The web that never was

As we look to improve the way we work with the ecosystem, we've heard a lot that people like to hear stories about how other developers (large and small) have been successful so they can help them make a decision on their next steps. These stories help developers reduce their apprehension of adopting tools, apis and patterns and allow them to make the case for using the technology in their own specific context.

The recent Photoshop on the Web is an example of a story that has interested many developers in some of the capabilities of the platform that they weren't either aware of, or willing to investigate.

I think we will have the web development success stories covered, but it got me thinking. As I was writing missing the trajectory it occurred to me that for every React, there are lots of other tools and libraries that never reached the same mind-share. For every CSS grid specification, there's a CSS Regions. For every success case study, there's an inherent survivor-ship bias attached to it.

I've decided to start a small, slow-burning side project that collects the stories of web development technologies, tools and APIs that showed promise but ultimately never made the leap into the minds of the ecosystem. Working on my own projects that have not made the leap there's often a lot positive moments of fun, excitement, pivots, ideas, and conversations that no one will ever know, and that's a shame. There's also frequently a lot of a stress and frustration that I think sometimes is healthy to share so we can all learn.

I'd like to raise the voices of people that work to create amazing things but didn't get the recognition because it didn't. Ultimately, I would like to understand (blamelessly) how projects and ideas grow or not, and if it's possible along the way share the history and story so that we can all learn from them and also celebrate the people innovating on the web no matter their success.

I'll start with my own Web Intents (there's a lot of detail in that post) and I will create a more personal post with the behind-the-scenes team work we did that.

If you have (or know of) a project that you think would be good to share the story of, please get in contact with me (email, twitter, book a meeting). I'd love to just talk to you at first, and then if possible share the story.


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, 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.

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