Embracing the Constraints of Web UI

Jeff Atwood's recent post on web application UIs reminded me of why I chose to get into web development. This quote, in particular, matches exactly what was going through my mind about one year ago, when I made the decision that I was going to move into web development:

"Eckel sees a world of JavaScript and DHTML that's inappropriate for large applications. I see a world of large applications that are inappropriate for most users. It's high time we scaled down and scaled back. If anything, this is a beneficial side-effect of the limitations inherent to the platform."

What excited me so much about the prospect of web applications was that they gave me an excuse and a vehicle for expressing my minimalist urges and instincts regarding software design.

This mindset has also been popularized to a large extent by the 37signals religion. And while I find it annoying in many ways, I also agree wholeheartedly with some of its tenets, especially embracing constraints and sticking to the essentials.

Instead of focusing on packing feature after feature into our applications that no one cares about anyway, let's embrace the constraints of the web browser as a platform, and keep it simple, stupid!