Article: I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

Here’s an interesting article on Wired about turning off JS for a week:

I think it’s interesting in that it highlights some aspects of how JS usage has gone overboard a bit.

I just hope it won’t stir up anti-JS-off sentiment. That often happens with any talk of progressive enhancement, for example—when in reality progressive enhancement has very little to do with JS being purposely turned off. (It’s more about dealing with situations when JS fails for one reason or another.)

Anyhow, I have a browser extension that turns off JS with a simple click, on a site-by-site basis. I use it when I’m on sites that keep shouting at me with obtrusive ads, popups and what not that get in the way of the content and reduce page loads to a crawl etc. To me, having site-by-site control is preferable to killing JS altogether. As the article notes, that can badly affect your experience of the web.

The part of the article I find interesting is the discussion of reducing reliance on proprietary JavaScript, as an alternative to reducing/removing JavaScript altogether.

To me, if it’s all or nothing, the annoyances created or enhanced by JavaScript are nowhere close to cancelling out the benefits created or enhanced by JavaScript - that’s just my opinion, albeit one I hold pretty strongly. But I do think that there are some interesting ideas there about moving to more open source JavaScript to allow for greater transparency, and blocking malicious code, and PE concerns.


This is the equivalent of installing Windows 3.1 on your new PC and screaming about how quick it is.

Yes it’s true the overhead is smaller but the experience is nothing like and if you dig a little deeper you actually start to realise just how much functionality you are missing.

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Fortunately it isn’t. With a decent browser you can have JavaScript turn itself on and off depending on which site you are on.

Either normally on but off for specific sites or normally off but on for specific sites.

Yeah. I think the point of the article is just that there’s often too much JS going on, and that it’s a relief to have some of that excess turned off. Ideally, it would be a signal to devs to make sites a little less JS-heavy.

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When developers try to offload too much of the processing onto your browser instead of running it on their server you start to wonder if they are even professional developers.

I kept reading that, and all I could think is “What is ‘proprietary’ about JavaScript?” Does anyone one know?

I’ve never felt inclined to turn off JS myself. It’s irritating at times with some of the modals, but that’s not the end of the world. Many of the sites I use would probably present me with nothing if I did.

I’m left wondering what the real background to the story was. Was it just a suggestion that we should just code better? If so, he’d be better off targeting those who pay to get that code written in the first place - like the site the article was on; it was like trying to read the label on a box of frogs when viewed in IE

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