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Re: Ringmark is now open source

From: <andrea.trasatti@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2012 04:08:56 +0000
To: <public-coremob@w3.org>
Message-ID: <3D092972-93A8-437B-8AD8-2282362DDB44@nokia.com>
On Apr 11, 2012, at 1:12 PM, ext Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> 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.

I am going to throw a different idea here to define ring 0 and all the later rings.
We want to talk about "Web apps" (which is different from an individual, maybe static, Web page on a Web site) and we want to make sure developers can create great Web apps that give that native-app feel.

Can we forget about market share and can we focus on what the developers need in order to create these Web apps? We should define what a Web app is, at least at high level. A very rough definition could be "A Web app is an application developed using a mix of HTML, JS and CSS, accessible via a user agent, self-contained and mimicking the behaviour of a native application". This has a bit of my own thinking and a bit stolen from Dom's blog [1].
Once we have this basic definition we can move on to identify which browser features (not browsers or browser versions), present in current browsers (and again we MUST define a time window because who knows what Opera Mini can do with an update very soon!), allow Web developers to create such Web apps. This would be ring 0.

Once we have defined what fits in ring 0 we can move on to say what would make those apps better and that will be ring 1. And on to the other rings.

The benefits that I see in this approach:
1. we avoid the smartphone/feature phone pitfall
2. we avoid the problem of the market share, global distribution, etc.
3. we get to the point, which is define what developers need!
4. we give a chance to any browser vendor to take note of what developers need and prioritise it appropriately (hence Opera Mini or Nokia's Ovi Browser might be outside of ring 0 today, be part of it in 2 months if a new version is released that matches the definition of Web app-capable)

Andrea


[1] http://people.w3.org/~dom/archives/2010/08/what-is-a-web-application/
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2012 04:09:29 UTC

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