't infinitely extensible, but it has support for a lot of the more popular things, like React/JS. It does pay to embrace npm/yarn for that, though.
20 years js front and back; frontend development is still a mess of bundles and poor hosting solutions
I had to spend a solid few weekends a while ago figuring out how to use Webpack and how to upgrade my task runners etc. Now that I have a base repo for new projects it feels good, but it's a *lot* of (hard) work before you can start actually writing the code you want to write
I never liked front end. Way happier back here.
Well if you have any questions just let me know. I'm a fullstack dev since the 90s who knows Rust (not as good as you at it though!) / React / TypeScript / etc. In some ways front-end is more complicated, and in other ways it's never been simpler.
cool, you’ve found the root of the issue. frontend does more now than ever and instead of embracing it and growing with it, it scares you so you’ve retreated. you can still do all those things from 1996 if you please, the rest of us are moving on ahead.
the original tweet wasn't me being nostalgic, it was about the fact that ad-driven apps are simpler and will therefore win. until that happens, creativity and expression will be captured by large, privacy-invading companies.
I’ll be honest – I’m totally lost. Ad driven apps are simpler? What does that have to do with development in 1996 vs 2021? Can you expand? This has taken a turn. Just for sake of disclosure, I run a bootstrapped (profitable) B2C SaaS that has no ads nor sells any user data.
I think they were referring to people using social media like Instagram/TikTok/etc instead of making websites. Why spend 100 hours making a site about something when in that same time you can make 20 videos?
This was also my read. The internet feels a lot smaller these days I think its bc non-devs don't want to waste time messing around with 15 different frameworks/hosting options/etc. If I want to show off what im working on, i can either learn all that nonsense or use instagram
Instead of making the process of creating websites easier, it's more complicated than ever. So ppl have to go through the big data driven platforms in order to be able to express themselves/create/etc
people go to those apps, not just because it’s easier than building a website [in both 2021 and 1996] but because they come with built in audiences, promotion, + discovery. I detest vast data collection too, but is it not also worth lauding the smaller gates to creative output?
I'm challenging the idea of audience+discovery here. Is it paid or organic? In France 30% of people aren’t on Internet, 50% of businesses don’t have a digital presence, apart from a google map reference. It is more or less the same in every EU countries.
And to be clear i don’t advocate for a 100% connected world as it would drastically further internet ecological imprint and destructions -already way past any sustainable form- deeply aggravated by these ad-services and ecom platforms.
There is definitely a lot of content I've thoroughly enjoyed made by people who would not have made it (or I would not have discovered it!) on low-friction apps like TikTok. Personally, I have more fun making silly websites but that's also my day job 🤷
It may be easier to create something now, but if you go that route you are much more limited to a specific type and form of content. Young people who only use the mega-platforms don't get the same idea of what's possible.
It's the easy audience you (may) get on Instagram and the like that's so attractive. Few people visit stand-alone websites these days unless driven there from the social networks.
ad-driven apps? Why ad-driven? Why do adverts need to be in this conversation?
Because that's where people go to muck around with their hobbies.
You've lost me.
“making websites easier” won’t solve this. you can build whatever you like but it will lack the community and discoverability of the apps i see any attempt at making these “simple websites” discoverable as having the same privacy implications (in the current state of things)
I hear you, it's not a problem with a single solution.
It’s no harder to make a web site today, if you’re being literal. It’s been 15 years since “Web 2.0” - then as now, ugc-driven platforms/apps merely expanded the market and lowered the barrier to entry. It still takes _some_ real work to publish a site. Anyone can post content.
JS was never proper solution to move forward. Wasm could fix lot of that what has happened.
if javascript is the problem, there are approaches that give you interactivity without client-side logic
I maintain my entire website by hand to this day 🤣 never surrender
It’s honestly not very difficult to understand.
The thing is, you don't have to get your head around it. Like at all. You pull in a template repo using npm, incrementally edit with the local server running (npm run start or dev or something), and finally npm run build when you're ready to deploy.
The process is complicated under the hood, and there's a case to be made against that. But these tools are ultimately very easy to use in the vast majority of cases (the exceptions being when you need some unusual customizations that interact poorly with the build process).
1996...That's around the time we put the entire newspaper on a mostly static website. On prem Pentium Pro 256MB RAM...😱
The problem isn't that tech is harder; in many ways, it's not. It's the default idea/insistence that whatever you make *has* to be built on a massive architecture by default. Happens in both frontend (React/framework-of-the-moment) and backend (K8s etc). Open to being wrong tho
It’s not harder. Expectations are higher.
Jokes on you Corey, my new social network will be html and PHP! I like seeing my entire screen refresh when forms enter!
I think the baseline requirements and consumer expectations have changed substantially. If you just want to publish basic text then it's the same. If you want it to look pretty on a very wide variety of devices then there's inherent complexity there that's hard to simplify.
I blame bootstrap.
because /blink was deprecated :-(
Ah, I see a Mr. Reeve was ahead of me on that one and also writes more accurate html...
Super excited for this new O’Reilly book
I agree! React or vue bloat ware, Wordpress bloat ware with themes etc. its such a lot of code when in 1996 it was just HTML and CSS. Plain text files. And trying to understand if you modify the ts files, tsx, jacket files to adjust content or structure of a page and then “pack”!
I know what you're saying, and agree somewhat, but at the same time you have to admit in some ways, it's significantly easier - e.g. click here: and you can have a free hosted minimal website in one click without even signing in.
holy shit what?
But here is what they looked like in 1996 🤣
Oh. That image of the pc with dollar bills dropping into it was once an animated gif but it drove me crazy. 🤣
It's so mobile-friendly. I scrolled down 80%💕
Well it loaded fast!
Glitch is _lovely_
Yeah I had never heard of this and I'm impressed. I wish the site had more information so I had an idea of how it's financed, etc...
Someone like @anildash can probably give a much better answer than I can, but I’ve used them for many years for teaching kids to code, and also hosting some quick apps - but they’ve got info about their business model here:
Glitch: The friendly community where everyone builds the web
Simple, powerful, free tools to create and use millions of apps.
Sounds like @goldman would be even better. So glad you’re involved in this!!
I read that through and I'm still slightly confused about stuff but I'll go over it in depth. I know I'm getting old when I can't comprehend these things so easily anymore
Thanks so much for the help though
We don't have as much browser incompatibility issues, but now: - mobile-first responsive design - light/dark theme - SPA + PWA - 🥵
light -vs- dark is the new tabs -vs- spaces
Ahaha true that but for websites you can't just be opinionated, you have to implement both and let the visitor pick 😅
Yup, even I did that! (Well, the Hugo theme I chose did it for me...lower right corner.)
Tim's personal website
because “modern responsive web design” requires you include 400+ mb of javascript in your page. Simple HTML and css pages still work (and is just as fast). But might look like trash on mobile
But CSS, not JS, is what controls what your site looks like on mobile? 🤔🤔🤔 (I totally get Tim's point that webpack, SPAs, etc. add complication, but don't think RWD holds the blame for those complications.)
Often times, devs will take the road of least resistance, and that means including some JavaScript library like Bootstrap or full blown React. Much much easier than writing or managing CSS.
Nah, you can a completely responsive website with just CSS.
if you need someone to fix your bundle i do that for a very reasonable price. 400mb means you did way too many wrong decisions
It's not. It's far easier.
"This website was designed for ________ browser. Please use that, nothing else is supported." Lol
Because a browsers have become like operating systems. At least in 1995 we still had a quaint <blink>.
Isn't this a bit like comparing building a house in the 18th vs the 21st century? Of course it was simpler back then. But as any industry evolves it requires ever more specialisations and deeper expertise in smaller niches. It's a basic mechanic of progress, isn't it?
All you needed to know was HTML and hex code colors. We were blissfully ignorant of UI/ux best practices, pretty much all content was static, CSS hadn’t been invented yet and there was no expectation of conventional designs or layouts.
Hahahahahaha Oh man I remember that time
Having done both, it is way easier now. It is so much easier, in fact, that people undertake significantly more ambitious project now than they would have possibly tried then.
Exactly. Just getting a background image to work in multiple browsers was a feat back then. People who didn't cover back then don't understand you don't just put out the code and it works everywhere you had to adjust the code for every browser platform.
Which is why webpages started to grow in size and complexity in the first place - because you needed a compatibility layer written by a dedicated team 🤷‍♂️. Effectively we started shipping a browser with the code to run on the browser.
Not having to accommodate an incompatible version of IE alone is such an amazing quality of life improvement. And that’s leaving aside that Flash came out in 1996…
3 layouts (mobile, medium & large screen) and responsive images & the CSS needed for that. After that it is: is it actually web app (adjusts to user with more complexity than a multi page form)? you an enterprise gathering info on users while keeping competitive load times?
I.e. there is a bit more CSS to learn to do a good basic page. And then there is an enterprise level complexity geared into trying to stuff the most code & functionality into the smallest download package and the least lines to maintain.
Why, you ask? Well, because your TLS certificate has expired, obv.
allows you to click together a website without opening notepad. The blink tag however has been replaced by javascript and is more complex to implement these days.
I'm digging the s3 bucket website approach
Bring back Frontpage Express!
My guess is: java didn't fly, websites weren't all that interactive and also, Flash. It died, and there had to be something to replace it. Nobody prepared something fitting, so we used JS. JS was not prepared and we piled on responsibilities on top of it. Which brings us to today
a series of techs that aren't a good fit for what we use the net for today. And the browser manufacturers liked their control over the stack. They still do. The fact that brendan eich works for Mozilla is no small part of why nothing but JS is allowed
Is it because in 1996 we were serving a relatively tiny group of early-adopters, all using PCs?
tbh I don't think so. The tools used under the hood are 100x more complex, but as the web dev all the complexity of transpiling, bundling etc is handled by a framework (nextjs, sveltekit, ...)
It felt a lot like that to me last year, so I now just have an HTML file, a CSS file, and several images. It's hosted on Github pages. Ignored all the fancy solutions that are supposed to make it easy. Probably doing it wrong, but works for me.
And for me. I was SO happy with how easy it was to make with GitHub Pages.
Also me, but I try not to pass up an opportunity for a quality shitpost
I did enjoy using Glitch too, I must say. If I had a server-side component, I'd look at that. There must be a middle-ground between Glitch and, like, anything that requires me to understand AWS IAM.
Shitposts are important, as are sites like 👏
I always follow the KISS principle and try to comply with today's basic requirements without involving too many fancy elements that makes things confusing and prone to error.
Old websites were static. New websites are dynamic.
because Apple ruined everything
This thread has many valid concerns, but it reminds me of conversations as assembly language programmers switched to C, and then to C++. However, the accidental complexity introduced by poor and immature tools can be a nightmare.
Over-engineering. There is another JavaScript framework that promises to make life simpler.
Because today, people care about UX and UI.
Are you implying the "king of usability" was unworthy of his crown:…? 😯 [Click here] to read more.
Jakob Nielsen (usability consultant) - Wikipedia
(no description)
While a popular take I think it's more about evolving expectations of quality + functionality than anything. Super easy to get a html+css site up and live on @github pages (no ftp needed!). However, today's standards of a "basic webpage" is much higher requiring more scaffolding
I agree: at this point people expect the quality of the web to vaguely resemble the quality of standalone software from 1996. Unreliable, hard to use, inconsistent UI, with occasional catastrophic loss of data. 🤪
Have you tried AlpineJS and Tailwind CSS?
It’s still as easy to make a Gopher site as it was in 1994…
It’s not necessarily harder if you ignore all the peer pressure to use today’s hot tech. But hey. If you’re not using Rube Goldberg machines for your brochure web site, are you really a serious web developer?
`npm install rube-goldberg` doesn’t seem to work for me can you help?
Darn it, I was expecting a punchline!
I didn't think about that tweet very hard before sending it 😅
To be fair squarespace and it’s competitors have made this pretty easy, especially if you plan to sell something or otherwise accept CCs. Agreed that building from scratch has gotten hilariously complicated tho.
Late here, but you can still just do the HTML in Notepad and FTP it. There’s something deeper you’re looking for, which is why it’s harder.
This sounds like a silly question mainly because: 1) smartphones / responsive 2) we do everything on our phones and websites now, way more than in 1996
because Apple ruined everything
Because back then it was just text and hyperlinks.
It's not actually, just depends what you want to do and how you want to do it. You can rock out your best 1996 easily with something like @neocities
Free web hosting and tools that allow anyone to create a website. Join our community today!
👍I did create web sites in 1996. I just tried neocities as a test. That was WAY easier than it was in 1996. Way easier.
Why don't you just do it like in 1996 if you really think that was easier? Did that suddenly stop working?
Is this a subtweet for my client 🤣
It's waaay harder, but it's also waaay more sophisticated. You can still make a crude html/css/js-only site if you want. Nothing stopping you.
I was having this exact discussion with our web dev people a few weeks ago
The defensiveness in the replies is really telling
I have been squinting and frowning at my screen for a couple hours now
well the job security that comes with being the go to person for webpack on a team is not something people are willing to give up easily.
It’s not. There are just more technologies available to you. It’s intimidating and choosing the right way to do something can cause a lot of anxiety, but don’t let it fester into resentment and false assumptions that make you feel better for not learning every shiny new thing.
Explore at your own pace and use what works for you.
Because it’s been monetised.
the popularity of a certain JavaScript framework from 2015 plays a role
Centralization is the reason.
the web is slouching towards irrelevance
Because we somehow overcomplicated the whole process in some weird masochistic Darwinian way in order to support an expanding industry and workforce.
Because Frontpage 98 is no longer around. I’ll see myself out.
Same reason a TV series is harder to make than a toddler's pop-up book, I suppose.
Because the choices were less when compared to what is now which makes things complex.
Changing standards- replicating a static site is as easy or easier than it was; making sites people want to visit is a harder job
It’s not. Wix and voilà. Maybe that answer is insufficient because the word “website” has expanded quite a bit since then.
You still can do a basic page like that. But it will also feel like 1996.
Simple & full of hope for the future*..? 😄 *YMMV
Content gets out - are you missing the ACT OF WRITING code? I can make a vercwl/next page with grommet really fast if I want to
wow i love it, thanks for sharing
Creator here. Let me know if you have any questions!
This looks quite similar to Facebook's, back when that was still up like a year ago. Neat that the concept lives on outside the FB ecosystem.
Yeah it’s sad how much of the infrastructure of the web became specifically designed for active web professionals
Such is the burden of expectations and additional knowledge.
Because those same companies sold us the idea that we all need the tools they invented to solve their problems. We bought into the idea that a more complex ecosystem is better, and we're paying the price.
Because HTML5 has all sorts of useless markup that doesn't affect the formatting of a page and only makes it easier for 'bots' to read..
Thoughts on Hugo?
I hate frontend frameworks so much
All sort of plug-in
In 1996 you’re building a brochureware webpages and in 2021 you’re building software. Multiple breakpoints & browsers to support, custom and contributed functionality, 3rd party integrations, accessibility/compliance requirements, multi-language support, custom logic etc etc
Is it? All the stuff you used to do in 1996 to make a website still works, with the exception of <blink>.
Easy to learn basic HTML. I guess the 1990s www was too egalitarian and democratic.
Because people's standards are much higher 🤷‍♀️
HTML is not even a real language so it was easy because we were using only no-code tools
Supply-demand, technological growth etc. I guess… and on a separate note, front end developers are still underrated… 😝
Not to mention the web has become an abomination. Websites from the bygone era has a style and panache that's wholly absent from the hyperactive game show with maxed out volume aesthetic that dominates pretty much every site today.
It is just as easy today to make the website I made in 1996 as it was back then. In fact, it’s notably easier, I don’t need five nested tables to create a box with rounded corners and a border…
If you ignore react, then it’s just some added CSS that you have to take care of. The CSS standard, I believe, is 800 pages long, and it’s one of the easiest things that I have read in my life, extremely simple. I developed my website using VIM, and it was extremely simple.
If you get the time, then do check out my website at; I hand coded all of it, and as far as I know, it works on all devices.
The words cut off on mobile, don't think your margins are right
Thanks Scott. I tested it using Chrome’s built in tools for responsive design, and it seems to work perfectly on those tools. I actually tested it on Firefox as well, and seems to work there too.
Direct screenshot from front-page
Thanks again, Scott. As I said in my last tweet, it seems to work perfectly on Chrome’s tools for responsive design. I didn’t have small devices back devices, which I still don’t have, so couldn’t test it on real devices. I appreciate the feedback.
I have just checked in Chrome’s developer tools, and it certainly is clipping on smaller devices. When I developed it in 2013, it seemed to work perfectly on all devices that developer tools supported back then. Thanks for the info, once again.
We don't have a tool take takes in @figmadesign and converts that to website. We need a rendering engine that is no/minimal code. No JS/react/angular, HTML5, etc. This is highly not democratizing.…
The #web today is recreating the problems that web 2.0 tried solving in the previous decade - improving user experience. #ux #ui
At the end of the day its still just forms and lists. Input and output. you can do some complicated stuff (if you want) but you dont have to.
I blame the WHATWG.
Which working group?
the WG's that decided the interweb shld be a chintzy marketplace of mobile apps, rather than the beautiful library it was - the latest state of web dev is just rediscovery that data lasts longer then any fadish app and to always avoid vendor lockin at all costs
Probably for similar reasons that it's more difficult to build (good) mobile apps in 2021 compared to 2008. Lots more devices and screen sizes, higher standards for privacy and security, lots of competing solutions for the same problems (Flutter,Xamarin,RN,vanilla-native)
It’s incredibly easy you can literally just write html, css, js and drag and drop the folder into your hosting provider’s control panel where you conveniently can configure all your DNS settings
Reading this thread and responses just confirms your statement. There are lots of good replies that seems to be elaborate scaffolding macros or sophisticated hosted services. Things definitely look and behave better, not sure the content has improved.
Right on cue…
I think users expect more in 2021 than in 1996
Only by doing it *the correct way*, but theres no reason you can’t cut the shit and go straight html+css on lamp stack via ftp and get it done in about 10 minutes. Look at craigslist, still going strong and basic af
Twitter. Telling everyone why they're wrong due to outdated perspectives & making witty jokes just takes up so much of the time.
I believe thats same with any tech, building cars, building houses... Additional functionality requires effort on producer side
Fairly sure you can still use all the same stuff you could back then. There’s more options now but nothing is stopping anybody from just putting a HTML file on a server and calling it a day.
And now you can use stuff like Glitch and not even have to use a server
It is. With all the complex tooling out there, the end result isn't 100x better.
There is literally nothing stopping you from ftping some html and css if that the kind of thing you want to build. And now everywhere gives you a free ssl.
Isn't this the stupid argument on everything? Don't like the president? No one is stopping you to leave the country
No? Not even kind of similar.
I get what you're saying, but a better argument would be: "A 1970 Ford F100 is easier to make, so let's keep making that"
How dare you suggest that we are not required to use K8S to deploy our blog.
100% agree with Scott to the point where this tilts me. Open Notepad, download FileZilla and upload your shit.
Client expectations and the developer ecosystem are changing. That does not mean won't still run. But, to your point, I suppose this is just another dumb semantical argument where we mean the same thing but say different things.
ftp, html and css didn't just go away. They all got better and easier. You can still use them if you don't want JavaScript, it's easier today than it ever has been before. No one is forcing you to install node modules. More complex apps require more complex tooling.
Not every app needs that tooling. It's not a requirement.
Mr Tolinski keeping it real 👍
Is MS Frontpage not available? Asking for a friend.
You are NOT considering all the friggin screensizes beeing added to the ballpark. Thats the cheer! Decades ago even iframe based navigation was the shit haha
Wait you’re doing it wrong. Create a git repo, create an index.html and deploy to pages. That’s it
Cause we don't want shit to look like that no more 😅
Because there's too many options
Web pages today are further away from the intent of html than they were on the 90s?
You can thank mobile devices for that. Good luck trying to build a UI without a CSS framework and React type JS framework.
I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s harder, but I would say that most hosting companies push you to use a platform because they want to monetize their stuff, there’s nothing stopping you from writing static HTML and CSS and hosting it on normal web server with no frameworks
not sure it is… a few choice selections and your experience may be VERY similar (thematically) to 1996 with much greater default behaviour Style, structure similar to 25 years ago, while content and code revision have improved drastically, you have a lot more at your disposal.
I was 12-13years old in 2001.... I used to make super crappy websites using macromedia dreamweaver 3 and geocities..... today I feel I can't do anything functional 😵‍💫
I don't think it is. At least for me it has become a lot simpler.
Have you tried @Wix ? I am serious: Wix is now powerful enough to create most types of Web pages.
I haven't in a long time, but possibly out of snobbishness. I'll take a look. I am sure it'll be fun.
Obviously I'm not objective about @Wix, but we've come a *very* long way in recent years. Much more capable, responsive, performant, SEO friendly, accessible, etc. In particular you may enjoy Wix Velo:…
In case you didn't know: @Wix is now the easiest way to develop powerful web-apps. Wix Editor includes a builtin IDE you can use to add custom code to the Web UI you create using drag-and-drop. This is called #Velo by Wix. here is a short video about it:
Velo by Wix 101 - Walkthrough
Get the full 101 on Velo, Wix’s developer mode. Meredith Hassett, developer advocate, takes you through the key features and capabilities of Velo so you can ...
Money. The answer is always money.
Because in 1996 you didn't have much more than text and static images to work with. Maybe an occasional gif but with the slow bandwidth at the time you tried to keep this to a minimum else the website would load so slowly. Even a jpg would make a page load slow, don't.....(1)
you remember trying to load a porn image and hoping you didn't finish before the image did? I mean really it was slow as heck to load porn images back then.
The W3C is to blame.
Absolutely not you had to make the entire website images scripts everything in under 250 KB -- there's no CSS everything was nested tables it is much easier to make websites today.
The beauty is, you can literally write & deploy a website exactly like you did in 1996. And it will look like a site made in 1996. If you want to make a responsive site with complex layouts, custom type, animation and dynamic interactions that’s understandably far more complex.
Expectations are higher.
Yes! Especially if you want it to be fast; most less technical people (including many web agencies) I know result to the 20 year old project that is WordPress with some one click install on shared hosting, some page builder and plug-ins with known security issues and no updates.
I found GitHub pages easy to get started with. Yeh, there was a some technical stuff going on around it. But you can ignore all that going through the guide and basically git commit markdown pages. If you already used git before, it's easier than ftp for publishing changes.
The biggest thing it simplifies was a not having to think about hosting. The domain name you get isn't that bad, and it's trivial to add a custom domain (once you get one registered all on your own).
Because your website is supposed to be a page or group on FaceBook. Do get with the program!
Because nowadays you need to target multiple devices, must be responsive
I mean, if you go back and look at the sites we were making in 96 that might explain part of this.
Too much choices for the tech stack. Overengeeniring.
Sveltejs is easy, easier than jquery. Golang is easy, easier than php. Reactjs,angularjs,spring are hard. But you are not forced to use them.
It is not harder to make a website now. If you want to make a website that's as simple as in 1996 you can still do that. Nothing says your page has to look good, that's totally optional. Also Squarespace is crazy easy and Shopify and Wordpress aren't much harder.
Because they took down GeoCities
Expectations! The complexity is an (often disproportionate) response to the much higher expectations of websites in 2021 vs 1996.
Man, I still hate W3C for moving to <div> tag. Bring back tables to lay out websites lol. It's so easy to layout a website using <table>. I am a dinosaur lol.
This website looks like it was pretty easy to make 🤣
It is only as hard as you want it to be.
It was easier to make a car in 1921. Should we still be driving 1921 cars?
with both websites and cars a look at the weight of those of the past ought to at least give us pause to reconsider if maybe todays options have become a little bloated. imo many good incremental steps can accumulated into something suboptimal and taking a step back can help
I agree. I try to build sites and apps that are more Honda Jazz/Fit than massive bloated Lexus. It is not too hard. My co-developers need restraining sometimes.
I still enjoy coming across the "single speed bike without lights" variety too though :P
It was easier to fix a car, because the technology was simpler. No, we should be using bicycles and trains.
I lived three years in the Netherlands without a car. It’s easy if the infrastructure is set up for it. Most places are not even close. I live on a guided bus route that takes me to my workplace in Cambridge. The cost and time to drive vs. take the bus is about the same.
Cambridge was fairly special when I lived in Fen Drayton. In the city, cars moved at the speed of bikes. :-)
I am in St. Ives. It is pretty good.
That’s absurd. It’s easier than ever. Just make sure you’ve got Node installed and updated and npm and yarn and grok and all of them version compatible then all you have to do is install NestJs and a month later you’ll have a beautiful webpage which you can deploy with Kubernetes
The people being weirdly obtuse in your replies clearly have not experienced the glory that is early 2000s Teen Girl Internet
I can ship a site without the keyboard in just a few clicks. What on earth are you talking about?
Let me tell you about our lord and saviour Netlify
What worked then that doesn’t work now?
Nothing keeping you back from writing HTML with notepad (take VIM for god’s sake 🧐😀) and FTPing it up, even in 2021 that works
Creating a Wordpress blog is as easy as it's ever been.
Exactly 🤷‍♂️
Remember when we’d build websites by writing an index.html file, include our CSS & JS inline, then FTP it up to the server. Job done. Now we have dependencies, build pipelines, deployment scripts & serverless functions coming out of our ears. Progress at the cost of complexity.
1. More consumer device types 2. Higher user expectations 3. Fewer technology choices (in the 90s)
Layouts using tables and rounded corners using images, fun times!
The bar is higher now
In 2021, you need to understand law of gravity first.
Everything makes sense now
Hundreds of different screens and devices. Remember when websites used to say best viewed on IE with 640×820?
Webflow is easy, @carrd is easy, etc. Pushing a page on GitHub page too, no ?
Why? Just make it look like in 1996 and say that it is just a Radical Design.
It isn't. If you make the same website.
People have more expectations..In 90s web used to be just static html. It was served like menu and books. Now web needs to be interactive. That's why it become tough.
Aside from that, no one reads personal websites anymore so there's not really any point in maintaining one. Social media, on the other hand...
It's not harder. It's just that everybody's standards for a website went up. Today's web browsers can still render websites from 1996. It's just that we all feel pressure to do more.
I had lofty goals back then and wanted to make web forums and the like from scratch using PHP or Perl. Modern web dev makes that easier to achieve… at the expense of what you just described. Kinda sucks that we lost the simplistic charm over the years.
Open FileZilla and upload index.html using ftp. In case you want fancy interactions, upload index.php
It’s harder to make websites, but it’s even harder to generate enquiries from websites now.
Too many options. It's like buying toothpaste at the supermarket. There are over 200 different kinds with no way to judge which is better.
Is it actually harder, or is it that people tell you all the things you “have” to do (minify, seo, compression)? Cos you can create a free page with Wordpress (non self hosted) pretty fast.
“The owls are not what they seem.”