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The Web Isn't Exciting Anymore -- It's Merely Plumbing

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ERASE AND REWIND A tale of innovation and impatience CHRIS HEILMANN (@CODEPO8), OPEN WEB CAMP, SAN JOSE, 2015


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The Levellers - Dance before the Storm


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WE ARE HERE AT THE OPEN WEB CAMP, WHICH IS ABOUT A FEW DREAMS I TRIED TO MAKE SURE COME TRUE OVER THE LAST YEARS.


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SIMPLE DREAMS, GOOD DREAMS THAT PEOPLE CAN BENEFIT FROM… ✓ Maintainability ✓ Accessibility ✓ Predictability ✓ Flexibility ✓ Extensibility


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WE, WHO WEAR THE BATTLE SCARS OF THE MEMORY OF PRE-HTML5 AND CSS DAYS SEE SIMPLE SOLUTIONS… ✓ Stick to web standards ✓ Bet on the open web ✓ Practice your craft ✓ Question everything and don’t assume functionality ✓ If it has no URL, and can’t be view-sourced or crawled, don’t trust it - it is faux web.


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AND, OF COURSE WE HAD AN OLD ENEMY THAT IS EASILY TO BLAME FOR ANYTHING…


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I GOT SO ANNOYED WITH THIS, THAT I TOOK DRASTIC MEASURES…


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I JOINED MICROSOFT TO HELP WITH ONE VERY IMPORTANT FIX THE WEB VERY MUCH NEEDED…


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THE PLAN WAS SIMPLE: BURN IE AND LET A NEW BROWSER EMERGE FROM THE ASHES…


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✘ ✘ THE IDEA WAS TO GET RID OF ALL THE BAD IDEAS OF THE PAST… VML attachEvent() ✘ currentStyle ✘ X-UA-Compatible (render modes) ✘ IE Layout Quirks ✘ VBScript ✘ Conditional Comments ✘ MS-Prefixed Events


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AND REPLACE THEM WITH YUMMY GOODNESS.


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THERE ARE MANY WEBS, IT SEEM…


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EXPERIMENTAL? PROBABLY SAFE TO USE… before after -webkit-appearance: none before after -webkit-gradient


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COPY + PASTE BEATS VALIDATION? <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=utf-8" /> <meta charset="utf-8"> ✔ <meta charset=“utf8"> ✘ > 600k times in use on GitHub! https://github.com/search?l=html&q=charset+%22UTF8%22&ref=searchresults&type=Code&utf8=%E2%9C%93


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✓ ✓ THINGS I LEARNED WORKING FOR BROWSER MAKERS It is a constant race not to break the web - every mistake web developers make needs to get catered for. The pressure is immense. Instead of pushing for an interoperable web, browsers are constantly compared and expected to be different. ✓ When implementing standards, we find a lot of problems and feed them back. That’s why a score of 100% in feature tests makes no sense. ✓ Most speed increases are based on analysing and fixing developer mistakes/sloppiness.


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BACK TO WHAT WE DO HERE…


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MOST OF THE BEST PRACTICES WE CELEBRATE HERE ARE PROMISES.


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THE BIGGEST THING WE PROMISE PEOPLE IS LONGEVITY AND RE-USE OF THEIR WORK.


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The web is not binary, one or zero, on or off. It’s not a platform where you get one hundred per cent or zero per cent. It’s this continuum. The web is not a platform. It’s a continuum. – Jeremy Keith https://adactio.com/journal/6692


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✓ The web is not a platform. It’s a continuum. – Jeremy Keith 100% true ✓ Deep, future-focused thinking ✓ Insightful ✓ Inspiring ✓ Techno hippie horseshit


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OUR PROMISES OF NOW AND FUTURE SUCCESS AND EVERLASTING RE-USE ARE NOT AN INCENTIVE ANY LONGER…


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WHY IS THAT?


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THE WEB ISN’T EXCITING ANY MORE - IT IS PLUMBING.


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THE COOL, NEW AND EXCITING THINGS AREN’T WEB TECHNOLOGY BASED.


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COMPUTING CHANGED AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PLATFORM WORKS ON OTHER PRINCIPLES THAN THE WEB.


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MOBILE HAS BEEN SOLD TO US AND BY US AS TOTALLY DIFFERENT • The app is a much better form factor than web sites with URLs • Everything needs to work offline • Everything needs to be much simpler interfaces - people are busy and on the road • Every app should take full advantage over what the operating system and hardware offers


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THE BIGGEST THING THE WEB NEEDS TO MATCH IS MAKING MONEY.


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✓ REGARDLESS OF HYPED NUMBERS, MOBILE NATIVE PLATFORMS ALLOW YOU TO MAKE MONEY… Mobile native platforms have a monetisation plan that is not “show some ads” ✓ It is incredibly easy to spend money on iOS ✓ There is no preconception that “everything is free” ✓ Releasing on iOS means you target an affluent audience. ✓ Payments for upgrades are a normal thing


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✘ WE ARE STILL FAR, FAR AWAY FROM BEING ABLE TO DELIVER THAT…


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TROUBLE WITH THE MOBILE WEB… www.theverge.com/2015/7/20/9002721/the-mobile-web-sucks


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TROUBLE WITH THE MOBILE WEB… www.theverge.com/2015/7/20/9002721/the-mobile-web-sucks


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ON MOBILE, THE DECK IS STACKED AGAINST THE WEB…


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ON MOBILE, THE DECK IS STACKED AGAINST THE WEB… • Browsers are hard-wired and update with operating systems . • Browsers are built by many different players, all with an own agenda. • The more you control the experience, the more competitive you are.


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EVEN FEATURE DETECTION DOESN’T SAVE US…


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION • This is just a fad, it will go away. • If we build our own operating system based on HTML5, the others will learn from that and embrace it more. • Surely the simplicity of web standards and the amazing value of Microformats and properly structured HTML will never cease to amaze new developers. ACCEPTANCE


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE


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DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING IT IS THE FAULT OF THE USERS! DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE They do all the things wrong like using outdated browsers or turning off JavaScript!


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DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING IT IS THE FAULT OF THE CLIENTS! DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE They only want crap and nothing exciting that pushes the envelope!


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DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING IT IS THE FAULT OF THE TOOL CREATORS! DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE We need to match what native has in terms of tooling and then we all can ride unicorns and have ice cream!


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DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING IT IS THE FAULT OF THE BROWSER MAKERS! DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE They just don’t innovate quickly enough to match what mobile can do!


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION • Let’s build a stop phone gap solution - one that is designed to become redundant to show mobile OS makers that the web is ready if only it had access to hardware capabilities. • Let’s define lots of APIs and form expert groups - surely these will be embraced an implemented by OS providers instead of coming up with their own ones! • Let’s inject browsers with our apps into the platform (crosswalk-project.org). This worked wonders with Chromeframe and Internet Explorer. ACCEPTANCE


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION • Let’s concede defeat - we can never match what native offers, and never innovate as fast. • Let’s consider a new career - goat farming, for example, sounds like a great investment. • Let’s try to find recognition elsewhere - maybe in a smaller group of people who care about what I do. ACCEPTANCE


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THE FIVE STAGES OF MOURNING FOR THE OPEN WEB IN A MOBILE WORLD. DENIAL ANGER BARGAINING DEPRESSION • Maybe this is just another form factor - and we could use our time to care for the web that is instead. • Maybe there is space for more than one form factor - just maybe. I mean, crazier things have happened, like multiple ways to use a road. • Maybe this is a time to reflect and improve what we have after all, there is a lot that needs fixing? ACCEPTANCE


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THE WEB IS DESIGNED TO WORK INDEPENDENT OF HARDWARE, SOFTWARE, ABILITY OR LOCATION.


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SPIRIT ANIMAL: PLATYPUS?


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MORE LIKE: HYRAX


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THE WEB IS FULL OF RUBBISH, TIME TO CLEAN IT UP INSTEAD OF ADDING MORE…


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✘ THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE HAVE LOST OUR VOICE AND FOCUS. Innovation happens a lot in browsers and in a very experimental fashion ✘ A lot is purely engineering driven and relies on a lot of abstractions ✘ The starting point for developers became much more complex ✘ It is a full-time job to keep up with JavaScript/platform innovation ✘ Business reasons trump user experience.


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PRIORITIES OF CONSTITUENCIES… “ In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity. In other words costs or difficulties to the user should be given more weight than costs to authors; which in turn should be given more weight than costs to implementors; which should be given more weight than costs to authors of the spec itself, which should be given more weight than those proposing changes for theoretical reasons alone. Of course, it is preferred to make things better for multiple constituencies at once. http://www.w3.org/TR/html-design-principles/#priority-of-constituencies


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ENOUGH WITH THE EMPTY PROMISES • The web is a given now - people don’t care for it as much as we did in the past. • This means that what we offer as solutions need to have immediate benefits - not a glorious future that might never come. • We should analyse some of our best practices. Sure, backwards compatibility means we never break the web. But we also carry ballast with us. • People will use what is the most simple first, then the things that are the right thing to do. Let’s offer simplicity.


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ENOUGH WITH THE CONSTANT CRITICISM • Let’s analyse the reasons why someone violated our best practices. • The squeaky wheel gets the oil, it also gets replaced when it keeps squeaking • If the fix of the thing we criticise doesn’t yield any overall benefit, we won’t reach people at all. • Sometimes the web can be the wrong solution


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LOVE AND PASSION TRUMPS EVERYTHING…


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LOVE COMES IN MANY FORMS… • Understanding - our world has become much more competitive and mainstream. We who care about the web should help newcomers calm down and see its flexibility as an opportunity. • Patience - we will see the same mistakes being made over and and over again. Maybe this is a right of passage, and beneficial as a learning exercise. • Kindness - it is easy to criticise and simple to point out a flaw. It is more rewarding to connect personally and ask for the reasons and offer a solution.


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LOVE COMES IN MANY FORMS… • Interest - what makes people not go for open web solutions? What is the thing the alternatives give them? • Openness - we never stop learning. Maybe some of the things that sound ludicrous at first can become a great idea with some tweaking. • Sharing - many things we consider a given got forgotten. Time to remind people. You start teaching, you end up learning. • Courage - we hear far too much from the loudest and the most known. If you feel strongly about something, speak up and tell us. We need new, fresh voices!


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Selfie Stick group: j0sh (www.pixael.com) https://www.flickr.com/photos/87690240@N03/16322726941/ Stick and Carrot: Alan O’Rourke https://www.flickr.com/photos/33524159@N00/17233999165 Skip by Denna Jones https://www.flickr.com/photos/95267793@N00/2336623192 Pencil with rubber: Hometown Beauty https://www.flickr.com/photos/73834369@N07/8408943093/ THANK YOU! Stick, Carrot and heart: opensourceway https://www.flickr.com/photos/47691521@N07/5537457133/ CHRIS HEILMANN Goat: Chris Samuel https://www.flickr.com/photos/94482242@N00/56574260/ @CODEPO8 Hyrax: Wikioedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrax Platypus: BioDivLibrary https://www.flickr.com/photos/61021753@N02/6260709968/ Return key: vapour trail https://www.flickr.com/photos/54433196@N00/2765254958/


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