YUI Theater: Douglas Crockford, “Web Forward”

By YUI TeamOctober 17th, 2008

Douglas Crockford speaks at Yahoo on October 9, 2008.

Douglas keynoted our 2008 Frontend Engineering Summit here at Yahoo last week. In this talk, "Web Forward," he proposes that the standards processes have stagnated, leaving us with an inadequate platform and no orderly mechanism for improving it. The solution, he suggests, is a disorderly mechanism: another browser war. In a new browser war, the web engineering community will face short-term pain but the Web’s larger user community, upwards of a billion people, will ultimately benefit as new ideas bubble to the top. The best of the new ideas can then be incorporated into a new generation of standards once they’ve been vetted by the community and proven in practice.

Slides (PPT) from the talk are available here:

Douglas Crockford: "Web Forward" @ Yahoo! Video

download (m4v)

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  1. Ummm, correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Douglas previously state that the browser wars were a bad thing because each iteration of a browser introduced new bugs rather than fixing old ones? Didn’t he also say that IE’s killing of Netscape Navigator brought enough stability to the market to allow for innovations such as Ajax?

    Just sayin’, maybe a new browser war isn’t such a great idea.

  2. That’s right, I’m a flipflopper. The only thing worse than where we were is where we are. But good idea or not, it is on.

    IE didn’t kill Netscape. Netscape self destructed.

  3. [...] this must-see video, Crockford meticulously outlined the history and the cost of painfully slow, still inconsistent, [...]

  4. Making mistakes and correcting them not only should be allowed, but required.

    To comment on the master of the workarounds part of the talk, I couldn’t agree more. The fact that many years of web development experience has only resulted in the ability to make eloquent compromises worries me to no end. Creativity can result from restraint, but rarely from required compromise.

    Furthermore, wishing that everything will work out by bad standards going the way of Netscape isn’t enough. Someone needs to set example by making something non-standard that works better than the existing alternative before anyone whose opinion matters will listen – no matter how clear the message.

  5. It’s kind of like voting for a president. I find myself voting for the least of two evils.

    Looking at the browser war, and then the period of stability, one might suggest a series of wars and periods of stability where each war brings in new things, and each period of stability gives us time to figure out how to use those things best. ;)

  6. Are we not seeing a pseudo standards war now? What about the Acid tests?

    Opera and Safari racing to be the first to perfect the Acid 3 test and IE 8 working on Acid 2.

    What if the Acid 4 test was based on browser security? What is stopping a new body that is less politically cumbersome push new innovative standards?