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Progressive Web Apps, Graffiti Dinosaurs and more

Yes, I admit, I’ve been less than assiduous about this ‘weekly’ (more ‘weakly’ amirite?) newsletter for a while now. 2020. Programming a series of 6 conferences, trying to be an ok parent in these times. Plenty of excuses.

Let’s see if we can’t get the show back on the road.

As always I’ve still been bookmarking (well mostly pinboarding), so to get back in the saddle, here’s a miscellany of things I’ve bookmarked over the last couple of months I hope you might find interesting too!

They Live and the secret history of the Mozilla logo

A bit a an oldie that resurfaced recently, I think via Tim Bray, developer of XML, is the story of how the Mozilla logo, designed by renowned street artist Shepherd Fairey (who also designed the famous Obama Hope poster) came to be. If you’ve any interest in street art, or the history of the Web, this fascinating story at their intersection is a must read.

Progressive Web Apps in 2021

Progressive Web Apps actually had their public debut at Web Directions Code in 2015, when Alex Russell delivered What Comes Next for the Web Platform? (watch on Conffab with a free account). Since then this model of installable web application has become if not ubiquitous, then at least widely adopted, including by the Indian Prime minister who tweeted a couple of years ago that his site was ‘using PWA technology’. Weird flex, but I’ll take it.
But where does the technology stand today in terms of adoption, and support on major platforms? Maximiliano Firtman, who delivered Uncovering the secrets of Progressive Web Apps, (also available to watch with a free Conffab account) has been tracking status, market share, what’s new, what’s missing, new challenges and new capabilities for quite some time now, and recently wrote up “where we are at 2021…what has changed during 2020 and what we are expecting for the upcoming months”. A fantastic briefing.

Now THAT’S What I Call Service Worker!

One of the key technologies of Progressive Web Apps is Service Worker. Around for several years now, and widely supported, it’s still not as adopted as I might have thought. So to get your head around what it is, what it does, and how to use it, this is a great starting point from Jeremy Wagner at the venerable but still highly relevant A List Apart.

Web History: Standards

Jay Hoffmann has been writing an in depth history of the Web, through a series of chapters published by CSS Tricks. Chapter 7, on the rise and importance of Standardshas just arrived, and for anyone interested in knowing why the Web is the way it is, I really recommend it. There’s also a podcast version, delivered in the dulcet tones of good friend of Web Directions Jeremy Keith.

And a little secret tip to finish off this week

Let’s leave aside the issue of whether SMS based Two Factor Authentication (2FA) is a good thing (let’s just say it’s probably not, but then again not having 2FA is also a security issue), but given it’s so common, wouldn’t it be nice to make it easy for our users to easily input the authentication code we send them via SMS? Well say hello to the Web OTP (one time password) API. It’s supported in Chrome as of late last year, while in Safari you can use a little bit of HTML to tell Safari the input should be auto-completed with 

<input autocomplete="one-time-code"…

That wasn’t too hard now was it John?

In 2021 we have a whole series of events for Front End Developers

Across 2021 Web Directions is presenting a series of online conferences for front end designers and developers. Focussed deep dives, they go far beyond what you might expect from conference presentations.

Learn more and register now

Across the year we have 6 conferences planned, the first 4 announced, focussing on CSS, Front End Performance, JavaScript and Progressive Web Apps, with more to come.

Priced individually from $145, or attend all 6, plus get access to our conference presentation platform Conffab for just $595, or $59 a year.

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[Web Directions] is a delicious mix of things educational, social and mind-blowing. It’s time out from the hurly-burly to step back, get some perspective, and develop new ways forward, fortified with a whole lot of new stuff in your head.

Chris Stephens Technology Director, Mozo