The "Small Web" is a term coined by Aral Balkan in his essay What is the Small Web. It encompasses several behaviors that lay in contrast the existing "Big" Web.
The Big Web is:
- Centralized (cloud)
- Corporate owned
- Rents space to "users"
- Engages in [[surveillance capitalism]]
The small web in contrast is:
- Decentralized (single tenant servers)
- For and built by people
Furthermore, Aral posits, but doesn't fully explore the architectural implications that Big Web trusts servers and distrusts clients; but small web distrusts servers and trusts clients.
Ben Hoyt in The Small Web is Beautiful further explores the concept of the Small Web by categorizing it as both the efforts of small teams and companies, but also small websites and architectural decisions. This gives you less moving parts and a faster application with reduced processing resources
A small architecture he argues rejects microservices for monoliths. Monolingual development, transactional requests (since there is only one database or even just a filesystem or SQLite), and limits orchestrational and networking problems.
A small architecture limits external dependencies in favor of standard libraries. Cares about the size of the application and resource requirements (CPU, memory, etc.), reduces the overall feature set, uses progressive enhancement on the front end and compiled languages on the back-end (Rust, Go).
As creativity on the web declines, we see the rise of the bureaucrat under the heavy-handed tooling of Web 2.0 Social Media. The best internet is a community engaged in communication. In particular, a community of artists, David Schmudde says in On the Internet, We are Either Artists or Bureaucrats, who invites others to respond in kind. A bureaucrat, however, is a slave to the machine. They opine because it is required -- favorite, retweet, boost and register their engagement in the most formal and banal of processes. Shouting into the void is not the basis for a community.
- Balkan, Aral. What is the Small Web?. Aral Balkan. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
- Hoyt, Ben. The small web is beautiful. Ben Hoyt Technical Writing. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
- Sumner, Jarred. Why isn't the internet more fun and wird?. Jarred. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
- Schmudde, David. On the Internet, We Are Either Arists or Bureaucrats. Beyond the Frame. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
- Lambert, Pete. HTML is the Web. Pete Lambert. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
- Tunius, Hugo. On Being a Front-End Engineer. Hugo Tunius. Retrieved 2021-03-09.