Put a Stop to the Widespread Use of JavaScript on the Internet

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  • First a little history......

    Years ago the Internet and the World Wide Web only consisted of web based languages like HTML (hypertext transfer markup language) based on tags. It was mostly text based along with a few inline images and a few animated GIF images. Content was king and there where very few security vulnerabilities in the wild in use and it was fun, entertaining and very informative. As we 'so called' progressed we started to stylise the web with graphics (images) built into tables and then came along CSS (cascading style sheets) to make stylising web pages alongside html more simplified along with web standards and the abandonment of hacking html tables to contain graphic image files.

    Adobe Flash then came along which was an evolution from the older Macromedia Director once Adobe had purchased it alongside Dreamweaver which was another Macomedia software but was an industry standard for designing and building html based websites. Macromedia Director on the other hand used an object based oriented language called Lingo and Adobe then adapted this into what they called ActionScript. Both languages are based on JavaScript which is also an object based oriented language. These languages are neither native or designed for the web. Macromedia Director and Adobe Flash where designed for animation and interactive presentations in software development and media presentations, kiosk booths, games, puzzles etc. Basically the manipulation of graphic images. Adobe already had very basic versions of Adobe Photoshop for Bitmap graphic work (non scalable graduated colours based on pixels) and Adobe Illustrator for Vector based graphics (scalable flat coloured graphics based on computational calculations). To put it another way one for photos and one for cartoons / artwork / logos etc.

    The user-base then started to abuse and hack the use of Adobe Flash for creating things like animated web banners, flashing buttons, online games etc alongside animated GIF's which Adobe then facilitated with the Adobe Flash browser plugin. Things went crazy and folk even began to create Flash based (SWF or Shockwave) websites. SWF was the exported file format of interactive Flash images and animations. Adobe then came out with Flash video, FLV files that could either be incorporated into existing Flash animations or be uploaded as a stand alone video file and player. There where many different skins for the player designed by different folk. The web already was able to play Apple Quicktime movies via a plugin and there was also Windows Media Viewer videos via a browser plugin but these where not widespread and device dependent so added complexities for the web designer. Flash video, FLV files was a turning point for the online world and we began to see a rise in online videos. We also started to see widespread use of graphic effects like drop down menu navigation system's and a huge increase in web banners and the beginning of web advertising.

    As designers started to use Flash more and more for animated graphic effects on their websites things progressed and along came other object based oriented JavaScript based libraries like MooTools and JQuery among others. The use of JavaScript is so widespread now that most sites will not function without it. This not only brings accessibility issues for those with disabilities or outdated computer equipment / software but worst of all it's open to abuse and used to create and transport Malware and other web nasties. It's also used to track and monitor your actions on websites and across the Internet. It's also turned the world wide web into a commercial and privacy nightmare and slowed down the internet and increased bandwidth usage. That's not good for the environment not to mention the rest of it including the social impact and problems that have arisen over the years. We effectively have a world wide web super highway that resembles many of our western world road structures and grid locked traffic jams along with cars crashing only the cars are data packets. The World Wide Web and the Internet is a complete mess.

    I'm am a firm believer that JavaScript should be banned from the Internet and we should get back to the roots of why Tim Berners Lee invented it in the first place.. Here's a couple of articles that pushed me into starting this thread which I advice you read.

    The JavaScript Trap - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

    Free Software Is Even More Important Now - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation

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  • I’m not very knowledgeable about all this, but I use whatever is convenient and best suits my purpose. As all my programs are copies it doesn’t cost anything either. I’ve got the old Dreamweaver (don’t like it), illustrator and Premier pro (too complicated), plus photoshop (CS6). The only fault I find with JQuery is it hogs up space, but if I remove it some things stop working.

    Everyone wants their website to look nice and professional and I think this is the price we pay. The only Internet gripe I have is google moving towards mobile users. No website looks good on a mobile and the Internet wasn’t designed for small hand held devices.

  • PS CS6 was IMO the best and last version of PS before Adobe starting to go downhill and concentrated more on data mining rather than the software being implemented for use as an efficient simple to use creativity product and this now makes Adobe apps more of a Trojan Horse. :(

    JQuery is it hogs up space

    Which is one of the problems of relying on third party frameworks. There will be a tonne of code in those frameworks being read which affects page load times which are not even relevant to the code snippets your using for effects within the site. There's also the issue of reliance on a third party server (man in the middle) the other side of the world and traffic having to pass back and forth. This is not only a security risk but is not environmental friendly and uses more bandwidth and energy resources. Okay some content can be cached by more local servers along the route but this is not always the case and everything is set with a Time to Live (TTL) server side and if the page content contains any dynamic content like news feeds for example then it will constantly be changing.

    Everyone wants their website to look nice and professional

    There's a huge difference between looking nice and being professional. Many websites now because of the heavy use of JavaScript don't even cater for those with disabilities. Try disabling JavaScript and then using a website in text only (screen reader for the blind) or for security purposes. This is why the filling in of alt tags is so important when a site contains 'non text' images and movies. There should be an alt text description that explains what the content consists of and is about; a brief summary that flows with the rest of the text on page.

    Looking nice is an opinion as one mans taste is different from the next. Usability should take priority over looks and fancy eye catching graphic effects and dark patterns to misdirect and confuse users along with tracking and data mining. Then there is the issue of how JavaScript code can easily be abused to insert Malware either by the developer or targeted advertising or a third party along the route and giving easy access to local files outside of your browser either remotely or using social engineering to trick you. You don't even have to download anything these days and can simply land on a page with malvertising. This is all mostly accomplished by the abuse of JavaScript which can then access remote content and other scripts using whatever language one chooses.

    The only Internet gripe I have is google moving towards mobile users.

    I agree but it's not only Google it's the industry as a whole and the mobile first is a terrible design direction. But this push for Mobile first is not only because of the increase in mobile phone users but mobile phones are one of the most insecure and non private devices one can use. This allows businesses and authorities to have complete control over users and the directional paths one takes, not to mention industrial espionage and the lack of data control, including clients data, when using many third party services. App's are a totally different kettle of fish compared to a desktop Application running on a (for want of a better word) 'proper' operating system.

    The second operating system hiding in every mobile phone – OSnews

    Ban the use of non native web languages on the web. We are being abused and manipulated by corporations and governments to which then cybercriminals make use of the technology implemented by them.

  • Norra, I bow to your superior knowledge on this issue, but I hate java simply because it was always so bloody slow and brought computers to a grinding halt. I also understand that you can tracked with java too, so another minus in my view.

  • JavaScript not Java. Don't get them confused. Java is a completely different language and Java is even worse from a security perspective and bloated crap. Tracking....most people are tracked everywhere you go on the web by Google, Facebook and many other companies / corporations online without even being aware of it, and of course governments can piggy back off the back of all this. Online Stalking would be a better term for it.

    Even simple little things as the Facebook 'like button' and social media icons on sites are there to enable them to be able to track you across sites and it does not matter whether you have a Facebook account or not. Facebook holds a proxy / shadow account on everyone and you are given an identity according to how your fingerprinted if you can't be linked to an actual registered account with them. This data is then sold to advertising companies that can then target you amongst other things, like insurance companies, banks, Equifax etc and possibly even including the selling of data to online cybercriminals or their servers get hacked. They can even manipulate votes and other political causes if they sell the data to someone like Cambridge Analytica. If you use Instagram or WhatsApp, both owned by Facebook, and there's a fingerprint match, then they have your real identity or at least some links towards your real identity then too. Even the Google CAPTCHA's real purpose is there to fingerprint you. Speed that you react along X, Y on the screen and the patterns you make.

    This is how Facebook collects data on you even if you don’t have an account
    There’s little you can do about it.
    www.vox.com

    It's the use of JavaScript on the web that mostly enables all this via third party browser web workers, persistent storage, third party cookies and scripts.

    I hate Java applications instead of a real programming language written in C, C+, C++ or variations of them etc but sometimes Java is the only way around something plus it's easier for non programmers to write cross platform software programmes which brings me onto Electron app's (note I used the term apps and not application)......another form of JavaScript only now being implemented into desktop applications. Easy for AppStores to make money from useless apps made by non programmers with built in crypto-mining and other shit or just plain old pieces of shit software that are pointless. It's also pushing the move more towards mobile phones / tablets.

    This dumbing down of an OS allowing an application or app to run using far more simple languages that the masses can learn not only brings more security vulnerabilities but it's taking work away from those that have studied and work with proper software development programming languages where they are professional and have more ethical boundaries they wont cross. There's a big difference between an application and an app apart from the language used to build it.

    Once upon a time Web Design used to be a good business and well paid job. Now any tom dick or harry can get some online CMS along with a template and build a site and they don't understand or care to understand about all the underpinnings, accessibility, security, SEO, code efficiency etc as long as things look good on the surface and it works......it may well work but not necessarily work well or efficiently and more importantly securely both for oneself and their clients, customers, visitors.

    Thankfully Java is not widespread on the web anymore though it's still used for some online games / puzzles. That would be a major security vulnerability in the same way the Flash plugin became. Java is not something you want activated as a browser plugin extension. But the use of JavaScript is widespread and being abused and or badly implemented to the point of most sites not even functioning properly without it.

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