A new web tool has made it possible to format an entire website as a URL string, but it’s such a different way of making websites that even its creator doesn’t know what people might end up using it for.
That’s especially surprising when you consider its creator, Nicholas Jitkoff, is a former designer at Google and current vice president at Dropbox, but it speaks to what a strange creation this really is.
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The service, called ‘Itty Bitty’, works by compressing html data using the Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain algorithm and then encoding it using base64. What you’re left with is a string of letters and numbers that can then be stored in a single URL string like this.
Here’s a much more thorough explanation of the process.
Yes, it looks like a complete mess, but what the string accomplishes is hiding an entire web page in a fragment that your browser is able to understand and decode without any data needing to be sent to a server.
Obviously, you’re not able to host nearly the same amount of content as on a regular website. At its minimum you can store around 2KB of data, but if you use a service such as Twitter or Slack to send a link, then you could have as much as 4KB to play with. Storing the site as a QR code limits you to just over 2KB.
Yes, it’s restrictive, but the results have a lot of potential. You can get almost any text content you want into a website that can be freely and privately shared with anyone without having to rely on hosting from a third-party service. The project has also been hosted on GitHub in case anyone wants to tinker on it or port it themselves.
For now, Jitkoff thinks people could use the tool for poetry, really long Tweets, and domain redirecting, but we wouldn’t be surprised if people end up using it for a whole lot more.
What do you think the future holds for Itty Bitty sites? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook @TrustedReviews.