I want to share my thinking with you, and to refine my thoughts with feedback from developers.
About Me: Paul Kinlan
I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.
We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.
Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on web.dev, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.
After the Chrome Dev Summit, I had the chance to take some time off and spend it with my family, and during the downtime I got to think about all that has happened over the last year. I'm incredibly proud of my team and how they responded to the crisis that hit the world this year - we built tools like web.dev/covid to give developers advice on how to keep sites up and running, set up a forum for public services support during the lock-downs; ran web.
The web is a powerful thing, with the right capabilities you can create tools and services that can be deployed without a central authority and can also deeply integrate with the peoples devices. I love being able to tinker and scratch an itch quickly. The itch in question was that I'm a heavy user of .new domains and I wanted a quick way to have access to them on my Android home screen so that I can start a task without having to find the app, go through its menus and then create the "new" thing.
My daughter is attending nursery school and every day they post photos of the baby to a special portal so we can see what she has been doing. The web site, is, err, well... functional. However they block the ability to download the photos in their UI, I've no clue why, but it's super frustrating. I love Bookmarklet because they let me quickly augment a site without having to build a full extension, and this is no exception.
I run a static site, it's built with Hugo and hosted on the edge with Vercel. Sometimes, I just want to include a small piece of server-side logic (Copyright notice anyone?) without having to spin up a complex node server or api endpoints. Sometimes I want to be able to drop a small piece of dynamic content in one single page on my static site. That's what I loved about Apache mod_include.
I've been learning a bit of Japanese for a little while now and whilst I find it very hard, I was quite happy to have read this book to my daughter today though!
I'm currently building a simple web app and I needed a simple templating engine that can stream dynamically generated responses to the network. It's hard to build sites that are fast. One known pattern for building sites that render quickly is to ensure that the browser gets the HTML as quickly as possible. Yet, many of the tools (middleware and templating engines) that developers use to build sites wait for the response from the server application to be completely created before they are put on to the wire and send to the client.
Idly browsing the web whilst I'm on paternity leave and saw that I have a lot of open tabs. :D
I thought this was rather cool and I discovered it by accident, but it looks like Twitter implemented shortcuts. It's great to see web sites and web apps being able to do things that users expect installed applications to be able to do.
I love view-source, it's a nifty super power of the web that nearly all mobile browsers are trying to kill. Not exactly sure why. View-source is what got me into web development because I could see how other people structured their pages, and at the time I started web development it was pretty much the only way to debug web pages. I've also been using my iPad Pro whilst I am not at work for the next month or so.
Sometimes when I am on my mobile, I just want quick access to the JS console so that I can see what is going on inside the web page: Does the page have any logs, warnings or errors etc; without having to plug my phone into a laptop and hooking up to Chrome DevTools. I really wish you could use DevTools more easily on a mobile device. That being said, I have a partial solution that solves my problem.
I love Bookmarklets, they let you quickly customise web sites in a lighter way than a Chrome extension, and for the longest time (5 years), I thought it wasn't possible to run Bookmarklets on Chrome on Android. It turns out, I was wrong. You just can't run them the traditional way. The way that most people access Bookmarks on Android doesn't let you run a Bookmarklet, i.e, via "Select Bookmarks" in the main menu;
Picture in Picture is an amazing API, it let's you keep on working in another tab but have a little playable live thumbnail of the video on the screen for you to keep up with. Yet there are a number of sites that disable the feature. I just wanted a quick and easy access button that I can press in my browser that will just PIP the video. So I made a bookmarklet.
This is mostly for me to remember. I needed to build a mapping of DevRel support to Blink Components, and I really didn't want to have to manually work out all the components by hand. If you want to get a list of components in Blink, there is a file that has all the details you need. If you are Promise inclined, here is a quick way to do it.
One of my favourite activities is driving, specifically through hilly terrain, and North Wales is one of my preferred places to drive. As is my want, I normally pass through Llangollen. For those who don't know, Llangollen is a town in North Wales that is set on the River Dee, and during the summer months when it's flow is slower than normal you can go out onto the rocks and paddle a little bit (warning: the flow is still strong).
I forgot that Scroll to Text fragment was a thing that is launching soon in Chrome (81 and not 80 as mentioned in Chrome Status), until I saw this Tweet. I love this feature, it let's you link to more than just named elements. Domenic Denicola asked if there was an extension that did this. I don't think you need one, because bookmarklets are awesome and underused. I decieded that it should be pretty quick to write up a simple bookmarklet that creates a link with a scroll to text anchor that you can share with people.
It's my 10 year anniversary at Google today, and I've had an incredible time. I've been able to work on Chrome for the entire time here, starting as the most junior member to be being able to run a great team of passionate Developer Advocates, Developer Programs Engineers, Tech Writers, Program Managers and Developer Marketers all whose goal is to focus on helping make web development easier and better (sometimes with a Chrome focus, most of the time an holistic focus of Cross browsers).