July 23, 2013

North American Power’s Steven Meek Talks HTML5 Ahead of DevCon5

With the approach of the DevCon5 conference in NYC, a lot of developers are getting ready for the big show, polishing up exhibits and getting ready to not only see some of the biggest new events but also get a chance to talk with others in the industry. Ahead of the big event, set to run July 24 – 25 at the Kimmel Center at New York University, the chief technology officer for North American Power, Steven Meek, took a few moments to talk with us about developments in HTML5.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to Meek is how long HTML5 has taken to adopt. North American Power, according to Meek, has only been able to start dropping some browser support and launch projects without workarounds only within the last two years. When asked about interoperability issues, thanks to the growth of different Frameworks, JavaScript and Apperating Systems, Meek suggested it’s all addressed on something of a case-by-case basis depending on the requirements for that project. Backend systems will commonly be met with Dojo, for example, while jQuery often steps in for other purposes.

For developers just starting in HTML5, Meek recommends looking to the exceptions, and finding “the wackiest looking site that tries to defy the standard box-model DOM system we rely on.” From there, “take a screenshot of it and attempt to code it like you received a PSD from a bad designer.” Meek also recommended keeping the code as semantic as possible, compatible down to both IE 7 and IE 8, and if it can work on mobile, then the greatest challenges are well in hand.

Meek further expects the mobile and desktop Web to become one entity before too much longer as companies find it more cost-effective to develop just one version across multiple platforms, and expecting all HTML5 sites to be good is an expectation too far, as the ultimate quality of same depends on a variety of factors from content to user base to be truly determined. As for the cloud, Meek regards it as “merely a hosting platform,” though notes that cloud platforms are a positive effort to improve accessibility for developers that don’t have advanced sysadmin skills.

Meek also doesn’t favor the personal following system on github, instead using it as a “code repository.” Meek uses several other programming and technology feeds, however, to keep up with developments, and there are many to keep up with as Meek says that all of his work now involves HTML5 in some way, thanks mainly to North American Power’s status as an early adopter. Though there were a lot of workarounds needing to be used in the early days, removing some of these will be possible likely by the end of the year. But when it comes to the questions that most don’t consider, Meek suggests looking in the direction of emerging Web development practices and the software to carry same out.

But perhaps most interestingly, Meek is looking forward to DevCon5 as a way to “see who’s out there and interested,” with a hope to engage in some good old fashioned technological conversations or even a few arguments. Meek is likely to get plenty of same, given that he will be conducting two panels himself at the event, both the "Intro to jQuery Mobile" and the subsequent "More About jQuery Mobile" panels. The "Intro" panel is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, July 24 and the "More" panel will follow both it and lunch that same day to start at 1:30 p.m.

The DevCon5 show has a lot more than that to offer as well, with a host of issues ranging from game development to improving website speeds and beyond. Those with any interest in HTML5, therefore, will likely find something waiting to inspire or answer a question at DevCon5.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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