With Amsterdam being one of the startup hubs in Europe, they definitely chose an adequate location to present the future of web development. The Muziekgebouw, the city’s music hall situated on the waterfront, provided an amazing venue for this event.
The summit started on Monday, 14 September, with a code lab. I was surprised how many people actually came and obviously so were the organizers. Registration went rather slow and power plugs didn’t work, but the worst part was Wi-Fi. It just wasn’t designed to serve 300 IT guys at the same time and barely didn’t work throughout the conference. For the code lab, it was hard to follow the exercises and download the tools without a reliable internet connection. As a consequence, people left early or just socialized and discussed modern web development.
I didn’t expect a Google backed event having these issues, but well, it was Polymer team’s first event so the next one will be perfect. The code lab is available online. Give it a try and see how it feels to create web apps with Polymer!
The second day was packed with talks from the Polymer team and there was one central claim within all of them:
There’s an element for that!
Whatever forms a single unit of action or control can be made into a custom HTML element, including structure, styling and behavior.
The Polymer Summit had a wide diversity of talks. The team gave an overview of Polymer’s pre-built elements ranging from simple UI controls to AJAX calls and even complex authentication via Google accounts. This is what “There’s an element for that!” means.
The guys from Google’s design team delivered insight into Google’s Material Design and how these design principles were embraced in Polymer’s Paper elements. Other talks were about Polymer supporting cutting-edge technology like EcmaScript 2015 (or: ES 6), Web Bluetooth API, Service Workers and HTTP 2.0.
One emotional highlight was Laura Palmoro’s introduction to “Accessibility with Polymer”, telling her personal story of sudden loss of vision at the age of 14. I had never been concerned about accessibility much before but Alice and Laura’s talk taught me how easy it is to make life easier for people with disabilities with just a few attributes.
The summit closed with an Q&A session which I hoped could give me some information about Google’s strategy concerning web development. With Polymer and Angular JS there are two Google projects for modern web application development out now. While they surely have a different scope, it is not clear if they will be compatible or even merge somehow. There is very few information about Angular JS 2.0 on the web. From the Polymer team’s point of view it might not even be important, because Polymer can already be used independently to build web apps based on Web Components. Angular JS 2.0 might bring the framework around.