Victus Spiritus


What if the web really died?

03 Oct 2010

This morning's thought riff brought to you by a more sinister imagining of the web is dead meme*.

What if the standards based global network we call the world wide web was no longer viable? Other network protocols would still function over the Internet which uses TCP/IP, but HTML and HTTP would no longer function as they are fundamental representations of the web layer. Offspring of the web, like the concept of URIs and URLs would be spared as they are now defined outside the web's context. Let's clear the air in distinguishing the global network from the web:

The Internet is a global data communications system. It is a hardware and software infrastructure that provides connectivity between computers. In contrast, the Web is one of the services communicated via the Internet

By definition, the death of the world wide web is the death of every single web site. There would be no or to carry videos to end users as they rely heavily on HTML. Dedicated apps could still connect to these services, but network layers which leverage the HTTP standard in any way would break down without its structure^. The domain name system would have little meaning to browsers, and would only function for other application layers (FTP, Telnet, XMPP, etc). Databases who's interface relies on HTTP like CouchDB would break down. All visualization layers that rely on hypertext markup in any way shape or form would fail. The death of the web translates into a breakdown of the global network of information on the order of biblical proportions.

* = some background on the web is dead

^= Death means gone, kaput, bye bye, hasta la vista, no take backs