Sites v. Apps: A Reverie

Websites and web apps: a dichotomy that lives in a fantasy world of well-defined forms of content delivered over the web.

The document. The application.

These are predetermined, prescriptive shapes that are packaged up and delivered as generic solutions to specific problems.

We get to worrying about these shapes before we produce any content or write any code.

We feel the burden of these formal shapes pressing on us, even though there is no such intrinsic classification.

We want to believe websites and web apps are formulaic. That they’re governed and shaped by rules. That they’re genres.

But genres are meaningless here. They are methods of categorization for broad generalizations.

Nonetheless, we somehow believe the genre we choose dictates the way we write code, structure programs, adopt tooling, and ultimately deliver value to human beings.

It’s as if the genre has a roadmap. We need merely chose the right genre, and the path to success will unfold before us.

The genre of a URL doesn’t matter. Forget about classification.

Keep open possibilities unbounded by genre and you can create anything for the web. Classifications unnecessary.