Web dev at the end of the world, from Hveragerði, Iceland

Idle Sunday thoughts about web trends

I’m packing my stuff into boxes. At the last minute, of course, since the truck arrives early tomorrow morning.

While I’m packing, I’ve been listening to a variety of podcasts on web development. I don’t listen to these podcasts for their information. In between the casual banter and chat that surrounds the usual talking points, a sense of a cohesive and mature craft starts to form. The conversations surrounding the craft bring out the art in it.

Progressive enhancement. The indie web. Microformats 2. Responsive design. Adaptive content. Isomorphic or progressive javascript.

These are all of a kind. They are a part of the art of developing for a fluid platform with wide-ranging capabilities—capabilities that can change on the same device from one extreme to another, within minutes, just by walking down into the basement seating area of your local coffee shop.

There is an art to making things that not only tolerate this quixotic foundation, but thrive. It’s obvious that a large and influential contingent in the web development community is driven by a strong sense of what works and what doesn’t work in this environment.

It’s also obvious that a just as large contingent doesn’t.

Client side rendered web apps with no fallbacks for when the javascript fails to load or stalls mid-load—which happens all the time on slow connections. Sites that assume everybody is running the latest browsers on a fast connection and are completely useless and inaccessible anywhere else. Web apps that only work in a single browser. The way almost everybody seems to use Angular, Ember, and React.

Treating the web like another app platform makes sense if app platforms are all you’re used to. But doing so means losing the reach, adaptability, and flexibility that makes the web peerless in both the modern media and software industries.

Even if you do pull it off, you can only succeed by sacrificing the very qualities that justify the web’s existence.

Or, at least that’s what I’m thinking as I’m packing my boxes well into the night, hoping to finish in time for me to get a few hours of sleep before the movers arrive in the morning.

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