what is the smol web?

· erock's devlog

trying to define a movement

the modern browser #

The modern browser is a monolithic piece of code that acts as an operating system for modern applications. If you want to build a product or service in 2022, chances are you are using the browser to provide it.

Millions of lines of code are added to chromium every year. Only massive teams part of massive corporations can maintain it. Since only companies with large purses can maintain such a project, it's impossible for competition to enter the market and invent new ways of communicating with each other.

Furthermore, the entire cloud ecosystem -- which supports the web -- has been monopolized by a few companies. We are standing on the shoulders of giants -- and not in a good way.

Those companies have imposed their will to power in order to deeply influence all aspects of the web today. All we have to do is look at who runs WHATWG to know who owns the web. They control the browsers, they control the specifications, they control what your mind sees.

On the surface it might seem that the goal is to show us ads, but that's just the direct financial motivator. These companies have used their influence to hide under the browser to grant them power to control our minds.

what is the smol web? #

The smol web attempts to simplify the modern web by making content more accessible. In this context, "accessible" means you don't necessarily need a modern browser to produce and consume content for people to enjoy. The services on the smol web don't require a ton of resources to maintain themselves. At the core of this movement is creating a platform for communication and collaboration. It's about carving out a space for us to communicate with each other outside the gaze of a few companies.

The smol web is an attempt to unchain ourselves from the tech giants. We are here to build a web where we have the tools to communicate and collaborate without needing so much infrastructure and resources.

The goal is to create a rich user experience without the need for an engineering marvel like v8. We can accomplish this while at the same time providing a delightful user experience. It's critical that the user experience we provide in the smol web matches what you can get with modern web apps.

the zen of smol #

This depends on the person and context. But if I could provide the "the zen of smol":

To be clear, monetization of the smol web is fine but we should be sensitive to increasing complexity in order to accomplish that goal.

simplify the tech #

By lowering the barrier to entry for small teams to build ways to consume content on the internet, we promote innovation and we make it easier for content creators and consumers to liberate themselves from monolithic apps.

If we simplify the tech, we subvert the dominant power structures of the internet.

references #

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