The Small Web Browser, an inclusive proposal


Almost a year ago, I had some ideas floating around about an alternative to the world wide web, where native executables were downloaded from servers, rather than a mix of HTML, CSS and JS. However, such alternative did not put any care to one of the (IMHO) most serious concerns with the current world wide web: user privacy.

Gemini, on the other hand, preferred to design everything from scratch, effectively excluding web content from Gemini, and vice versa. This was in fact one of the main concerns behind this well-known article.

This had me thinking for a few weeks. While I do think HTTP/1.1 is good enough for most tasks, so that a completely new-from-scratch application layer such as Gemini might feel redundant, there are several aspects from HTTP that I do not particularly like:

There are other aspects from the modern web that I strongly dislike, too:

Of course, it is not that websites are forced to use any of the points above. However, any user would have a hard time filtering websites out following this criteria. Even if browser extensions could be used, these are not standardised and thus might lead to widely different results.

Then, I felt somehow inspired by the Small Tech Foundation, and their intention to provide a truly decentralised web. Unfortunately, even if the Small Web, as defined by the foundation themselves, were successful, it would still be cumbersome for users to figure out which sites do comply with their requirements - more so, considering they mostly define ethical requirements, not technological ones.


Therefore, in an attempt to make an inclusive solution (rather than exclusive, as Marius thought of Gemini), I suggest a new browser, namely the Small Web Browser, with the following design requirements:

And, as key features over existing web browsers:


The Small Web Browser is inclusive, because:

Design goals

Next steps

Because of modern browsers being feature-compatible with a Small Web browser, it should be possible to reuse a more feature-limited yet simpler web browser, in order to create a modified fork that provides a reference implementation for a Small Web browser.

The following points must be considered before taking on the implementation:

Candidate web browsers