Web News

Are Websites Old News? Are They Going the Way of the Newspaper?

June 7, 2023
June 14, 2023
Episode Number:

The tech world moves quickly, and web development is no exception...except that it seems like web development keeps re-inventing the wheel. Us web developers can make a blog in WordPress, Svelte + SvelteKit, React, Webflow, and many more. It seems like we spend most of our time arguing and creating new tools to develop the exact same end products, when we could be innovating and creating the next best thing. For our non-techie customers, they see no difference and form no opinion on whether their blog should be created using Svelte or React - yet we waste tons of hours learning different technologies that can pump out the same projects, with little difference. While the rest of the tech world looks to Apple for what they're calling "spatial computing" with the Vision Pro, and Meta for their affordable AR/VR experiences...websites remain large the same as they were a number of years ago. Does this mean that websites are being left behind, are they old news?


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Who’s in This Episode?

Show Notes

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This episode's idea was sparked from the WWDC23 presentation on the Apple Vision Pro, Apple's introductory device for what they're calling "spatial computing," otherwise known as mixed reality (AR + VR). Throughout the entirety of the device's promo video, they mentioned the web only once, stating that the web comes to live at fantastic scale, with easy-to-read text, and that browsing the internet feels new...followed by a showcase of multiple tabs. To Matt, this limited web showing is an indicator that websites are not innovating fast enough, and are being left in the dust by new AR/VR experiences, and the new AI revolution.


  • The Apple Vision Pro is a new mixed reality headset starting at $3499 USD
  • In the official YouTube promo video "Introducing Apple Vision Pro" the web was briefly mentioned in the "work" chapter where they mentioned...
    - the web comes to life at fantastic scale (adjustable windows)
    - easy-to-read text
    - "browsing the internet feels new" (implying that it's old)
    - showed off multiple tabs
  • This new AR/VR headset could usher in a new era of wearables and possibly revolutionize computing as we know it
    - We've had AR/VR for a long time, but when Apple does something it often becomes a trend
    - If this is the precipice of a new era, the web's showcase was just that you can view websites and that's it...
    - This AR/VR "revolution" isn't the only thing taking off right now, we're in the middle of an AI revolution as well
    - Does this spell trouble for traditional websites are they dated?
  • The web has tried to innovate and move forward with web3 and PWA - both are important...but aren't marketed all that well to the general public

Is The Web Stagnant?

For Web Developers

  • Are we spending too much time re-inventing the wheel?
    - New tools keep coming out (ie React, Svelte, Vue) that are all designed to help web developers...but they produce the same end products
    - You could have a blog powered by WordPress years ago and then mimic that exact blog with Svelte/Kit, to the public they're identical
  • False Starts - Web-based innovations that fell flat
    - Web3 has failed to be marketed to the masses. It became all about money when crypto's value shot up suddenly, and once it crashed you hear hardly anything about it
    - PWAs have varying levels of compatibility with different devices and they're hardly even when a user is using them they're unaware they're using a PWA - they think they're just using a website shortcut on their phone's home screen/computer's app menu
  • Browser Support
    - Cross-browser support has improved immensely once Internet Explorer reached end of life and furthermore when Edge went Chromium
    - But there are still incompatibilities and inconsistencies between browsers that simply slow web developers down, stifling innovation
  • API Reliance & Support
    - We've discussed how many "modern full-stack developers" are manily frontend developers that use a lot of APIs to deliver content into their user interfaces
    - Mainly this content is sourced from APIs which typically relies on a third-party services (ie Reddit)
    - This content is often entirely under the control of the third-party, so they can (and sometimes will) pull that capability away from you...or they'll raise the prices exponentially
    - For example, when Netflix was new they had an API that resulted in many third-party Netflix apps, but those are long gone. Reddit's recent API situation is another example.
    - The era of limitless free data and services is coming to a close

For the Public

  • Are websites old news? The modern newspaper?
    - The web has become a place to get information and read stories...but websites are almost dated in their UX
    - AI Technologies like BingAI scrape and read the web for the information they provide to user prompts. Even though the sources are shown, how many people are visiting those sites versus just taking the answer they get from the chatbot?
    - Publishing platforms like Google News, Apple News, and Bing/Microsoft Start/MSN are a major source of news for people that just want a quick update on what's going on in the world, or in their favorite pastime. Many users are just reading this written content on these platforms and not going to the source website
    - Search Engines now interpret website content and provide small snippets of information, highlight sections of videos, and more. This leads to less website clicks and more answers being served straight in the search engine
  • In an effort to get decentralized are we going more centralized?
    - The public has no idea what they're logging into, they just log in to services that they need/want
    - The general public may not have gotten a taste for logging in seamlessly to services with a single wallet/profile like in web3. This failure in web3 catching on may have resulted in more people using centralized services as we look to companies like Microsoft to manage our online cloud storage, email, computer login, AI profiles (ie Co-Pilot), and more. Maybe Apple will manage all our AR/VR experiences?

How to fix this?

We acknowledge that the problems we discuss in this episode are too big to be solved by simple solutions (at least in our opinion), and therefore these solutions in this section are more philosophical than a true "quick fix."

  • Is it too late?
    - The web is transitioning away from free services with examples being seen in the API world, as well as recently discontinued unlimited free Google Photo storage
    - The developer UX has been getting better, but consumers are largely seeing the same services from 5 years ago, only now they're not free or are more expensive than before
  • We need:
    - Browsers to get onto the same page
    - Websites that need to start thinking in not only the X and Y axis, but also the Z axis (for AR/VR)
    - Better marketing for web3 and PWA (this is a tall order and there's no central body for this, so is this even possible?)