FoWA London 2014 Notes: Bruce Lawson on Web+

Notes from Bruce Lawson, Web+: Can the Web Win the War Against Native Without Losing its Soul?, 30 September 2014
Speaker Slides

There’s more engagement with apps than websites. 86% of mobile web accounted for by apps. Why?

Connecting offline
ISSUE: You can connect to apps without wifi; “The web doesn’t work offline and apps do” and a lot of the world doesn’t have good connectivity.
RESPONSE: AppCache was supposed to make the web work offline, but works on magic. Service Worker is a replacement for AppCache, lives in the browser cache.

Device-specific functions
ISSUE: Apps can access device-specific functions e.g. geolocation, accelerometer.
RESPONSE: There are now APIs for accessing things like geolocation and dragndrop.

Better UX
ISSUE: UX is better on apps: faster performance (information stored locally). (Facebook moved away from HTML5 to app because of performance e.g. scrolling.)
RESPONSE: IE11 now has <img lazyload...>, which waits to load the image until other key resources have begun.

Adding to home screen
ISSUE: Only 10% of opera desktop users bookmarked anything, even less on mobile. Users prefer to install the app instead.
RESPONSE: It’s possible to add websites to the home screen on non-apple devices using e.g. <meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">.

Also mentioned

  • Apps are discoverable via app stores.
  • Push-notifications encourage engagement.
  • Web components allow you to create and extend tags e.g. you can create a supermegabutton that inerits the properties of button.
  • W3C widgets didn’t take off.
    The web is updateable; if you want to change something; with apps you have to persuade the user to re-download it. Widgets were snapshots, so you lost the conversation with the user.
  • Roughly, China, APAC and India have more inhabitants than the rest of the world; only 8.1% of phone sales in India (reported April 2013) were smartphones. And it doesn’t matter how smart your device is if your network’s rubbish.
    Opera mini uses pre-compression and prerender to reduce the bill for people who pay per MB. Older mobiles don’t have the power to render a website so you still need progressive enhancement. Real HTML is faster than squirting it in via JS.

About Jennifer Phillips Campbell

Software Developer and Medieval Historian
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