Evaluating Technology

Photograph 51
Rosalind Franklin
Apollo 11 Mission Image - Earth view over Central and North America
Acheulean hand ax
I, Pencil
The toaster project
Noodle cooler
Butter stick
Shoe umbrellas
Toddler mop
Cat mop
Selfie stick
Apollo 11 Mission Image - View of Moon limb and Lunar Module during ascent, Mare Smythii, Earth on horizon
Margaret Hamilton

WWW

This idea of the hardware becoming irrelevant in a way was kind of what was at the heart of the World Wide web project created by Tim Berners-Lee when he was at CERN because there at CERN — CERN is an amazing place, but everybody just kind of does whatever they want. It’s crazy. There’s almost no hierarchy, which means everybody uses whatever kind of computer they want. You can’t dictate to people at CERN you all must use this operating system. That was at the heart of the World Wide web project, the idea to make the hardware irrelevant. It shouldn’t matter what kind of computer you’ve got. You should still be able to access information.

Tim Berners-Lee
Grace Hopper
<body> <title> <p> <h1> <h2> <h3> <ol> <ul> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
<article> <section> <aside> <figure> <main> <header> <footer>
<canvas> <video> <audio> <picture> <datalist>

How well does it fail?

If you look at those HTML elements, which have been designed that way, they fail well. They fail well in older browsers. You can have that fallback content. I think this is a good lens to look at technology through because what we tend to do, when there’s a new browser API, we go to Can I Use, and we see, well, what’s the support like? We see some green, and we see some red. But the red doesn’t tell you how well it fails.

Service Workers

Who has heard of service workers? Okay. Quite a few.

Web Components

Who has heard of web components? Who is using web components — the real thing now? Okay. Wow. Brave. Brave person.

<mega-menu> <slippy-map> <image-gallery> <modal-lightbox> <off-canvas>
<image-gallery>
<img src="..." alt="...">
<img src="..." alt="...">
<img src="..." alt="...">
</image-gallery>
<image-gallery>
</image-gallery>
<body>
<shop-app>
</shop-app>
<script>...</script>
</body>

Progressive Web Apps

Here’s a term you’ve probably heard of over the last couple of days: progressive web apps. Anybody who went to the Microsoft talk yesterday at lunchtime would have heard about progressive web apps. It’s just a term. It’s just an umbrella term for other technologies underneath. Progressive web app is the combination of having your site run over HTTPS, so it’s secure, which by the way is a requirement for running a service worker, and then also having a manifest file, which contains all this metadata. Chris mentioned it yesterday. You point to your icons and metadata about your site. All that adds up to, hey, you’ve got a progressive web app.

Who benefits?

Broadly speaking, I would say there’s kind of two schools of who could benefit from a particular technology on the Web. Does the technology benefit the developer or does the technology benefit the user? Much like what Chris was showing yesterday with the Tetris blocks and kind of going on a scale from technologies that benefit users to technologies that benefit developers.

What are the assumptions?

What are the assumptions that have been baked into the tool you’re about to use, because I guarantee you there are assumptions baked into those tools. I know that because those tools were created by humans. And we humans, we have biases. We have assumptions, and we can’t help but encode those biases and assumptions into what we make. It’s true of anything we make. It’s particularly true of software.

Hedy Lamarr
Rosalind Franklin
Margaret Hamilton
Grace Hopper
Hedy Lamarr

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A web developer and author living and working in Brighton, England. Everything I post on Medium is a copy — the originals are on my own website, adactio.com

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Jeremy Keith

Jeremy Keith

A web developer and author living and working in Brighton, England. Everything I post on Medium is a copy — the originals are on my own website, adactio.com

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