The Final Frontier

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In 2010, a photo-sharing startup launched—on a single, closed platform. Over the next two years, it gained over 100 million active users, before being acquired by Facebook for one. billion. dollars.

Only half a year after *that* did they finally release a web app.

Instagram's main purpose was sharing photos and commenting on them. If this isn't a perfect fit for the open web platform, I don't know what is. And yet the app was planted neatly within Apple's walled garden, without even an API to speak of. How did things go so wrong?

The web needs to catch up, and fast. If we want to preserve all the virtues of the web—shareable URLs, indexable content, open standards, instantly deployed updates, and so on—then we need to make the web platform more attractive, both to developers and users. We need to explore the final frontier of web development: *true* web apps, of the kind that will delight our users (and our investors). But we're not quite there … yet.

In this talk, I want to explore the efforts underway to bring the web platform up to speed as a genuine competitor. We have the most momentum of any platform in history, but there are still many unanswered questions. What are the major functionality gaps, and how are we closing them? Can we make app development as easy for web as it is for native? How do we fix mobile performance? Can you even use a web app while you're offline? I want to tell you about that not-too-distant future where these problems have been solved. Editors are speccing up new APIs; implementers are leveling up their browsers; and the community is building new frameworks. Together, we're slowly but surely pushing into that final frontier. And once we're past it, the mobile web will be a natural choice for the next big content-sharing app, enabling us to share by simply sending a URL—from any browser, to any device, on any platform.

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The Final Frontier

  1. 1. THE FINAL FRONTIER by @domenic
  2. 2. WHY WEB APPS? • Open standards with multiple implementations • Unique trust model allowing unrestricted browsing • Complete developer control
  3. 3. "When I'm introspective about the last few years I think the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native... because it just wasn't there.
  4. 4. "When I'm introspective about the last few years I think the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native... because it just wasn't there. "And it's not that HTML5 is bad. I'm actually, on long-term, really excited about it. One of the things that's interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined. So mobile web is a big thing for us."
  5. 5. THE FUTURE OF WEB APPS 1. You visit a URL. 2. Sometimes, you bookmark that URL. 3. (there is no step three)
  6. 6. LEVELING UP THE WEB What is necessary for parity with mobile? • User engagement • User experience • Developer experience
  7. 7. USER ENGAGEMENT
  8. 8. offline
  9. 9. background processing
  10. 10. push messages
  11. 11. payment
  12. 12. USER EXPERIENCE
  13. 13. speed
  14. 14. responsiveness
  15. 15. storage
  16. 16. system integration
  17. 17. DEVELOPER EXPERIENCE
  18. 18. better base primitives
  19. 19. powerful application frameworks
  20. 20. modern layout techniques
  21. 21. more hardware access
  22. 22. THANK YOU

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