I was present at the
Edge conferenceon 27
June in London, UK, representing the HTML5Apps project. That
conference, organized by FT Labs for the past 5 years, targets
discussion and debate of leading-edge use of client-side Web
technologies. It aims at being very participative in its nature,
and was organized this year around a set of panels in the morning
and breakouts in the afternoon.
About 180 developers attended the conference, including renowned
developers, technical evangelists and standards advocates.
The context of the conference (“leading edge”) and its attendees
made it indeed a great place for conversations and interactions.
Specifically, I had good discussions related to:
- Interest and adoption around some of the arrival in mobile
browsers, esp. push notifications, installable Web app (via
manifest) and offline via ServiceWorker. In particular, these
technologies seem to open up to great “conversion rates” of
installing Web apps via a manifest compared to the native
installation workflow enabled by traditional banners — the notion
that installing a Web app is a much smoother and less intrusive
action seems to have teeth.
- Publishers think that the Web remains a critical part of the
traffic they get on mobile, and that the notion of
progressive appscoined by Alex Russell matches well with the
experience these publishers are facing with native.
On the organized sessions of the conference themselves, I
- The panel on security, with good conversations on the needs and
issues of adopting a higher base-level security (with HTTPs and
- The panel on front-end data, which illustrated some of the
tensions between providing the right low-level primitives (in this
case indexedDB) and providing an easy-to-use API;
- The “installable web apps” breakout, which was a really good
discussion on the model enabled by
App Manifest, as
well as some of the questions that remain open about it: Chrome
chose to make “installing” something offered to the user under some
conditions (serviceworker, repeated usage, responsiveness), where
Opera is investigating surfacing that option more visibly in the
UI; can these appmanifests help surface mobile Web apps in native
stores (where users have been trained to look for content and
services)? “Installing” a Web app is really “adding it to
homescreen”, but that means they remain a 2nd class citizen in a
number of ways (integration in app lists, integration in app
settings, etc). This was my preferred session of the day;
- A breakout on network operators where the Natasha Rooney from
GSMA was looking for input and feedback on how developers see
operators could be useful to their goals, with a lot of discussion
similar to the topics in the
& Mobile Interest Group networking task force.
Overall, this developer conference was a success and the
project’s team is looking forward to the next edition!