If twenty years ago someone told me web browsers in the future won’t be able to save pages for browsing offline, I wouldn’t believe such degradation is possible. Yet here we are, and again, I seem to be the only one who notices that fact and cares. Today, I tried to save this article on The Washington Post.
None of the current browsers (I’ve tried Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi, and Pale Moon) was able to save it with all the assets, pictures, styles, fonts and markup (either as a single mhtml archive, html file with external resources, or pdf). The best of them (namely Opera and Vivaldi) could only save text and markup. I understand why such a technical problem occurs. I know how it could be redone to work properly. If browsers wouldn’t send a new HTTPS request to the remote server the time you press the “Save as” button and write its response anew and instead save the already assembled complete page from the temporary Internet files on the client’s computer, the problem wouldn’t exist.
Nobody from the new generation of coders, which made the stereotypical image of an IT guy cool with sleek fashionable laptops, gamification of the workspace, and mobile, active, sporty lifestyle instead of the old one that depicted a crowd of extremely thin or extremely fat nerds with bad eyesight tied to their bulky desktops and huge monitors with cables everywhere, seems competent enough to see that despite them earning 20 maybe 30 times more than I do. Nobody from the corporate management seems to care as long as the market share and sales KPI are met. Nobody from the user base seems to have noticed after they moved the said “Save as” button deeper into the submenus.
When was the last time you saved a web page? What are you going to do when the content you consume becomes unreachable or tainted? How fast will you conform to the new world view and behavioral patterns offered (and probably slightly enforced) to you? Doesn’t it affect your self-worth right now if you actually aren’t afraid to think about it?
More on the global situation in the fifth episode of Show Up and Tell