enchant.js Invades Santa Clara and DevCon5
December 15, 2011
Greetings! enchant.js Technical Evangelist Eric here.
Last week I made my way to Santa Clara, California, where I spread the enchant.js gospel at DevCon5 with my friend Hidemy. Our morning began bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:30 a.m. with setup of our booth at the Network Meeting Center.
Our booth featured the usual assortment of swag goodness.
Lo and behold, we found ourselves prominently advertised up on the main event screen. We had the last keynote of the event. No pressure, right?
On day one we enjoyed three keynotes. The first was “LinkedIn Mobile: HTML5 and Node.JS” from LinkedIn Directing of Mobile Engineering Kiran Prasad.
Kiran took us through the process by which the popular networking service has been built for various mobile platforms. His team of eight worked over four months to develop versions of LinkedIn for iOS, Android, and Mobile Web. The usage of HTML5 varies widely…as much as 70% for iOS, as little as 20% for Android, and of course 100% for Mobile Web. Kiran predicted that 3 years from now, 90% of this will be HTML5. He then shared some of the details of LinkedIn’s approach using Node.js. A key difference in HTML5 is all the work that takes place on the client side; Node.js aggregates this information into a single stream. The specifics vary from platform to platform, but the general trend is clearly towards HTML5 adoption.
Next came courtesy of Khronos Group president Neil Trevett, who spoke on “WebGL and the Visual Web Ecosystem.”
Neil began by talking about the explosive growth of mobile devices, which are shipping at a rate exponentially higher than traditional computers. As a result the potential clearly exists for HTML5 to become a cross-platform application programming environment, but to do so it must be more than just “more HTML.” The good news is that silicon community is moving to make this new software standardized and as efficient as possible. Neil then cited 3D as an example, with WebGL as a case study. WebGL represents an historic opportunity: 3D on the web, not constrained to rectangular windows, with no plug-in. Neil described how his Khronos Group is working hard to synergize web and native APIs. Industry cooperation is essential for making HTML5 live up to its potential, he said, making it both a stressful and exciting time to develop.
Finally, we enjoyed “HTML5 and Blackberry” by Ken Wallis, Manager at BlackBerry WebWorks Research in Motion (RIM).
Ken shared the merits of BlackBerry’s WebWorks, a system whose merits have not been fully recognized. He began by discussing a phenomenon called NIBS: Native Is Better Syndrome. Developers should not fear developing for the web, Ken said, nor view their choice as a competition between native and web. He discussed the unique experience of mobile web developers, who must test on a desktop, a simulator, and finally an actual device. BlackBerry’s Ripple combines the first two steps, speeding up the process. Moreover, BlackBerry and WebWorks are fully committed to open-source. All WebWorks development occurs out in the open on GitHub, and BlackBerry is making an active effort to sponsor JS meetups. WebWorks is proud to note that 13% of its vendors make $100,000 or greater (more than Apple and Android), and Ken stressed that apps created on WebWorks will work on any and all future BlackBerry devices.
Through it all Hidemy and I fielded a steady stream of inquisitive developers at our booth.
We ended the day with a networking session hosted in the event center lobby. Pity that the munchies disappeared so quickly…
Day two began bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with more evangelizing in the lobby.
David Kaneda, Creative Web Technologist at Sencha, delivered the first keynote of the day.
David eschewed the format of most of the other presentations, electing to discuss not framework or devices, but rather people and the final user experience. Unlike developers or business guys, end users typically do not care about the web vs. native debate. Despite talks of change, David said, app stores are doing extremely well. With all this in mind, David gave three proposals for developers: 1) stop saying “One Web,” 2) Consider the web for what it is, and 3) Innovate! He stressed the importance of thinking outside the box, and how many of the best innovations come from simple design ideas. Embracing HTML5 will only help this process.
Next, Jonathan Stark, VP of Application Architecture at Mobiquity, regaled us with “Three Things First: Content and Experience in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing.”
Jonathan began by stressing a point: mobile is huge, and slated to increase tenfold over the next 5 years. In fact, there are slated to be some 5 billion mobile broadband subscribers by 2016. The phone is becoming more than just a phone: devices like Square demonstrate how it is turning into a hub for human lifestyle. We are entering an age when people will want to access their data anytime from anywhere, on any device. Further, innovations like Siri show that the line between human and machine is blurring. As a result, it behooves developers to focus on mobile, and to not get too hung up on platform but instead focus on ideal output. He reminded us that we have no idea where our content will end up, and as such we should focus on the content itself.
And a few hours later, lo and behold, it was us!
Shimizu-san and I took the stage to share the enchant.js and 9leap story with a crowd pleasantly chewing away on midday munchies. We dabbled in game demos, live coding, live shout-outs to the audience, and other merriment.
We’ll be on hand for a variety of events in the coming months. Stay tuned, and for DevCon5 attendees reading this, hope to see you again soon!