What is future-friendly?
Joe: being future-friendly with the web is supporting mobile, but a better strategy is a content strategy for all devices and where they are used. It’s okay to think of web browsers as end points, but your content should be able to live in all environments.
Desktop. Laptop. Smartphone. Tablet. Phablet. Xbox. PS Vita. Smart TVs. That’s a lot of places your content can live. Building specific experiences for each one of these simply doesn’t scale. Let’s find out why and how to tackle such an enormous problem.
Being “”Future Friendly”” is not necessarily just a visual or interaction design decision, but an architectural decision as well. Furthermore, being “”Future Friendly”” is not about the web or native: it’s both and more.
In 2007 iOS changed everything, what do you think the next big shift is going to be?
Joe: Some of the “next big thing” is going to be self-aware devices and how they talk to each other efficiently.
Ryan (Microsoft Guy): Having the devices not all give the same reminder at the same time. Breaking out of the siloed approach in apps, where they can share data with each other. Devices won’t be independent.
Burke: The next big shift will be in the Enterprise. Enterprise is always behind. The Enterprise is going to embrace mobile devices and we’ll see the decline of the basic PC desktop scenario in the corporate environment and there is no longer a separation between work and personal devices.
Are there any resources out there to be able to understand differences between different versions of devices?
Estelle: I always go to caniuse.com, then Google. Use modernizer in your browser.
Mike (Opera Guy): Resource libraries code
There’s a term called “The Internet of Things”, meaning everything is connected. What will happen when everything is connected and we have problems with our identity?
Ryan (Microsoft Guy): We will need some way to identify via a different device. Now when you get a new phone you just put in your info and it’s just like your old phone.
Christopher: It’s scary because all of our information will be centralized and if a mistake is made and it is really hard to correct. We also have to worry about congress and SOPA and those types of things.
Joe: The bigger concern I have is the concern of fear of something like this. Why does it have to be scary? There is lots of scary stuff now. We use paper for medical records. Things can be more efficient.
What do you think of the low-end of the mobile world? The average teenager who wants a smartphone and it’s running an older version of Android that will never be updated. What’s going to happen with that? Do you think that will reduce the speed of adoption for new features on mobile devices?
Mike (Opera Guy): That has been there for a long time, but there are still tons of feature phones out there.
Estelle: Your website does different things. When I did a website in 2005, you would order pizza and a movie and you could only use PayPal, but that was okay, because the audience for that site would use PayPal. You have to determine whether that audience is important for you.
Joe: This has been an issue for a number of years. You have to see where your audience is at and if there is a business case for backward compatibility. There is no real silver bullet. You just have to evaluate your audience and make a business case.
How do you resolve the tensions between user groups and carriers for mobile development?
Estelle: They are holding us back. Their data plans are limiting development. We believe in open standards and that is the antithesis of what the carriers believe.
Joe: The reality is that these are for-profit corporations interested in making a profit. The carriers won’t have a choice when
Burke: I have a slide of a cheap phone in a grocery store running Android 2.1. I can’t believe they still sell that stuff and as they become more personal, there won’t be a market for that anymore and they won’t be able to sell junk like that.
Why do carriers offer those phones?
Joe: Inventory and cheapness
Estelle: Phones are so cheap that they were able to embed one in a magazine
What is going to happen with spectrum? They say we’re running out.
Joe: I’m not an expert in spectrum, but years ago Google bought GrandCentral, which runs Google Voice, Google Fiber and other things and we are probably headed for massive wi-fi networks and shifting directly to data. Google tried to lease spectrum, but decided against it.
Who do you think is going to be the driving factor going forward on standards? The HTML5 group took 4 years to come up with the standard.
Estelle: Developers will because of things like sass. Each browser group has developers that are very responsive as well.
Christopher: People who are driving it now are the browsers, Mozilla and Google. You will most likely always have to design for multiple browsers.
Mike (Opera Guy): It’s really everyone. You hear developers talking about fragmentation and pain. If you take a step back, though, you see that it drive the standards forward. Companies see what’s going on and try to come up with better things and standardization takes time.
Ryan (Microsoft Guy): Developing is art. There was a time when there were no mobile browsers and everyone had ie6, but that will never happen again. Microsoft developed pointers and provided the fix for Chrome, so there is more collaboration today than there has ever been. These are processes that take lots of time.
What are some new web features that are going to alleviate the pain of development?
Mike (Opera Guy): There are lots of tools out there now. There are tons of browser developer tools and they are able to be applied to other browsers, as well. Microsoft developed modern.ie. Instead of just complaining and shaming, it’s better if you can be helpful and provide tools.
Ryan (Microsoft Guy): One of the things that is going to help is the platform that makes sure that the browser is updated. Better browsers are being included by default and the upgrade path is better now. It doesn’t solve the tooling issue, but it helps with predictability.
Christopher: There are all kinds of tools to test the deployment process and that kind of automation will help speed things up a lot. They are putting a lot of cool stuff in the new tools and browsers. The tools are there, we just have to be aware and use them.
Burke: Browser developer tools are awesome now. Firebug was the first where you could actually see what was going on in the browser. One place where we haven’t really cracked that is mobile. Adobe has edge inspect and there is more tooling coming in that area.
Estelle: There are debuggers for most mobile devices. The blackberry 10 debugger is awesome and a kick-ass browser. Chrome for mobile allows you to debug if you’re tethered. There is a talk online you should watch called “secrets of chrome” or something like that. One of the things we haven’t talked about are limitations of mobile browsers and memory on the devices. The chrome debugger shows how much memory the tab is using and what is using the memory. We’re developing great applications because we can in great browsers and operating systems, but there are memory limitations.
Joe: Netflix has done a really good job with using HTML5 and bucketing categories of devices and running tests against them to be reasonably certain that they’ll work. There is a community device testing lab in the Bay Area where people donate devices and allow anyone to come and test against multiple devices.