This is a collection, with accompanying reviews, of websites that are – in one way or another, more or less – surprisingly compatible with JavaScript-free web surfing. Not necessarily exceptionally compatible, but relatively so.

You too can browse the world wide web free from JavaScript, using either one of the browser extensions NoScript and uMatrix.

This page is a work in progress and will be updated continually.

Lobste.rs

Lobsters generally does a lot to facilitate for non-JavaScript users. When compared to Reddit and Hacker News, Lobsters is in a league of its own, even if it isn’t totally perfect yet.

The good

Lobsters comment

The button for collapsing comments ([-] or [+]) does not depend on JavaScript. Internally, it is a label for a checkbox, whose status decides the visibility of the comment via clever CSS.

Lobsters title/tags suggestion form

The interface for suggesting changes to a post is a great example of combining the best of both worlds. Above, you see the NoScript-compatible interface, and below is the JavaScript-enabled version:

Lobsters title/tags suggestion form with JavaScript

The could-be-better

Lobsters post

  • The upvote button requires JavaScript – this wouldn’t be difficult to fix.
  • The flag button requires JavaScript – this would be a little harder to fix.
  • The hide and save buttons seem to require JavaScript.

GitHub

GitHub is a bit of a mixed bag. It requires JavaScript in cases where it really shouldn’t be necessary – like for displaying the latest commit message – and yet it works fine without it in cases where extremely few other sites do.

Clone or download menu

Delightfully, the most important feature – cloning – is accessible entirely without JavaScript, for which we have well-written HTML to thank: instead of wasting time on fragile JavaScript code, GitHub correctly uses the <details> element, in conjunction with <summary>, to let the browser implement the show/hide behavior for them.

This pattern is used also for the “watch” button’s dropdown menu, as well as for the editable repository description field.

“Watch” and “star” buttons

When JavaScript is disabled, GitHub handles it gracefully by making the “watch” and “star” buttons normal links.