. Fabulous Text Only Websites, 2018 Edition

Rick Carlino

Personal blog of FarmBot co-founder Rick Carlino.

Covering Open Source news, history and best practices.

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Fabulous Text Only Websites, 2018 Edition

The Text-Only Web

Below is a collection of websites that work nicely on text-based web browsers. All websites were loaded and rendered in Lynx.

Lynx, Aye?

Lynx is a terminal-based, text-only web browser. It is one of the oldest browsers under active development, first released in 1992. It maintains cross-platform support on OSes such as Linux, Windows, Mac, and even MS-DOS.

Lynx does not have the bells and whistles of modern browsers, but it is a useful tool for quickly extracting information from the web. Additionally, it successfully thwarts 100% of “View in App” modal dialogs.

Seriously?

I don’t expect you to delete Chrome or Firefox after reading this article. If you’ve never explored the text-based web before, I hope it at least challenges your assumptions about content delivery on the web.

Text browsers offer a fast, no-frills experience on any device, including your TI-83+ graphing calculator. They also come in handy over SSH or on legacy hardware that does not support graphical output.

Below is a list of sites that work great on text-based browsers. It is a perfect starting point for those wishing to give text-based browsing a try.

Full disclosure: I maintain applications that heavily rely on Javascript. Yes, you caught me.

wttr.in

Local weather reports right from your terminal. Link

lite.cnn.com

Displays CNN news articles. Unlike CNN.com, this version loads quickly and does not auto-play videos when I’m on a busy train. Link

text.npr.org

By far my favorite example of a text-only website. Link

Google

DuckDuckGo

A privacy-conscious search engine that is Lynx conscious as well. Link

RickCarlino.Com

My personal blog. In this case, my disdain for fancy stylesheets and excess scripting finally paid off. The site loads well on older browsers.

Textfiles.com

Textfiles is an archive of documents from the BBS era of the ‘80s and early '90s when ASCII roamed free. Jason Scott, if you’re reading this, I love your work.

Link

Archive.org

Link

Wikipedia

Link

Hacker News

Link

Lobsters

Link

Further Reading

This blog entry was inspired by an influx of articles and sites discussing bloat on the modern web.

Here are some of my favorite finds: