The Web is pretty great with Javascript turned off

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“ The best method for accelerating a computer is the one that boosts it by 9.8 m/s2. ”

  • Anonymous

NoScript may be a bit inconvenient to use at times, but it does a wonderful job of making today’s Web bearable. I haven’t put it on my phone yet, though (Firefox on Android), but I think I might do so, just because even with an ad blocker the crap is getting to be too much.


NoScript has a whitelist?

Why did I not know this?


It’s intrinsic to the functionality Hit the button and it shows you a list of all the domains running scripts. You can enable them temporarily or permanently. You can also export all your settings to a .txt and install it on another device.


Everything bad about today’s web (at least in useability) can be traced back to bad JS.

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We’d never have gone the all-Javascript-all-the-time route if they hadn’t killed the <blink> tag.


I’ve been using NoScript on Firefox for quite a while, starting when certain websites became unusable because of overly intrusive and/or broken scripts. Being able to run just the scripts necessary for basic site functionality (and not advertising or tracking) helps improve the browsing experience enormously. I do find there’s very few sites that are usable with all scripts turned off, however. And one problem I find is that certain websites are inaccessible even with all their scripts allowed - somehow they still end up with the most basic functionality broken and won’t load, but that’s only been a couple sites.


As tempting as it might seem to blame Javescript itself, I think the real problem is pages connecting people to other sites without the user’s permission. Somehow, it seems like an uphill battle to convince people about how rude I think this is. It’s like a cabbie giving you a tour of their favorite places while doing their errands before they finally bring you to your destination.


Yep. I’ve hit those too. Where even temporarily setting it to “Allow All Globally” won’t load the page properly. Can’t figure out for the life of me why it happens.

(On the other hand, I have discovered at least one local paper whose paywall is entirely dependent on you having JS enabled. I actually didn’t even know they had a paywall until I turned on JS one day and was told that I’d passed my article limit for the month. :laughing: )


Man, what does it say about me that I get an obnoxious pop-up ad about once a month, and a delayed autoplay video maybe once a week (looking at you, Weather Underground)? Do you people spend all your time online reading the Daily Mail or something?

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On the web of today, trying to rein in Javascript is a great way to inflict pain on yourself. But if, like me, you are a geek who finds it to be worth the trouble, and if you use Chrome, you should install the uMatrix plugin. Once you figure out how it works, it’s great.

Here’s a screenshot to intimidate you out of using it:


That’s a negative way to think about it. A more positive spin might be to sell people upon why they should put up with it. How does massive site scripting benefit the average person? This is where things get interesting.

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Adblock Plus has an extension where you can specifically block certain elements on a website from loading. I’d like to see this for javascript.

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Thanks for the link Cory! I turned JavaScript back on because there was no way that I could find to whitelist extensions in Chrome, which is a big headache for me. Some extensions work fine, but a lot don’t, and it seems to be an all or nothing proposition, unfortunately. I’m thinking about switching to Firefox, which has the added benefit of being actually open source as opposed to “open core” like Chrome, but that’s a non-trivial decision for me.

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I too also use and became fond of NoScript. I find that enabling HTTPS scripts globally helps with quite a bit, especially with HTTPS Everywhere installed with regards to site functionality. There are very few sites in which I enable JavaScript for now aside from the BBS, Amazon, NaNoWriMo, and some local sites, but I do agree. The difference made installing it worth it.

Side note…

Are there any add-ons, aside from NoScript, that might have caused this issue? I know someone from the Mozilla Support forums mentioned that Privacy Badger can break some sites–in my case, I couldn’t listen to clips from the CBC because of a particular tracker. Not sure about similar extensions though.

For sites that are non-functional without JavaScript, I propose calling them js-sites instead of web-sites. One that Boing Boing uses,, is one of them.

Whenever someone in my organization proposes breaking the web by turning our into site a js-site, I point them to sites that provide basic functionality without JavaScript:,, etc… ( formerly worked without JS, it displays content but their basic navigation is borked now.)


Using NoScript is fine when you whitelist your regular sites but it became too painful for everyday use when identifying the good and bad JS of new pages.

The day I realized I could use Adblock to remove the “Trending” feature on Facebook was a good day.


Explicitly blacklisting [“mark as untrusted”] sites helps with that, since you can temporarily enable scripts on new pages without loading ones that you know are useless trackers.

The fact that there are mainly a small number of commonly used ad/“customer analytics” companies means you quite quickly build up a list of blacklisted sites that’s useful 90% of the time.