With Progressive Web Apps, you can now use the web to build full-blown apps. Thanks to an enormous amount of new specifications and features, we can do things with the web that you used to need to write native apps for. However, talking to hardware devices was still a bridge too far up till now. Thanks to WebBluetooth, we can now build PWAs that can control your lights, drive a car or even control a drone.
What was a major annoyance during the development and especially the debugging of my WebBluetooth demos has now turned into a real proposal to extend the console API in the developer tools for all browsers. It is still early, so this may never really happen, but so far the response has been fantastic.
Last Friday was a bit unreal. I find myself on stage at HalfStack talking about WebBluetooth. A couple hundred people look at me and listen to me. When it’s time to show some really cool demos, I explain that this is experimental technology and may not work. No, I explain, it will probably not work. And that was not a lie. In fact, before I started the talk I knew there was a very large chance the demos would not work. And indeed, none of the demos worked. Complete and utter demo failure.
Chrome 62 for iOS supports the Payment Request API. That in itself is interesting and important for a number of reasons. I’ve tweeted about this last week, but I think this is interesting enough to warrant a whole article with additional background information. So here goes…
A couple of days ago Sara Soueidan launched this idea on Twitter:
We should totally do some sort of idea pool where each speaker/traveler shares their favorite travel tips/hacks 😍
— Sara Soueidan 🐦 (@SaraSoueidan) July 20, 2017
About three years ago I spoke at my first conference. I had never been on a stage or spoke before a large audience. I never did a talk at a meetup and even in my day job I mostly work by myself. Whenever I went to a conference I fantasized about being on that stage, but I never actually seriously considered I was capable of public speaking. I’ve always been quite shy and standing up in a room and sharing my thoughts seemed terrifying. But I didn’t weasel out, did the talk and to my amazement I actually liked it. A lot.
By now everybody should already know this. You should not rely on browser detection. User-agent sniffing is evil. Use feature detection instead. Sound and solid advice. At least until you start looking at some of the more unusual browsers.
Earlier this summer I did extensive research on smart TV and console browsers. It showed me that these browsers are a lot like mobile browsers 10 years ago — before Chrome and Safari. Everybody is trying, but nobody really knows what is right. More on that at a later time.
One important lesson I learned was that we as developers make a lot of assumptions.
Two weeks ago I attended EdgeConf in London. If there is just one thing you are allowed to say about EdgeConf I would say that interesting things always happen during EdgeConf. It was just a year ago, during the previous EdgeConf in London that Yoav Weiss launched his crowdfunding campaign for implementing the picture element. When you put that many smart people in one room the level of the discussions is just astounding.
Yesterday I posted a slideshow on Twitter and got many comments and questions. I’d like to address some of them below.
A little over a month ago I decided to start an Open Device Lab. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about ever since it was first mentioned during PhoneGap Day in September of 2012. Over the years I already collected enough devices, so the decision wasn’t a difficult one. But having the devices is just one step.
Last week Google released Android 4.4 — codename KitKat.For web developers there is a big change — one we’ve all been waiting for. The build-in WebView has been updated to use Chrome. So, this seems like a good moment to take a closer look at the Android browser and the WebView.