[Mailman-Users] What would your dream Mailman web interface look like?

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Tue Apr 7 04:17:27 CEST 2015

On Tue, Apr 07, 2015 at 10:02:32AM +1000, Andrew Stuart wrote:

> Sounds like not working with JavaScript is something important to you.  
> What’s the thinking behind wanting to work without JavaScript?  Isn’t 
> it kinda hard to navigate the modern web without JavaScript?

Yes it is, but not as painful as using the modern web *with* Javascript.

For complicated reasons that will take too long to describe, I've been 
running Opera (with no ad-blocking software at all) and Firefox 
(Ad-Block disabled) for the last six weeks, both with Javascript 
enabled. Call it an experiment, if you like, although that's not 
actually why I'm doing it. My conclusion:

The modern web is a horror without Ad-Block disabling Javascript by 

Honestly, I don't know how non-technical people and those on IE manage. 
Perhaps they don't.

Aside: I thought I had it bad until I started using Chrome, which for 
some reason ignores my web proxy. My proxy blocks a lot of ads at the 
server. With Chrome, I see the web as ordinary people see it. *shudders*

It's not just the popup windows. It's not just the sites that hijack the 
right-click menu. It's not just the autoplay videos. It's not even the 
browser crashes! (Mostly Opera, Firefox seems a bit more stable.) Any 
one of them alone is enough to make Javascript-off-by-default essential, 
in my opinion. (Thank you Ad-Block!)

But the worst is the mysterious Javascript scripts that run in the 
background, grinding my computer almost to a halt. What they do, I don't 
know. What tab they are associated with, there is no way to tell. All I 
know is that with Javascript on, my browser starts using 100% of the 
available CPU, my system's load goes through the roof, and using other 
applications slows down and becomes painful. I turn Javascript off, and 
the CPU usage drops to normal. I turn it back on, and everything is fine 
for a while, until I refresh some tab, or open a new one at the wrong 
site, and before I know it, I have a load of 8 or 10 again.

Allegedly secure sandbox or not, I'm not happy when web sites *demand* 
that you run their untrusted and untrustworthy code in your computer 
before you can see the content. I get that using a complex and rich web 
application is going require some Javascript, but if you (generic you, 
not you personally) insist on me running untrusted code in order to view 
what is essentially static text and a few graphics, then you are simply 
being rude.

When I go back to using Ad-Block (I'm counting the days...) I could 
always Allow Javascript for mailman admin pages on a case-by-case basis. 
But there is another reason for avoiding Javascript even so. With 
Javascript, I can only use a GUI web browser to use the admin pages. But 
without it, I can use text-only, no-Javascript browsers like lynx. 
That's really handy for administrating mailman installations behind a 
firewall, where the admin pages are not visible over the Internet, but 
only inside the LAN. I can ssh into the network, then use lynx or 
equivalent to browse to the local admin pages. Of course using a text 
browser is never quite as good a user experience as a nice graphical UI, 
but if the alternative is a six hour drive to a distant customer, then 
I'll use what I can get :-)


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