Web first

Creative Commons: http://j.mp/1dPimfh

Creative Commons: http://j.mp/1dPimfh

I evangelised mobile first, and responsive web design for years now. Not that I’ll stop, but I’ll switch my primary focus on something even more important, something I’m calling web first!

I’m a big fan of giving a great experience to the users, and I know you are too. Unfortunately, that means native applications for many developers, startups, and companies. I agree that when it comes to mobile, HTML5 isn’t quite there yet, and it’s why we are developing Firefox OS at Mozilla, but still, the web is a strong platform, and you can give a decent to a very good experience to your customers.

Because native applications seems to give a better integrated experience for the users on their smartphones, why should you start with the browser experience first or web first as I wrote earlier? There are many reasons, but the most important one is that you will give access to your application to everybody with an internet connection! No discrimination about the OS or the device: everybody that have access to a web browser we’ll be able to use your application.

Reaching more people, and building the foundation for native applications are also important advantages. If you really want to build a native application, do it after. If your web architecture was well done, you’ll already have mostly everything you need to communicate between your server, and your native application if necessary (login, saving, processing…).

I feel that web first is so important, that I want to promote this a lot more: I even brought webfirst.org to create a small site with a manifesto about this (I’ll need designers help)! So next time you want to build an application, think web first!

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  1. How about using Bootstrap or an other of those Mobile First CSS frameworks for webfirst.org?

    I personally get really annoyed when I click on a link while on my phone and get prompted to install an application. As if I cared about their site before actually reading any content there.

    02/20/2014 09:00AM
    • That will be the goal, to make this site responsive so everybody can access it from any devices.

      02/22/2014 12:20PM
  2. Apparently you don’t get that the “mobile gadget” user doesn’t care of the Web simply because he doesn’t mind and/or he isn’t capable to be a “maker”. When you are just a passive customer and services subscriber you don’t need any Web of peers, you just need a connection to the service provider. Plus, all the “mobile gadget” user can do on his device is to buy and install apps from a store. This pushes the idea of a closed box, not a world wide network of diversified entities. And the closed box is in the best interest of everybody working in the “industry”.

    So basically who are you speaking to?
    Users don’t care, providers and vendors want do carve their business out of the Web. And you are being inconsistent with your evangelizing of two opposite things.

    02/21/2014 04:57AM
    • For many reasons, I usually don’t publish anonymous comments, but this one was worth it , thanks a lot for taking the time to do so.

      I’m not just a developer, or an Evangelist who promote amazing technology: I’m primarily a user. As for the Evangelist side, my perception changed a lot since I went from talking to people in North America, who used the latest, and the greatest to working with people all across the world.

      People who use an iPhone or an Android device may not care, because they have access to huge marketplace/store with mostly every application they want. Most companies having those kind of marketplaces are working to keep those close as, we all agree, it’s a huge source of money.

      The problems happens when you don’t have the latest, and the greatest. We can talk about newer platforms like Windows Phone that is doing a lot better now, but wasn’t able to get all the applications needed for a long time. Think about people using feature phones also: they have web access, but cannot install all the beautiful applications other users have. Even some low end devices smartphone users, some applications aren’t optimized for these devices.

      Also, if you read the post correctly, you’ll see that the idea here isn’t to stop doing native applications for closed platforms: some people needs those, and who am I to ask them to stop. At least, they have access to the web with these applications. My main ask is to start with a web version first, so there is no discrimination about your users. If you did it well, it won’t give you much work, and it will be easier to target multiple platform, even on many closed devices.

      Last, but not least, I’m evangelizing the web. Firefox OS isn’t a close platform. It’s true that we have specific API right now, but we are working with the standard buddies to make them available to everybody. If the standard evolve, Firefox OS will too. We had to create those to give the right tools in developers hand’s so they can build great integrated experience for their web/firefox applications.

      02/22/2014 12:32PM


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