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Summary of discussions so far

From: Dominique Hazael-Massieux <dom@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2013 14:28:12 +0100
Message-ID: <1364477292.7395.179.camel@cumulustier>
To: public-closingthegap@w3.org
Hi all,

The list has been quiet for the past couple of weeks; to help re-kindle
the discussions and maybe re-focus them on our final concrete outcome (a
list of suggested actions for W3C to undertake), I'm offering below a
summary of the topics that have been discussed so far, with some of my
thoughts on what W3C could do help. I've also included at the end a list
of topics I'm aware of that we haven't discussed yet.

I would appreciate feedback on whether I missed anything, and how to
make further progress on these topics if needed.

Offline support
It is a critical feature needed for many apps; the existing solution in
this space (application cache) has been shown to be non-satisfactory,
and a new proposal is under

A complementary technology that is dearly needed in this space is quota
management, for which there is also a draft API.

Possible W3C actions:
- throw more staff resources at the new app cache, at the quota API;
these resources could be used for editing, testing, coordinating with
implementors, tracking implementation efforts, developing patches, etc
- work with WebApps WG to ensure these items get higher priority
- help organize more direct feedback from developers on these items
(online surveys? meetups?)

Network optimizations
Downloading or uploading large assets for a given Web app requires the
Web app to be running, and can't easily take advantage of optimal
network situations (e.g. using Wifi rather than 2G); offering an API
that would enable this would make Web apps more capable, potentially
less detrimental to the network, and more performant.

The Web Performance Working Group proposed new charter includes work on
a beacon API, and on network resource priorities, both of which would
help in this field.

Possible W3C actions:
* short term: start a Community Group to draft a spec? (or bring it to
the existing Network-Friendly App and WebApp Best Practices CG?)
* increase resources in WebPerf Working Group to help speed up the work

Web apps store as entry points
There has been mostly skepticism that the Web needed to replicate the
model of a centralized store for Web apps, and that while simplifying
payments on the Web was important, it shouldn't be so much about selling
software as much as selling a service. Even if replicating the app store
model, it wasn't clear that there was much new stuff W3C needed to do in
this space.

It isn't clear that anyone suggested to follow up on this.

Web apps searchability
While the Web shouldn't need a centralized system to make its apps
discoverable, in practice, it's probably harder for a search engine to
properly find and index Web apps compared to traditional Web sites. It's
also a priori difficult for a search engine to determine whether a given
Web app will work on the device the user is currently running (and hence
to filter/sort results more usefully).

Relatedly, making it easier to find Web apps reviews and rating might
also help users find and pick the Web apps they need.

There were suggestions that improved metadata could help, but so far, no
clear plan on how to follow up on this has emerged. Is anyone interested
in taking up the research needed here?

Web apps user experience
Most users currently have different mental models for Web sites and
mobile apps, and some of these differences are also currently very
strongly reinforced by the underlying operating systems.

Making it possible for a Web app to run more like a mobile app would
help make Web apps easier to integrate in the user workflow (e.g. app
switching), but this comes as a trade off with some other aspects that
users appreciate in Web apps (shared logins, browseability, easy to
discard, etc.). The Sysapps runtime spec dives into some of these

Here again, it's not clear yet what W3C can do help; it was suggested
that documenting the ideal "Web app UX" would be useful; the need for an
interoperable identity system à la BrowserID/Personna was also
highlighted as a possible way to reduce the friction that emerge from
isolating a Web app from the browser; and that a Web-Intents-like
ecosystem in general would help make Web apps flow better one with

Web Components
Developers struggle with managing UI assets when building rich user
interfaces; the Web Components spec is likely to help in this space.

Possible W3C actions:
* increase resources on Web components

Functional Web / Web Intents / Web Activities
In several discussions was raised the need to make it easier to compose
Web apps one with another, with nice attached properties on reusability,
and indexing. This is something that Web Intents and Web Activities are
supposed to enable, but Web Intents are stalled, while Web Activities
are yet unproven (and currently limited to mobile UX?).

Possible W3C action:
* increase resources on Web Intents

More to come
The following topics haven't been brought up (much) yet; I'm hoping to
either start myself discussions on these soon or that others will before
I do :)
* security (e.g. secured storage)
* discovering context-relevant Web apps (e.g. relevant to current
* just-in-time usages
* usability of Web technologies for developers and developers tools
* reduce bottlenecks in creating/improving new Web technologies
* access to premium content
* enabling multi-devices user experiences

Received on Thursday, 28 March 2013 13:28:33 UTC

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