W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-coremob@w3.org > April 2012

Re: Ringmark is now open source

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2012 19:12:49 +0200
To: "Tobie Langel" <tobie@fb.com>, "Marcos Caceres" <w3c@marcosc.com>
Cc: "Thaddee Tyl" <thaddee.tyl@gmail.com>, "Matt Kelly" <mk@fb.com>, "Wonsuk Lee" <wonsuk11.lee@samsung.com>, "public-coremob@w3.org" <public-coremob@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.wcl13nj2wxe0ny@widsith-3.local>
On Thu, 05 Apr 2012 01:56:11 +0200, Marcos Caceres <w3c@marcosc.com> wrote:

> On Thursday, 5 April 2012 at 00:13, Tobie Langel wrote about Opera Mini:

>> Not one on which you can build web applications on par with a native
>> experience.
>
> Perhaps - but why is that even an expectation?

I think it is, a priori a reasonable expectation. This group is about  
making sure the Web is a serious platform for mobiles.

I also think the statement is wrong.

Certainly, there are some classes of application that won't currently run  
on Opera Mini. But there are some kinds of applications that do, and run  
very happily.

> And I don't think it's up to this group to decide what Opera can and  
> can't do...

No, it is up to this group to set some goals for browsers, and demonstrate  
why browsers should care about those goals. Ideally, the goals will be for  
things the Web really needs, and browsers will care because they will be  
broadly accepted as what developers are looking for.

But representing "developers" is a complicated process - they come in many  
flavours, with many different markets and goals.

>> Don't get me wrong: it's a fantastic browser. It's just not a reasonable
>> target for web apps.
>
> (ouch! I think I just heard Charles wake up:) )
(not so fast... I have other things to do too ;) )

> With all due respect, it's still used by +20% of the mobile web? There  
> is something deeply contradictory and slightly troubling here. You make  
> it sound like the "mobile web" you are envisioning is one where services  
> are only targeted at the rich and privileged (i.e., the small number of  
> people with enough money to afford an iPhone or Android device)?
>
> If so, I think this position needs to be revised because it is divisive  
> and bordering on elitist in that it it says that "if you can't afford an  
> iPhone or an Android phone, then you can't be part of the Mobile Web  
> (and you are not good enough to meet the base level to build a web app)".

I don't think it is a problem because it is "elitist", but because the  
group characterises its goals in a broader way - in other words, it is  
misrepresenting, or allowing too easily a basic misinterpretation of, what  
we are actually doing here.

As I wrote in another thread, it is a legitimate position to say "we're  
the 'iThings/Android US market top 100' group", or "we are attempting to  
represent a diverse audience of developers with different products and  
markets", or whatever we choose to do...

I believe we started with "what does it take to make the top 100  
iPhone/Android apps work on phones". That's not an inherently bad thing to  
aim for, so long as you remember the substantial limitations implied by  
choosing that as a goal.

> Thus, I believe Opera Mini is a legitimate target for Web Apps (remember  
> that Opera Mobile is only banned from the iPhone because of Apple's  
> anti-competitive practices - that could change tomorrow for all we know).

Likewise.

> I also don't believe it's up to this group to exclude Opera (or even all  
> the people that will continue to access the Web on Nokia phones).

Also (maybe not surprisingly) I agree.

> If those devices don't today do Ring-0, they might do so tomorrow: that  
> is the point of Ring-0 (or at least it should be: to drive a baseline  
> for innovation and raise that bar).

This is the key question - what should be in Ring-0? And this is where I  
think we are starting in the wrong place. Beginning with the browsers made  
by the people who make the platform we're trying to bring to the Web is,  
in my opinion, getting a little too cosy for comfort. Most of the Web is  
not specific to those browsers, and our goal is presumably that none of it  
will be. Otherwise why would people whose goal is to build the Web be  
interested in this work?

This is not a simple question - the Mobile Web Best Practices group went  
through similar issues, and was widely criticised for setting its baseline  
too low (and for setting it too high - which indicates that it might have  
aimed somewhere about right at the beginning). But it is clear that if we  
are not careful about where we start, we might inadvertently be closing  
off a lot of the paths that lead to things we would like to achieve.

If this group simply documents some lowest common denominator of Safari  
and the Android browser, that isn't a useless task. But it is something  
that a large proportion of developers are not very interested in (since  
they are required to serve a broader market that includes other phones).  
Browser makers other than those two will only very peripherally bother  
with it. The risk is that this leads to the group remaining a  
documentation group for those two browsers, and thus withers.

I suggest we either lower the first bar to represent the interoperability  
of popular browsers today (and unless we're going to write ourselves out  
of global relevance, I think that means about 7 or 8 including Opera Mini,  
UCWeb, and Nokia), followed by rings that are indeed aspirational but that  
we can expect to be realised at a rate of one per year, or we drop the  
baseline browser idea and start with an aspirational ring based on  
something we expect to achieve in multiple browsers using real standards.

cheers

-- 
Charles 'chaals' McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg kan noen norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 17:13:40 UTC

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