Web Complexity

Every time I attend a developers meetup in Charlottetown I am inspired by their efforts to manipulate machines and wrought by headaches at how complex creating simple websites seems to have become; at least compared to the days when I got started. These meetups often give you the opportunity to view source, the key means by which most of us used to use to learn. It reminds me again of the essay by Frank Chimero, Everything Easy Is Hard Again:

Illegibility comes from complexity without clarity. I believe that the legibility of the source is one of the most important properties of the web. It’s the main thing that keeps the door open to independent, unmediated contributions to the network. If you can write markup, you don’t need Medium or Twitter or Instagram (though they’re nice to have). And the best way to help someone write markup is to make sure they can read markup.

I’m not insinuating that the developers at these events write inelegant code, but that all the complexity they are knee deep in used to be the purview of people writing code to manipulate data, not display mark-up.

This blog, thanks to WordPress gobbly-gook, and my own laziness suffers from code complexity, as do far too many local websites I’ve seen created by the multitude of marketing agencies here on PEI. You would have to have an almost religious conviction to abandon the ease of WordPress, all its repugnant plugins and themes, to create simple lightweight websites.

My good friend Chientai and I used to be believers, but I left the faith to focus completely on user experience. He now has a mountain farm and promotes permaculture.

I have a number of web projects on the horizon and I hope I have the time and patience to develop it with code readability in mind – it shouldn’t be that difficult to create a simple, responsive layout with nicely set text.