For a while now I’ve been telling people that I want Polypane to be prescriptive, not descriptive. In this article I want to expand on that and explain what I mean when I say “prescriptive”.
WWW is no more!
As you can see (Up there, in your address bar. No really, up there. Look!) I am not using www in my address. In fact, I am actively prohibiting people to use the www. Why? Well, I’ll tell you:
A long, long time ago…
…There was the internet, a nicely arranged group of computer networks. Then, not such an awfully long time ago, they found an actual, mainstream use for it: the World Wide Web (copyright AOL, I presume). Back then it wasn’t as mainstream as it was now, and people needed something to recognize. Back then, you were only cool if you had www. in front of your name. (Seriously, remember how many people would tell you to go to www.altavista? “www.altavista dot what?” “Just www.altavista, ok?!” “Sigh.”)
Times they are a-changin’
Nowadays, the internet (the internet, not the World Wide Web.) is mainstream. Everyone recognizes and remembers an internet address. Browsers automatically add http:// for you, and almost all websites work without www (a bit more on that later). I actually don’t even type www. anymore, and neither should you.
The web is grown up, you see. My grandmother knows how to use the internet (fact), so you should be able to cope too. It’s the time of brand names being automatically linked to websites, so why should I be forced to type www. in front of it? In fact, your browser will find most .com websites by just typing in the part between www. and .com.
All that, and it’s just faster to type. :P
Well, there we go, the buts. The biggest “but” here is ISS. The nice, “free”, web server made by Microsoft. It doesn’t do that non-www trick out of the box. And sadly that’s how most “system administrators” use their ISS: Out of the box.
Most of the time this has the effect of me being sent to the hosting-company’s landing page when I do not add www. in front of the address. Shows the competence of said system admin.
The other is Google. It’s said that Google still differs the www from the non-www versions, but luckily the Google webmaster tools offer the ability to choose which one of the two you want to have indexed.
With a bit of effort both buts can be overcome, and you can have a happy non-www experience.
My main point is just that the web has grown up. It’s become part of our day-to-day lives and we treat it as such. You don’t go around telling people to go to www.example.com, you just tell them to go to example.com. So why not make the actual address example.com?
Do you use www or non-www? Or are you just completely indifferent to the difference? please share your thoughts :)