Web = Borg

A problem I often run into with huge monolithic cross-platform environment is there will be a lot of vague problems reported that tend to be difficult to reproduce or nail down. For example the upstart time for the web applications is sometimes too long, sometimes it gets stuck on compilation step for over a minute, certain UI elements are super sluggish sometimes, sometimes a dragged widget is suddenly dropped. In the related issue threads there will just be a ton of “can’t reproduce”s, “I have no idea”s, and “closing because not helpful”s.

The web in particular is where big, monolithic systems can go to breed and grow fat. The scope and breadth of the web is so big, there’s so many disparate technologies stacked on top of each other, some dating back to the 80s, some switched out every year, so there’s always room to grow the Borg frameworks to cover even more ground. The web offers a smörgåsbord of huge, redundant, broken, impossible standards to implement, with a free roll of duct tape for every meal.

The web can only grow. The web assimilates all technology and platforms. The web is the place to be.

In a way, it’s beautiful. It’s the technological primordial soup before our very eyes. Yet cold and inexorable like time itself; it will drown us all.

In other spheres like Haskell you can suffocate by climbing too far up the ivory tower of mathematical abstraction, forever chasing some category theoretical ideal of beauty and elegance, but getting nowhere in the process.

With the web it’s the opposite: everyone surviving on the web are obsessed with going places, getting things done, “whatever works will do.” This ruthless pragmatism led to the birth (and revolting success) of phenomenons like PHP, a blight upon the minds of the people.