The Web of Applications

A Brief Overview

Robin Berjon, W3C HTML Editor / @robinberjon


  • Founded and led by Tim Berners-Lee
  • “Leading the Web to its Full Potential”
  • Worldwide consortium of ~380 members of all kinds
  • Permanent staff of 80, in 30 countries
  • 4 hosts, 20 offices


  • Web for All: Accessibility, Internationalisation, Social Development
  • Web on Everything: Mobile, TV, Automotive, Ubiquitous Web
  • Web Society: Privacy, Security, Open Data
  • Web of Rich Interaction: Multimedia, Programmable, Networked

The Web Today

Web Apps Are Here

  • You're looking at one
  • HTML5 “finished” in 2014, but already well deployed
  • Impressive speed of innovation
  • High-paced competition between browsers

So Mainstream…

…we often don't think of them


Screenshot of Facebook


Screenshot of Gmail

And many others…

Applicative Documents

Hybrid systems


  • Acceleration of work
  • Pushing more innovation to developers
  • High priority on “gap with native”

Closing the Gap

  • Functionality: already getting there
  • Discoverability: startups in this space
  • Payment: startups, but some regulatory concerns


  • Ensure maximal portability across all devices
  • Massive project, increasing community
  • Already tens of thousands of tests
  • Looking for additional funding

App Issues

“We’re not ‘appy.
Not ‘appy at all.”

  • Government Digital Service (GOV.UK),
  • Citizens massively use mobile web services
  • “Native apps are rarely justified”
  • Smartphone penetration makes apps bad for PSI
  • Higher cost, lower returns

Locked In The Supermarket

  • Paid apps institute a tax on switching
  • Alternative app stores not always accepted
  • Anticompetitive rules
  • Privatised censorship
  • E.g: the FT switch

Web Lock-In?

  • Some concerns
  • Has been resilient in the past
  • Antitrust authorities need to remain vigilant

Web Operating System


Tizen logo

Firefox OS

Firefox OS logo


  • Web apps are here
  • Portable, ubiquitous, open, standard
  • Some issues but making speedy progress
  • Huge volume of innovation in the pipeline
  • Always open to involvement

Thank you

Robin Berjon / / @robinberjon