Javascript is compulsory on Firefox

The internet appears to have evolved past the days when it was possible to view a web page using only HTML.

Firefox 23, currently in beta, has removed the option to disable JavaScript which means that users will have to run it by default.

While Mozilla isn’t making much of a fuss about about the change, it is fairly significant.

When the world wide wibble first got off the ground a browser was only interested in using HTML.

JavaScript and CSS appeared on the scene but it was still possible to view the web without JavaScript. In fact many developers adopted the line that JavaScript should only be used for webpage enhancement. It was a training philosophy which insisted that anyone who was visiting a page with the Javascript turned off should still be able to see it.

All this has changed with the heavy development of web apps and things have reached a point where developers are saying that visiting a page with Javascript off is as silly as trying to consume it without HTML.

The problem really is about things like privacy. Having Javascript enabled means that you cannot really get to a site without having tons of code thrown at you. Some of this could be telling the world plus dog about your browsing habits.

Mozilla, which for years has been the tool of choice for the more open saucey, opting for Javascript by default means that it no longer thinks this privacy fear is sustainable. It is better that user options are reduced to stop applications breaking.

Mozilla had the problem that people were clicking “disable Javascript” options on Firefox and then visiting sites where it was needed and finding everything was broken.

This might equally hack off those experienced users who switch off Javascript and know what they are doing.

As the web developer Ian Elliot pointed out here, it does mean that an internet where you could rely on Javascript being switched on would be simpler.