Improve your web experience by turning Javascript off

October 11, 2005

One of the best things I've ever done to improve my web browsing experience is very simple: I turned Javascript off almost from its introduction.

Turning Javascript off has a host of benefits, because Javascript on web pages has always been primarily used either for evil or for flashy, distracting user interface elements. With it off I avoid all of that, including popups and links that hide where they're actually going to. Among other advantages, this makes it much less nerve-wracking to go to strange new websites.

I'm not a purist about this; if a website has content I want to see that needs Javascript, I'll turn it back on. This happens much less than you might think; most websites are not all that dependent on whatever Javascript they may have running around. With the PrefBar extension, enabling and disabling Javascript is a snap for Mozilla and Firefox users; a keystroke to bring the PrefBar toolbar up, a click of a tickbox, and a page refresh and you're done.

(People less obsessed then me with leaving as much space as possible for the web page text can leave the PrefBar toolbar up all the time.)

Even if you think you use lots of websites that require Javascript, install PrefBar and give it a try; you may be pleasantly surprised how little you really need Javascript after all. And even if it doesn't work out, you'll have a quick way to disable Javascript before you visit a website that you don't trust.

Written on 11 October 2005.
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Last modified: Tue Oct 11 00:18:17 2005
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