Design View | Articles and opinion on design professionalism, technique and culture by Andy Rutledge

Web Wars: May The Source Be With You

November 18, 2006

A long time ago in a domain far, far away…
The war between the Standardista Rebels and The Legacy Empire wages on. The Empire’s armies and spies, led by the evil Kludge Lord Darth Gates, have driven the Standardistas far across MySpace.

Web Wars intro crawl

The Standardista Rebels have established a secret base on the remote domain of The Dark Lord of the Kludge, Darth Gates has sent web crawlers in search of this base and its commander, Luke Wroblewski. While Luke is out browsing around the base, he is locked up and his browser is crashed by a Wampa applet.

Meanwhile, back at the base, the hacker-blogger Håkon Solo announces his intention to leave the Rebels to repay the debt he owes to the vile gangster Digg the Hutt (much to the displeasure of Princess Molly). But after Håkon discovers that Luke has not returned from his browsing patrol, he delays his departure and leaves the base to look for him.

“You will go to the Meyerweb domain. There you will learn from Eric, the Webi master who instructed me.”

After escaping the applet’s control, Luke is overcome by the inline styles of the environment and in a state of shock sees his former mentor, Obi Wan Zeldman, as a 50% opacity image that instructs him to seek more training… “You will go to the Meyerweb domain. There you will learn from Eric, the Webi master who instructed me.” Håkon finally discovers Luke, and they are rescued the following morning.

But the Rebels are discovered, as a web crawler indexes their domain and before being destroyed is able to transmit the IP address of the base to the Legacy fleet. Darth Gates orders an immediate attack while the Rebels set up a login screen and a firewall to prevent the Empire’s bombardment.

The Legacy Empire’s forces eventually overpower the Rebels, crashing their server with a DOS attack, and capture the Rebel base. Håkon Solo, Princess Molly, and their human/markup relations droid W-3C flee on board the Millennium Firefox. However the Firefox’s ActiveX settings are misaligned and it cannot escape the Imperial scripting blockade. During the confusion, they enter a dense array of tabular data: Håkon Solo pilots the Millennium Firefox deeper into the data table, eventually landing inside a massive <include>.

Meanwhile, Luke Wroblewski and his standards droid Wa-SP escape in Luke’s online X-HTML editor, only to crash land on After recovering, Luke meets a wizened, orange-haired little creature who reveals himself to be the wise and powerful Eric, the Webi master who instructed Obi Wan Zeldman.

Back inside the data table…

Hiding out from the Imperial fleet, Håkon Solo and Princess Molly argue with one another while repairing the browser, eventually leading to a tender kiss. However, they are forced to escape what they thought was an <include>, but was actually the <asp: ControlParameter /> tag of a gigantic StoredProcedure living inside a cross-joined database. This leads to another pursuit through MySpace and another failure of the Firefox’s ActiveX controls, but Håkon is a clever hacker and they elude capture. He then sets course for a tag cloud city; a news mining colony run by Håkon’s old friend, Lando Mikedavidson.

On, Luke undergoes Eric’s rigorous lessons about the semantic nature of The Source. During his training, Luke detects Håkon and Molly’s presence in his referrer logs, and senses that they’re in danger and being subjected to <blink> tags. Luke wants to rescue them, but Eric and the 50% opacity image of Obi Wan Zeldman warn of the dangers of rashly leaving, because Luke is still susceptible to the powerful temptation of WYSIWYG, the dark side of The Source. Luke leaves anyway, but promises to return to continue his training.

Upon arrival at the tag cloud city news mine, Håkon Solo and his party are welcomed by Lando Mikedavidson, who agrees to have their browser repaired. Lando invites them all to dinner, where they are greeted and captured by none other than Darth Gates himself. It seems that Lando had to conspire with the Legacy Empire in order to keep them from invading his enterprise.

Later, aboard the medical frigate while Luke is being fitted with a new Wii, he’s thinking, no friggin’ way is Darth Gates my father.

In captivity, Håkon Solo and the Princess are systematically tortured with deprecated tags and misused tables in order to lure Luke Wroblewski to the tag cloud city. Darth Gates orders a <frame> page prepared to capture Luke, holding him in a state of apoplectic shock for transport to the Emperor. The process is tested on Håkon, who before being encased in <frame> tags, is told by Molly that she loves him. After the framing process, the now encased Håkon is turned over to Scoble Fett the mercenary blogger, who intends to return his quarry to Digg the Hutt for a large reward.

Meanwhile, Luke arrives at the tag cloud city. He goes to find his friends and runs into Darth Gates. A Wii vs. Xbox duel ensues. Darth yanks the plug on Luke’s Wii controller and Luke screams in agony. Just as Darth Gates is about to claim victory, he tells Luke that he didn’t kill Luke’s father... “No, …I am your father!”

Luke screams in denial. Gates tries to persuade Luke to join him and embrace the dark side of The Source. Luke completely freaks out and Ctrl+Alt+Deletes (twice), escaping the tag cloud.

While escorting their prisoners, Gates’ Imperial developers are captured by Lando’s private security force, who set Lando and the others free. Lando insists that there’s still time to save Håkon. Along the way they meet up with Wa-SP, who joins them. The group pursues Scoble Fett and Håkon’s <frame>d body through the tag cloud city, but arrive just as the blogger’s browser leaves for another domain. Then, in a desperate chase, Princess Molly, Lando, and their two droids make their escape on the Millennium Firefox .

While trying to get away from the news mining colony, Molly receives a DM tweet from Luke and hones in on his IP address. She and Lando find that Luke has rebooted and is barely functioning. They save luke and are once again in MySpace, being pursued by Darth Gates’s flagship, the InternetExplorer 8. During their flight, Wa-SP repairs the Firefox’s ActiveX settings and the heroes are finally able to escape.

Later, aboard the medical frigate while Luke is being fitted with a new Wii, he’s thinking, no friggin’ way is Darth Gates my father. But Luke detects Darth Gates' styles in his CSS and somehow, he knows…

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This is not over.

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This parody was based on the Wikipedia synopsis entry for The Empire Strikes Back.