(This article is also available via the short link tomrei.ch/why-html)
When considering design decisions for my homepage, I decided to go with a very basic HTML approach. There are a number of reasons for this.
Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that my reasoning here is very specific to my use-case (which I hope to explain) and is not intended as a critique on the web as it stands today, nor the billions of users who rely on it. The modern web is an awesome feat of engineering, and a properly-designed modern website is a fantastic tool. I spend much of my professional time configuring and developing modern web services and sites, and I do enjoy tinkering with them. That said, for my homepage, I've decided to go with something more basic, and I've outlined some of the reasons below.
Web design in Web 3.0-land feels like a modern version of keeping-up-with-the-Jones'. Trends come and go, but when it comes to the web, they come and go a lot. It's annoying and exhausting. As a software engineer, I have no choice but to keep up with the trends, but for something I do for fun, it just feels like an extra burden without a lot of benefit. Perhaps if my job was as web designer I might be a bit more focused on having a showpiece portfolio site, but I'm happily employed and am more focused on making something functional.
My intent is to focus on content. The words (and perhaps accompanying images/media) are what counts here. Rather than spend my time trying to figure out why an image isn't lining up like I want it to, I'd prefer to focus on the actual topic I'm trying to talk about.
Using server-side technologies always seems to come with tradeoffs. Sometimes it involves a heavy-lift install of an application server (looking at you Java/.NET). Other times it's random, obscure packages that have different names depending on the OS and version of the software (looking at you, PHP). Either way, I don't want to focus a lot of time on these issues. Then there's the security implications. Keeping to basic HTML keeps the attack surface low. I still have plenty of legacy code that I'm still using relies on server-side stuff, so that's not going away completely for me any time soon, but I'm trying to phase some of it out where applicable.
I have a ton of nostalgia for the early days of the Web as I remember it, when it was (figuratively) the wild west, filled mostly with other enthusiasts who were also tinkering and having fun. This is what I aim to do here. If it ever stops being fun and starts being a chore, I will know I'm doing something wrong.