Web 3.14159...

Welcome to the irrational part of the web.

This document introduces the notion of "Web 3.14159..." websites and how to distinguish them from mere "Web 2.0" sites.

If you are humour-impaired, you might want to read the disclaimer. Twice.

Before you even think about starting...

The terms "Web 3.14159...", "Web Pi" and "Web π" can be used interchangeably.

π was used as a version number for many reasons: It is irrational (just like "Web 2.0"), ubiquitous, widely celebrated and quite delicious.

That's more than one can say about "Web 2.0".

What's this all about?

Surely, all of you will be familiar with the term "Web 2.0". Everybody seems to know something about it, be it analysts, journalists or any other profession that ends with "st".

Although the people at wikipedia try to define the term "Web 2.0", in my opinion, the term "Web 2.0" shares more aspects with buzz words than with meaningful definitions.

Additionally, there are some emerging trends of this whole "Web 2.0" thingy-dingy that I deem to be potentially dangerous. Among these are:

  1. The rise of sites and services that are in a perpetual "Beta" status. This is nothing but a lame excuse to leave testing to the end users. Either give it a version number and accept that users might complain if something does not work or do not release the product for the general public at all. Hiding behind the "Beta" construct for a long period of time is a very, very bad way of treating users (because you cannot be held liable for any quirks; after all, it was declared "Beta"...).

  2. A slowly vanishing construct formerly known as "privacy". In Web 2.0, everyone knows what you did last summer (because there are these photos, you know, uploaded by a well-meaning friend, you know, the guy you met at this party with, like, all the green hair and stuff). People tend to expose themselves without being aware of the consequences.

  3. The idea that form is much more important than content. The very idea that, no matter how useless your product is, people will love it if it looks great and "Web 2.0"-like (whatever that means, but I am repeating myself).

  4. Storing everything online. Doing everything online. "XYZ as a service". This leads to companies doing collaboration using products hosted by 3rd-party companies. The integrity of their data might be compromised (not to mention any backups), but who cares, as long as it works? In addition, it undermines fundamental concepts of IT security: If you store confidential documents on a server that is not your own, you will not be able to control their propagation.

  5. Vendor lock-in. You offer a great service but do not want to lose users (whether they are paying or not) to your competitors. So you make switching from your platform to another very hard. Suddenly, you do not wish to offer the service anymore. Now your former users can say goodbye to your data. This is most annoying with DRM stuff. If only I got some small amount of money for every DRM project that died, leaving (paying!) customers standing there with next to nothing (read: useless data, unplayable music files) on their hard disks. Great.

Finally, there are some things that are mere by-products of the whole trend:

  1. All "cool" services must use some sort of creative spelling: flickr, tumblr.

  2. The notion that the more interesting a website is, the more scripts have to be used. Don't worry about security...

  3. "Technologies used on the website equal success". For crying out loud, why do I have to use a broadband connection just to take a look at a table of products? Or a listing of your contact address? Or your support section?

What can I do about it?

It's simple: Join the ranks of the "Web 3.14159..." community! We condemn the lax usage of the term "Web 2.0". We despise the use of unnecessary tools for a job. We hate websites that demand more processing power and bandwidth than the whole LHC. We are on a parody crusade.

Am I ready for this?

There is an easy test to find out whether YOU might need to join the "Web 3.14159..." community. If you think "I agree" about more than three of these statements, you should definitely sign up. Metaphorically speaking.

  1. Google might say "Don't be evil", but they are just as profit-oriented as every company. I would not trust them with all my data and I think that people who embrace the idea of using Google products for everything should think twice. Better thrice.

  2. Webmasters who use Flash for a simple website navigation without offering any alternatives should be shown the errors of their ways by forcing them to use Lynx on a 80x25 console for a week.

  3. Whoso locketh out users of alternative browsers by checking for a browser identification shalt be sent back to 1998.

  4. Social network sites are a nice thing, but there is no need for an excessive soul striptease just because I can enter so many things about myself, upload photos of the things I do at parties and add the videos of me doing doing the photos of the things I do at parties. Furthermore, uploading stuff that show other people doing things at parties is a no-no.

  5. Loading 5MiBs just to take a look at a listing of product specifications is a waste of the user's time.

  6. And thus spoke Zarathustra: "Lo and behold not too much, for content mattereth more than design."

  7. If I ever see another headline titled "XYZ 2.0" in the media I am going to wreak havoc. We get it: "2.0" refers to a previously unknown and/or vastly expanded concept. Please don't rub this in our faces every time!

Is my website ready for this?

Sure. Since this is a parody site, even websites that are mentioned in the ramblings above may term themselves "Web 3.14149..."-compliant or -ready, thus at least demonstrating some humour. Keep in mind that this is not to be taken seriously.


Great. Just download one of these buttons to show your support. If you do not like these, make your own and sent it to me. It would be my pleasure to establish a gallery of creative designs.

Simply set them up somewhere on your homepage. If you want so, you can link to this page, but it's also fine if you simply set up your own subdomain and copy this text or write a similar one so that people know what you are talking about.

Web 3.14159... logo, default version Web 3.14159... logo, green version
Web Pi logo, W3C style

Obligatory disclaimer

Please don't take this too serious. I know that not all websites out there are participating in the hype. I also do not, by any means, want to diminuish the accomplishments of companies who do participate. I am furthermore well aware of good uses for the new technologies that arose during the last few years.

Let me stress this again for the humour-impaired:

This is a parody site, for Pete's sake. If you do not agree with something you read here, just move on.