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ViewSource 2019: conference report

This week I had the chance to attend Mozilla’s conference, where many stakeholders (from big companies to individuals) with an interest in shaping the future of the web met.

The venue, by me

I thought of doing a brief recap of what I got from the event. How fortunate you are.

On stage:


Different approaches by the major browser vendors about how to goes around tracking of users by third parties (from “no tracking for all” to “the consumers really want targeted ads, so what should we do, subtract something from the beautiful experience they are having?”).

Plus a powerful warning from Selena Deckelmann that while browsers might have problems, they are still restricting what a website is allowed to do; applications, on the other hand, have virtually unlimited control over your device, and app stores do not have an amazing track-record in doing the gate-keeping (said by a browser vendor, so take it in perspective). So her final call was: “de-install apps!”.


Resource could mean many things, but mainly was meaning either network usage or, less importantly CPU, battery, and memory usage.

The idea here is that many countries do not enjoy great/cheap connections or powerful devices, but they are still surfing the web and they are possible consumers of services. Plus information like the fact that even in the USA 30% of mobile devices are very low end, so there is a huge request for leaner websites.

Here the problem is from an ethical point of view, but it’s aligned with a more pragmatic approach: users of the web are also consumers.

And even for more modern markets/segments, expectations are very high so performances are a fundamental requirement.


Coil presented the general ecosystem they are trying to create + their role in it. It’s basically an “add-on” on the current web, where you would have an extension for your browser that will send something like 0.36 euro/hour to the sites that you are browsing (and then cascading to the content creators).

What this technology requires?

On the consumer side, you need the browser extension + putting some money on an appropriate wallet.

On the websites side they should add detection of whether the visitor is already subscribed/have a wallet, and reward him with a banner that says “you are great” + disabling advertisements/other form of monetizations that are in place + a wallet to receive transactions.

It seemed a serious push, there is a standardization committee and all, and even some pocket money to get everything started. I don’t think it is directly connected with what we do (fortunately), but it sounded interesting.


Compatibility between browsers was seen as a huge pain point by everyone (some preliminary result of MDN’s Developers & Designers surveys were presented + other talks).

Also there was huge presence of people from the various standardization committees. They were trying to convey the idea that contribution in various forms are welcome.

Photograph: Science History Images/Alamy Stock Photo


Broad topic, to be intended in various way, from avoiding a single benevolent browser vendor (while all the presentations were run in Chrome!), to try to set in place examples slightly less stereotypical of software developers. On this last bit I have mixed feelings, the speakers were very diverse, but a lot could still be done, since for example of the hundreds of people cited on stage, only 3 were women (and only one ever wrote any software).

CSS is gangsta 😎

and hard to master. And a real language.

Wasm is gangsta 😎

and not so difficult to approach.

In particular for me I hadn’t heard of AssemblyScript, a TypeScript-inspired language that translate directly to Web Assembly. I will check it out.

Off stage:

It was possible to collect amazing stickers, enjoy elaborated finger food, and interacting with the other attendees.

During the breaks, conversation corners were organized around the space to host more structured conversations and more spontaneous groups formed to chat.

One general feeling I got is that people were generally happy and satisfied about their job. There is a lot of self-selection bias, so it’s hard to gather anything general from it, but it’s energizing to see persons happy and proud to talk about their craft.

Also having a professional twitter account seems a thing. It seems tempting, but still a no for me.

And there was even a post-conference party.

Slides of the talks are not up yet, but should hopefully be up soon here: https://2019.viewsourceconf.org/#.

To the next year, ViewSource!



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