Evolution of the Web: SXSW Interactive 2015

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak at SXSW Interactive again this year. My talk, the Evolution of the Web, covered how the web has changed and where it seems to be heading. It covers how the documents we create have gotten more and more complex as the web has had to compete with native mobile platforms. I discuss the GPU and how hardware accelerated rendering is being leveraged by browsers to close the performance gap. I also get into WebGL and lower level API’s that allow us to create more amazing graphical experiences, as well as frameworks that simplify the process of making them. I also explored other hardware features we have access to now and how the web is getting better at accessing them, for example the Gamepad API and Leap Motion’s leap.js library for integrating peripherals in you web content.

The core question is that if the web is continuing to become more and more complex then how can we simplify it? How do we allow more people to take advantage of what the web is now capable of? For developers the answer is the large community of libraries out there that abstract complex API’s making it easier to build complex applications. But what about designers? Designers are used to robust tools with powerful graphical user interfaces that allow them to create content visually.

Creating custom workflows between designers and developers can allow people to work most efficiently still do the best at their jobs. This can be achieved by building custom tools from scratch using web technologies. We can also leverage the tools designers are already using to export content for developers. For example Three.js has a plugin for Blender, which allows you to export models. Adobe Photoshop has Generator which allows developers to write scripts that automate asset generation and collection of other data from the PSD. We also have Custom Platform Plugins for Flash so that developers can build plugins that export flash animation content directly from the timeline to any platform or library they want. These capabilities allow developers and designers to optimize how they work together using the right tools for the job.

You can find a Flash Custom Platform Plugin I wrote that exports SVG for the Snap.svg library on github.

The source for the slides are available on github and you can view static versions on slideshare.