The second edition of Full Stack Fest took place in the city of Barcelona on early September, and Akuaro World was there. We already talked a bit about our impressions of the event, but we also had the opportunity to ask a couple of questions to some of the speakers that gave talks during that week, and now we leave you with the answers from one of them. You can check two other interviews on our site, as well as watch the keynotes themselves in Codegram’s YouTube channel.

Making a case for the progressive web, Houssein Djirdeh works on both web and mobile development with JavaScript at Rangle.io, North America’s largest front-end development firm. His talk at Full Stack Fest, called Once You Go PRPL…, focused on the PRPL Pattern and how to use it to build faster and more reliable single-page applications. This was his first time ever visiting Barcelona: he loved the city and is sure he’ll come back again.

How would you describe your job to a non-coder?

I build websites, web applications (websites that allow you to do a bit more than just show documents, like Facebook, for example) and mobile applications.

Not so long ago there was talk of the web dying off in favor of other platforms, like mobile applications. However, it’s now obvious that’s not the case, and in fact we’re seeing new ways to use the web, like progressive apps. Why do you think the web is still going strong after all these years, and how do you see it continuing in the future?

I think it all really comes down to if there are people who are still willing to use their laptops and desktop machines to do things. Smartphones took the world by storm and we can now do things on mobile devices that many of us never thought possible 10 years ago. But the fact of the matter is there is still a need to do things on a wider screen. Whether we tend to watch videos on YouTube, fill out forms to buy insurance, browse our favourite social media sites, write documents and spreadsheets for work and so forth: the fact of the matter is quite a large number of us prefer to use a desktop or laptop machine to do this. This, in my opinion, is the most important reason why the web will still be present and will only continue to be more relevant on all types of devices in the years to come.

Last year, mobile web traffic finally surpassed desktop traffic. In terms of support, and from your experience, do you think the web is ready to meet that mobile demand, and why?

My talk at Full Stack Fest talks about how we’re far more likely to land on a webpage on our mobile browsers than we are a native application we haven’t seen before. Although we as consumers tend to spend a lot more time on native applications on our smartphones and tablets than the mobile web, this still goes to show how important it is to build websites and web applications that work well in all devices.

In the past 5 years or so, there has been a wave of new front-end technologies that have allowed us to move past the simple, document-centric, and server-rendered webpages that made up the majority of existent webpages. This has allowed us to build single-page applications with more client-side logic allowing users to interact with our applications in ways they couldn’t before. Unfortunately, this usually comes with the cost of sending a large JavaScript bundle down the wire to the browser from the server.

Now we’re all used to building these applications on more powerful desktop machines and laptops and although it may seem that these applications load and work just fine, users with lower end mobile devices and weaker network connections have to unfortunately endure much longer page load times in order for the JavaScript thread to settle and they can interact with the app. This is because mobile devices are not nearly as powerful as the machines we develop on which means parse and compile times are going to be longer.

I think businesses and developers are beginning to realize more and more that this is an issue. With the current landscape the way it is, there are quite a few libraries/frameworks/techniques that people are building and designing to make sure we can continue to build client-side heavy applications but also keep in mind users who use a weaker device and have no or flaky internet connection.