Award-Winning Fjords Thomas Reynolds

A WWDC for the Web

The last few years has seen an explosion in what's possible with Web technologies. The Mobile Web will soon be the way the majority of users view your site. HTML5 applications are robust, stable and becoming ubiquitous. Simply put: the Web platform is maturing.

But here's my concern. The Web community, especially the real world conferences and meetups, has yet to mature.

Caveat City: Your conference, your users and your developers are all great. This isn't an insult or an attack. But the breadth of technologies in play has exploded. jQuery is now the bedrock of the platform, a full understanding of it should be assumed and we should be learning and teaching more.

Caveat City 2: Fun conferences and communities are great. Keep making JS-powered helicopters and browser computer vision prototypes.

What does Mature look like?

Maturity is about shipping. If it doesn't ship, isn't in use or hasn't been field tested, it's a toy. Shipping is hard. The web platform is spread across hundreds of device-browser-resolution-input combinations and being successful on this platform requires a lot of knowledge and experience.

Once your product goes from prototype to production, you'll end up encountering and hacking around insane browser, device and library bugs. This is part of being mature. Knowing that the world isn't perfect and shipping anyways.

I want a conference that speaks to those of us, and there are so many, shipping real products with real world problems. Somewhere between the Steak & Hookers "industry" conferences of the enterprise world and the indie free-for-all, we need a Web conference for professionals.

How Boring Are We Talking?

WWDC is a conference for professionals. Sure, there is the media frenzy surrounding the keynote, but after that, the attendees have access to dozens of sessions with very complex topics which are specifically useful to different people. WWDC also provides direct access to the very developers who built the APIs and tools the attendees use.

Would this be boring to the people who just want to add basic interactions to their website? Sure, but it's not for them. You've got a new JS framework to show off? Sorry, talk to me when it's in production on a dozen sites. Keep your flash-y naive demos with CSS Animations that would never work on a real site to yourself.

I want a Web conference with deep talks on the Web Audio API. I want to see behind-the-scenes information on HTML5 game development. All that crazy pipelining Facebook does to speed up their site? I want to know about it. Someone expound on Google's SPDY protocol. How do I use Hypermedia APIs?

I want a lab where the Webkit developers can show me all the little hacks they know and I can show them the list of silly edge case bugs I've found.

I want a conference that knows that its attendees are doing this for a living. They are shipping and if they want to sleep at night, they need to learn more about bigger and more difficult concepts.

Caveat City 3: I attended Google I/O last year and the Chrome track was very close to what I suggest above. If only Web WWDC and Chrome I/O could merge, with just a little more "flair"

The Web has matured. There are developers working on as complicated and professional projects as the native platforms ever have. We need to step-up the conference game and begin tackling the hard problems.