Allen Wirfs-Brock (Mozilla)
Allen is a Mozilla Research Fellow and was the project editor for the ECMAScript 5/5.1 standard.
Allen started off his talk by illustrating the two major eras in computing, the corporate computing era and the personal computing era. A major shift in computing happened in the late 70s and early 80s, where the shift to personal computers radically changed the nature of computing. Currently, we are undergoing another significant shift to what could be called the “ambient computing” era. Ambient computing has the characteristics of being device based rather than computers and being ubiquitous.
Every computing era had a dominant application platform. The dominant platform emerged as the winner through a combination of market demand, good enough technical foundation and superior business execution. The dominant platform for the corporate computing era was IBM mainframes. In the personal computing era, the dominant platform was the combination of Microsoft Windows and Intel PC (much lovingly called Wintel). In the emerging ambient computing era, it is becoming clear that the new application platform will be the web.
The Future of the Mobile Web Platform
Tobie Langel (Facebook)
Facebook recently launched ringmark, a test suite aimed to accelerate the adoption of HTML5 across mobile devices and provide a common bar for implementations of the mobile web standards. Ringmark provides a series of concentric rings, where each ring is a suite of tests for testing mobile web app capabilities. There are currently three rings, however the intention is to continue the project by adding more rings as the capabilities of mobile devices increase.
Ring 0 is designed as the intersection of the current state of iOS and Android and 30% of the top 100 native mobile applications can be implemented using ring 0 capabilities.
Ring 1 includes features such as image capture, indexDB and AppCache. Browsers implementing ring 1 should be able to cater to 90% of the most popular native applications, most of which actually don’t or need utilize advanced device capabilities such as 3D. Tobie highlighted that getting ubiquitous ring 1 support should be the short term goal for mobile browser vendors and developers to drive mobile web adoption.
Ring 2 will fill the gap with the final 10% of applications, with things like WebGL, Web Intents and permissions. Ring 2 is aimed to be a longer term goal.
Lack of standards for mobile web applications when it comes discoverability or manifest files was also mentioned as one of the hurdles that mobile web needs to overcome. It will be exciting to see how fast we will be able to reach there.
The Future Is Integrated: A Coherent Vision For Web API Evolution
Alex Russell (Google)
Slides (Built with HTML5!)
Alex is a TC-39 representative for Google and is also a member of the Chrome team. One of Alex’s missions has been to drive the web platform forward. He is as frustrated as the rest of us developers with the current state of fragmented support and slow progress.
new HTMLElement() whereas it would be very useful for many scenarios.
As web applications have increased in complexity, the disconnect between application data and the browser model has grown making web development painful. The developers have been trying to solve this using frameworks such as Backbone.js, however they are not perfect. Alex outlined two proposals to W3C that seek to make web development easier.
Shadow DOM is a way to create web components by a browser provided API. Modern browsers include native controls, such as the standard HTML form components. These built in controls are isolated from the rest of the page and are only accessible through whatever API they expose. There is currently no API to create third party components with the same strong encapsulation enjoyed by the native components.
The other proposal is Model-driven Views which reminded me a lot of how Knockout.js works. MDV provides a way to build data driven, dynamic web pages through data binding and templating via native browser support.
Also interesting, but didn’t get the chance to attend:
Mobile, HTML5 and the cross-platform promise