The event sold out very quickly after tickets got released, which, once again, proved there is a huge interest and hunger from people to keep up to date on latest developments in Web Standards and browsers.
It was very nice to see some 250 developers, designers and thought leaders congregate at Ravensbourne’s wonderful venue.
It’s a slight shame the weather was not as nice and sunny, but, at the end of the day, we were there to learn about Web Standards and not have a picnic in the park.
It was wonderful for me to be a speaker this time round and add my 2p from User Experience and Service Design point of view.
Over the years I have learnt that the best way I can influence and promote Web Standards was from the actual early design angle, before any templates and code are written.
I focused on talking about Responsive Design and what I (currently) think it is, as well as showed some real world examples of how I have approached it so far.
Messages from speakers and the audience
As usual, I found incredibly important Christian Heilmann’s points about developers focusing on real world problems and delivering Web Standards based solutions to them concretely and not trying to use a basic HTML5 doctype as something cool and important and worth bickering to people about.
I left overall with an impression that the ‘web as we know it’ is loosing out to the native apps domain.
The fact that a lot of new developers are more interested in coding native apps for iOS and not wanting to learn the web is somewhat concerning to me.
Also, the whole movement towards HTML5 based app stores, seems like a pseudo-native way of counteracting the native app trend.
I’m hoping that Responsive Design will be able to provide the full power of the web to clients, taking away the focus from native solutions, but can see various issues at the moment with support for plethora of (mobile) devices with browsers which have patchy (if any) support for latest Web Standards.
Currently as it stands (and this was the main message of my breakout sessions) there is no reason why we should not be delivering the power of full Responsive Design to desktop, tablet and smartphone devices right now and to more or less every client we deal with.
It seems as though many clients at the moment will be stuck with the ‘in-between’ solution of having to create a general (Responsive) Design, a ‘universal’ mobile solution and sprinkle in a few native apps to cover those bases (for either marketing or real demand purposes).
Feelings and atmosphere
There were a lot of statements made around ‘broken web’ and how it was always broken and always likely to be broken.
I unfortunately echo this sort of sentiment too.
This is a new theme (to me) in Web Standards circles – at least made in this sort of clear cut way.
It seems like many challenges we are dealing with are virtually impossible to solve – universal ID being one of them for example.
Does my Universal ID need to be managed by myself, Mozilla (in browser), Google (in a combination of browser and cloud) or Facebook/Twitter (purely on cloud) and how would it all work compatibly, reliably and securely across all the places I visit on the web?!
It’s a very tricky matter to resolve and I don’t see a appropriate solution for it coming out of the woodwork any time soon.
And that’s just one of the many themes where web (and the world/society) is broken and where we cannot easily come up with a universal solution on how to effectively deal with that sort of a challenge.
The mood in the room was very relaxed and chilled out, but looking across various developers’ faces it was clear that there was much thinking going on around how to make the next generation of web solutions work properly.
No wonder the new kids on the block don’t want to deal with these challenges and go straight into the narrow, well-defined and secluded corner of iOS, coding up ‘Talking Santa’ apps and such like.
As the last thought for closing off this post, I’ve past my 30th birthday and am relatively young compared to some people in the Web Standards community.
I wonder, though, where the very young Web Standardistas are these days and how do new coders get the bug of really caring for Web Standards, browser compatibility and general web best practices like I started doing some time in 1997.
It was interesting for me to see that Opera was the only company who was directly and openly concerned about Apple’s emerging potential monopoly on the (mobile) browser.
I also think it’s a great shame that Apple are consistently the only company who do not engage with (web) developers and come to Web Standards related events.
Just thought I pen that down, so it’s not forgotten.