Takeaways from the First Google AMP Conference

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a project created by Google, designed to establish a performance baseline for the mobile web. AMP HTML is HTML with some restrictions for reliable performance; those restrictions incorporate coding best practices, restrict the size of CSS, and disallow all custom javascript. Instead of writing scripts, web developers can take advantage of a library of web components that are optimized for slow or unreliable network connections, resulting in fast loading pages and superior user experience.

This March, the AMP project held its first conference in New York City. It had a good mix of speakers — from publishers, eCommerce folks, UX designers, advertisers, and search engine representatives, to open web advocates. The entire conference was recorded and live streamed (Day 1, Day 2), so I’m going to summarize some main themes I heard over and over this week.

Restrictions led to simpler design and users liked it.

Natalia Baltazar from the Guardian talked about how simplifying their navigation lead to better brand recognition and awareness. With the old header some users didn’t even realize that the Guardian is a news site!

AMP’s value is political.

In this scenario Google’s name and reputation is a crucial to your clients and/or boss acquiescing, and this leads me to the next major theme of the conference.

Open web advocates have some concerns.

One area of concern for publishers and people who advocate for open web — the idea that no content should be privileged — is Google cache. Right now in order to get “the lightning bolt of approval” that indicates valid AMP markup, the publishers must cache their content on AMP CDN. Another related problem is the way the AMP viewer is implemented in Google Search. When a user clicks on Top News carousel story, it opens in the Google AMP viewer, not the site of the content creator.

You can see some of this discussion here:

Cloudflare announced AMP Cache alternative.

PWAMP is all the rage.

AMP to PWA.

While the user is on an AMP page, the developer can use <amp-install-serviceworker> tag in order to jump-start the process. Then, when the user visits the PWA, clicks on a story, the service worker has already pre-cached assets and the story appears to load instantaneously.

PWA to AMP

Another approach is to use PWA as an app shell to serve AMP content. Instead of making a JSON request and parsing the response, the PWA can request your AMP-valid HTML and serve that. This method takes advantage of both PWA’s versatility and AMP’s optimized performance, and can deliver a lighting-fast AND rich user experience.

Looking to the future.

Celebrating International Women’s Day at AMP Conference

Web developer @washingtonpost. Dancer. Adventurer. Striving to amplify minority voices in tech. #dctech #womenintech #webdev