3 predictions for the web and platforms in 2017

Following on from my list of the things that I am excited about on the web in 2017 here are three predictions of things that I think will happen in 2017 based off reading tea-leaves and random musings of things that I have 0 direct knowledge of but I might do if I was "them".

OMG, I sound like a conspiracy theorist.

Prediction 1: Swift in the browser.

More specifically, Swift will compile to WASM (Web Assembly) properly and be supported.

I don't believe we will see Cocoa or *Kit APIs from iOS ported yet, but it would certainly be a nice story to have transportable code across all of mobile that includes more traditional iOS developers.

The more I think about it, the more potential that WASM has in the web ecosystem with the Web and the browser (or WebView) being a universal runtime without the need for plugins that allows a developer on any platform to be able to target any other platform with relative ease.

Prediction 2: React is the platform.

You create components and your app using a higher level language (JSX) and you create your logic etc with your preferred language. You compile to "WASM" and you can deploy into Facebook, AppStores and on the Web but you are using the native components of each of the platforms you are running in all through one code-base.

Prediction 3: Facebook launch an app platform across Facebook on mobile

Facebook follow WeChat's lead and launch an app platform in the Facebook "runtime" (read: any of the facebook apps). Where Facebook is their internal platform for games and apps, but also by extending the Open Web by providing custom APIs that can be hooked into through a WebView.

A lot of this is based off my thinking in Rise of the Meta platforms and it is arguable that Facebook quite likely already has one of the largest user-bases for a web browser on mobile and they would like to provide more value to their users.


The more I think about it the more that I see mobile platforms in particular wanting to have the benefits of reach of the web: the reach, the security model and the ability to have users instantly access those experiences without an explicit install, whilst enabling their developers in their ecosystem to target their platform primarily, thus remaining in their ecosystem but reaching other platforms without the need to invest directly in the other ecosystem.

None of these three predictions might be inherently bad. Bringing more developers and users to the platform with the benefits of the web is a good thing.

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.

I love to learn about what you are building, and how I can help with Chrome or Web development in general, so if you want to chat with me directly, please feel free to book a consultation.

I'm trialing a newsletter, you can subscribe below (thank you!)