I've noticed a recent linguistic shift in some young people, referring to websites as "apps". Reddit is an "app". The college website is an "app". "Which app did you see that on?"

I don't know if this is just shorthand (they likely access sites through an app) or a genuine misunderstanding of what's going on.

I don't want to be dramatic, but I'd lying if I said it didn't concern me a little. The WWW is a great resource which is free and interoperable. (Well we're down to just 2 browser engines now, but that's another matter). It'd be a shame if the WWW withered away, replaced by "apps", because people didn't know what they had.

@ethicsperoxide I suppose if they only access on their phones through dedicated apps, then I could see why they refer to them this way.

@ethicsperoxide, thanks for the insight. Complex ideas seem to be "distilled" into "easier* concepts. Things that were so complicated that only experts really knew how to use them are turned into "Appliances," simple tools. But that leads to fewer who know how to make new exciting stuff .. a dumbing down.

@ethicsperoxide that's already happened. Businesses took over the Internet. The tenants of the free Web are just this: remnants.

@ethicsperoxide it's because of mobile computing.

I access Reddit via an app. I access my college website via an app. etc etc. Yes, they are on the WWW, but they are apps. The terminology isn't wrong or shorthand - that's what they are to most people.

@mewmew @ethicsperoxide Add to this that there are still young nerdy kids who use computers who will grow up to be devs, the internet won't die

@izarella @mewmew @ethicsperoxide I'm more concerned with the direction of the Web itself than with apps culture. Not that it terribly matters anyway since at the end of the day I'm an old Unix hand and you'd have to pry it away from my cold dead fingers

@allison @izarella @ethicsperoxide "grandma alice, tell me about fore-tan"

@ethicsperoxide 'webapp' was a thing for a while for things that worked like apps but over the web. I'd rather see a division form where there are 'local apps', 'web apps', 'web sites', ... as a lot of folks seem concerned by the app-ification of the web but maybe we can handle it by linguistically splitting it.

@ethicsperoxide I agree but Reddit *is* an app tho...


I see how they work, when they want to know the current Unix timestamp or convert a date into a Unix timestamp, they google for a webapp, if they want to decode base64 they google for a webapp, and even post sensitive data there. Tracking and ads do not matter.

It's horrible.

@ethicsperoxide Two or three browser engines depending on how you count it, but still *very* concerning... I'm seeing what I can do about it!

But there is something very concerning here! The mindset around "apps" seems to be that they are non-interoperable. The possibility of combining apps in ways not thought of their developers do not occur to normal people, or worse politicians.

That's what we software developers have taught them, it disgusts me, and makes my work harder!

@ethicsperoxide misunderstanding? No, this is a propaganda payoff. The young people understand the propaganda.

@riking @ethicsperoxide yup, just like with the discord "servers" thing

@ethicsperoxide Thanks 🍏

Software terminology. Now everything is an app. Thanks Apple.

@ethicsperoxide Technology will change. It always did. Maybe one of our core problems is trying hard to hold on to what we know rather than embracing and creatively shaping this change. This is one of my biggest pain points with FLOSS in 2010 and beyond. 😑

@ethicsperoxide A lot of young people interact with the via smartphone apps, so it's not surprising. Some (many?) websites even encourage users to add a bookmark on their home screen, allowing them to treat the website like an app. This has no doubt increased with the widespread adoption of responsive web design.

@ethicsperoxide In my bookmark folder "internet" (which was not a good idea), I have a subfolder "applications" (which is no longer a good idea because half of all webpages are applications and much of the rest behaves to partially).

Many systems have a client/app and a web interface.

So I would argue that the difference between web pages and applications is becoming less sharp.

@Marty @ethicsperoxide
I agree that this is what is happening, but I wouldn't call appliances "tools".

It's either a tool or an appliance.
It either does what you want, or what the manufacturer intended.

@ethicsperoxide Really good observation. I wonder if it's because websites are only one of the ways of consuming a service.

Is Netflix a website or an app? Your Browser, TV and smartphone app are using the same backend.

The number of services available as an app first, and website second is growing fast. And this overshadows content that is available only as a website.

@ethicsperoxide And software repositories are called "shops"...

@wolf480pl @ethicsperoxide
Not to quibble. I agree in principle. For me, though, the appliance, the stove, is a tool, to cook. That's why I did not make the distinction. Probably just over-simplification.🤔​