The Web Platform

Presented by two of my favorite speakers Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith and they were as good as ever.  i lost my notes, but this is what i remembered without seeing the slides again.

Mozilla concept series – future of the browser, the sci-fiction.  But what is really happening to the browser.  Started with Netscape Communicator all very busy and in your face feature rich, but now we are minimizing what is shown at the front end, but the underlying engine is getting much more complex.

Now we have multiple libraries dojo, jquery, prototype and many others which allow us to create amazing interfaces on the web.  The developers now have multiple libraries to choose from, but each has its merits.  But what will be the next wave?

Technologies on the horizon

Canvas – part of the HTML 5 Specification, allowing you to have amazing graphics and image manipulation in the browser.  This power is enhanced by the browsers understanding the native formats i.e video.  Why is this better than flash:

  • no startup time that plugins have
  • available on mobile today
  • typography (rendering fidelity)
  • no bridge necessary to link runtime like when you use javascript and flash.
  • no plugin required
  • not in IE yet, typical, but can have a plugin to make it work; although this takes away some of the benifits

Fast Java Script –  For many years performance of Javascript has held back what can be released as an application.  However Chrome on its release included V8 a new javascript engine. This has changed the landscape with all vendors working on there own super fast java engines, all presently in beta, but this will give the ability to create more complex applications.

Web Workers – current wait time is just to long and makes potentially great apps poor.  Jacob Nielsen states that an application need to have a response time of 0.1 seconds to be good  and longer than 1.0 second will exceed the users natural wait time. Google Gears made headway here, but this is just a plugin.  we need a component that is a first class citizen within the browser

This leads to the concept of the Open Web Platform, pushing the concept that the web should be a first class platform like Flash JavaFX and Silverlight.  The Open Web Platform initiative also aim to detail  what can you do with the web today and what will the road-map be for tomorrow,allowing developers to see what is coming.

Four points for good application design

  • get to know your users
  • practice goal orientated design
  • visual and interaction design is important
  • aesthetic matter

Other items discussed

  • Palm Pre has the web as its centralized concept and will likely ship with a JavaScript library i.e prototype
  • code editor on the web Bespin (mozilla labs beta), collaborationand coding anywhere.  Looks pretty good start, but as with all editors you need to use it to determine for yourself.
  • What should a javasript editor look like Thunderhead (mozilla labs beta)
  • Alan Cooper – understand a users goals, but ignore any design they try to describe to you.  I agree every time i see someone try to modify If you do this you will fail to develop
  • Delicious Libary no advertising, old idea, well done, lots of cash made for the developer.

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