What Makes the Web Epic

Kent C. Dodds
Kent C. Dodds

Kent C. Dodds opens up the Epic Web Conference with a talk celebrating the aspects of the web that make it awesome (and epic).

The talk, themed "What makes the web epic," opened with Kent expressing enthusiasm about the developments in web technologies and acknowledging the pivotal contributions of web developers through time. The talk celebrated the evolution and resilience of the web in the modern tech era.

Major highlights of the discussion included the reflection on the Webs diversity, flexibility, resilience, and universality. The web's commitment to users, compatibility with older content, and ubiquity across devices and platforms were underscored. Kent emphasized the importance of web standards and preservation in aligning with Tim Berners-Lee's vision of a universally accessible web.

Diverse uses of web technologies also featured in the talk, showcasing their application in automated tasks, household appliances, and even space technology. The web was celebrated as a platform for diverse experiences.

The collaborative ecosystem of the web is another noteworthy point in the talk. Kent acknowledged the importance of community contributions in continually driving the web's innovation and advancement.

The talk concluded with an encouraging note for web developers, stressing the crucial role you play in shaping the web's future, and inspiring you to continue innovating, experimenting, and developing on the web platform.

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This is a dream come true. I've wanted to put on a conference for the web for a long

time. I ran RemixConf two years in a row, and when I went back to doing full-time teaching, I was like, okay, I'm going to do a conference for Epic Web. And so I'm just so grateful to all of you for trusting me and our team for coming out here. Some of you traveled

over 20 hours, which blows my mind. I really hope you're not disappointed. But I am so thrilled with the amazing people we have here and the speakers. This is awesome. I want to talk with you about what makes the web epic. That is not a period. That is my cursor,

and it is moving away. Before we do that, though, whoops, oh my gosh, there we go. We're going to wake up. Everybody, please stand up. Yes, we're excited. We're going to get our bodies moving. Blood flow is important for your brain, and so we're going to get our blood flowing. I want you to put your arms out in front of you like this. I was

so tempted to be like, all right, now let's all do a backflip, but no, we're not going to do that. It would be the worst if I like broke my neck on stage, so we're not going to do that. We're going to squat down and come back up. This is an air squat. That was just a practice. We're going to do 12 of these together. Ready? One, you got to count out

loud with me, two, yes, three, I like that commitment, four, five, you're doing so great, six, seven, we're over halfway, eight, nine, ten, let's start over, one, no, just kidding, and 12. All right, stretch up over your head as high as you can, and then even higher than

that, and then stretch over to one side, and over to the other. Then you can tuck your shirts back in and all that. Go ahead and sit down. Thank you. Yes, get that blood flow. I went on a run this morning with the sanity crew. They did a run this morning and got

my blood flowing, but you all missed out. Let's first talk about what we're doing here. What am I trying to do by running a conference about my course? That's what some people are thinking. He made a course and now he's making a conference. Is the whole conference just going to be him teaching his course? I thought about that for one second. I was like, that's

a terrible idea. No, what we're here about is the web. It's a celebration of the amazing progress that we've all made on the web over the decades that the web has been around. Some of you have been around for that entire time, and I'm just really impressed. You're

kind of old. Just kidding, John. I'm just joking. Really, the web has gone so many places, and while Epic Web is really focused on giving you a consistent experience for how we build web applications, specifically with the Epic Stack, and everything in the Epic Stack is

pretty opinionated, and so you can jump on the Epic Stack and you'll probably be great and you won't have to worry about analysis, paralysis, all of that stuff. And so while I have an opinionated way of building the web and teaching how to build for the web, the people that I have invited to join me on this stage later today, they don't all

share those exact same opinions. But if you drew a Venn diagram of the way that we build for the web, there's so much overlap. One of the people who was just on this stage is on the Angular team. I don't use Angular. I did, and I loved it, but I use React now.

But we have a lot of overlap on the stuff that we enjoy. I think it's kind of funny, actually, that we opened this conference by talking about QBasic. But that's the beautiful thing about this, is that there are just so many ways to build on the web. The web can

take you so far. So that's what we're doing here. I want to give you a consistent experience of this is a consistent way to build for the web. You're not going to hear opinions that are conflicting on this stage, even though we all have different ways of building for

the web, because there's just so much room for all of us. So I want to start with a bit of a story of how I got into the web. I was programming as a, like, I had an end in mind. I wasn't programming for fun or anything. I had a job

to do. It was really repetitive, and I thought, you know what, I could probably write a program to do some of this repetitive stuff. Didn't enjoy it at all. And it wasn't until I discovered the web and JavaScript that it actually became a thing that I would do because I enjoyed doing it. I also, of course, like, you want to have a task you're trying to accomplish, but not

always, right? Sometimes you're just doing it for fun. And so here's something I did. This was actually for a class assignment that I did when I was in school, and I worked on it with a friend, but it was kind of cool. SpendMyCents.com doesn't, I took it down a

while ago, but, because it, like, cost me money and stuff. But the idea was, you have a gift card on Amazon for a certain amount of money, and you're trying to spend it, you don't know what to spend it on, so you type in the amount that gift card is for, and it'll tell you stuff on Amazon that's for that exact price. I actually think that's kind of a cool idea, right?

But yeah, it doesn't work anymore if you go to SpendMyCents.com. I am not responsible for whatever you see. And then there's this. InfiniteWPM. This is an iframe. So you could put in some code, or anything that you like, and then you could look like you're a hacker.

Look at this! Oh no, I exited full screen. And I, this was just a fun thing. This is actually an AngularJS project, fun fact. So we are running AngularJS before we run React on this project, or in this conference. But yeah, it was just a fun little thing. But

here's the thing about these fun little things, is that, there we go, and many others that I built in my early days, and even in my current days as a web developer, they're really bad.

I can only imagine the Ryan Roast that I would get on some of these apps. And I don't want Sandrina to go to any of these apps for the accessibility problems that I'm sure she

would find. There are lots of problems with these apps. But I loved it anyway. It was awesome. And I loved it for a couple of reasons. There were a couple of things that made this more special than the stuff that I was doing before the web. I didn't need any permission

from anybody to put this up on the internet. Nobody had to approve my app. I love that. They wouldn't have done it if they could. That was an iframe into an app that's like

a decade old. So it still runs. If I cared to still run spendmysense.com, all that stuff would still run. The web didn't break my app. And I had instant distribution like I didn't have before. With the programming that I was doing before, I'd be like, hey, mom,

look at this jar file that I made. She's not going to do anything with that. And I figured out some way to make an exe, but like, mom, don't open random exes that you dumb off from the internet. But with the web, it's just a URL. Like, mom, look at this URL. And she's

like, yeah, that's great. I have no idea what you're talking about, but yeah, wonderful. So I loved that. That's a really special thing about the web is that we have those. Tim Berners-Lee said if I had to pick one thing that was crucial to the design of the web, it would be universality.

That's universality in the devices that it can run in. It runs everywhere. The access that people have should be accessible by everybody. If you don't know who Tim Berners-Lee is, he's a web developer. He's actually the first web developer. He was the developer of the web,

inventor of the web. And his ideas of what the web should be is a big part of what the web is now and the ideas of the web in general even today. He's still a very active member of the

web community, which is super cool. So first I want to talk about the web being open. There's no central authority. Nobody can say, no, you can't have that app on the web. Now, I know some of you are thinking there are some exceptions to this. Of course, you could have the platform

de-platform you or whatever. But in general, there's no one authority that can say, nope, you can't be on there. You're not allowed. I love that. I think that's an awesome part of the web. You can just put it up on a server. It's accessible over HTTP. The web doesn't break our stuff. My

old stuff still works. In fact, the entire ethos of the web is don't break the web. When I was on the TC39 representing PayPal, the standard body that's responsible for standardizing ECMAScript,

which is a specification for JavaScript, I heard this over and over again. I'm sure that W3C is the same way. It's very important that we don't break the web. I know some of you are thinking, oh, yeah, well, the web broke me when they said no more cookies in such and such place,

whatever. That's a security change. You know, like, you call that a bug fix. Sometimes, you depend on bug fixes or depend on bugs. And the bugs, it gets fixed and it broke you. Yes, that does happen everywhere. But the idea is we don't want to break the web. That app that you

built in 1995 when JavaScript was first invented, that should still run. That's the core idea.

And even amazing sites like this from back in 1999. This is how I hypnotize the entire audience.

The most hilarious thing. But this is an iFrame. This is not a video I recorded back in the 90s. This is an iFrame into the 90s. I think that's cool. It's something that he was about to say,

your only limit is yourself, which is inspiring. We're getting inspired by the 90s, some random person. But you can commit to the web because the web will commit to you. And I think that is great. The web is everywhere. It's in URLs, so you can distribute it wherever you want to go. It's in

everything, everywhere. So for example, it's on your desktop. I know a lot of people like to joke about like, I got Chrome running like 30 times on my desktop. But it is. It's amazing that we have that. I hope there's nothing in here that I took this screenshot really quickly. I think Matt is

actually in here. And it's also in your Discord. And ScriptKit. How many of you are using ScriptKit? This thing rocks. If you aren't using ScriptKit, go look up ScriptKit. I use JavaScript to automate

so many things on my computer, which is super cool. And of course, VS Code. How many of you are using VS Code? Yeah, VS Code rocks. I know WebStorm is great. NeoVim, I don't know. But yeah, cool. It's all written with web platform technologies. That is so cool.

And I'm sure, like, I didn't spend a lot of time to really look into this, but you cannot convince me that it's not in TVs, like at least in the apps. That's totally running in TVs. It's probably

running in refrigerators and toasters. I was about to ask if anybody owns that toaster, but you keep your shame to yourself. It's also running in space. Those are web components. I'm not super

into web components, but they are. And that's running Chromium web technologies in space on the Dragon Capsule. That is cool. The web is everywhere. It's also responsible for these pictures that we're getting from the James Webb Telescope. Web technologies. They're all over.

The web is everywhere. The web is also really capable. I've got a couple of cool demos. This is the cool part where I get to demo things other people have built, and you get to be impressed because I'm demoing it. You can do tons of stuff with the web. Oh, yeah, spoiler alert. That's

audio coming from the next slide. So yeah, there's my website. Like, that's cool. We all have cool stuff on the web. Don't forget to grab your Cody stickers on your way out. Oh, and on this, if you put your Cody sticker so that he's standing up in a tuck, he's upside down. He's

supposed to be doing a back flip. So make sure you get your Cody sticker the right orientation. These slides are also built with the web. So we could go through the whole slide deck right here. This is an iframe into itself, which is just amazing. And then some of you have seen this before. This has got to be one of the coolest portfolio sites

ever. Whoa. So like, oh, let's go look at his projects. 3GS Journey. Whoa, interesting. Like, can you believe this? This is the coolest thing. All running on the web. That's interesting.

How many of you have played Athenic Crisis? This is a game 100% web technology. Not even WebGL stuff. So I'm going to grab this guy. I'm going to attack this guy. Kablooey. Oh,

Kablooey back. Dang it. This is awesome. Not even WebGL stuff. I am actually amazed. That's what Christophe has done with that. And then this, like, you see demos like this all the time. Isn't that the coolest thing? And like, you can change some of the parameters and stuff.

Yeah, I'm a fan. I'm a fan. And like this. Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry. This. I mean, it's not all just like fun and games. It's also like actual real productive stuff that is built on the web. Not because the developers only care about JavaScript. I'm

in fact, some of them wish they could use other technologies to build their apps. But just so many things about the web make it a really great platform for building these types of experiences. Oh, yeah. And don't forget that you can run Node natively in the browser with web containers with

what StackBlitz is doing. Like, holy smokes. I mean, the web is pretty capable. Oh, and who wants to run Linux in the browser? An operating system, an entire freaking operating system. So yeah, the web is capable. There are certainly things that the web cannot do.

And we are on a mission to make it do more. And I think that is really cool. And last thing, the web is all of you. I know this is the corny part. So like, feel free to. But I'm serious. The web is the melting pot of ideas, because everybody's got to come here

at some point. Whatever you're building, almost anything in the software world is going to touch the web at some point. And so even if you're like, I like Ruby, and that's all I want to do, you've got to touch the web. Most Ruby developers are building web apps. Or you're like, in Python,

that's what you want to do. You're going to be in the web eventually. So we're bringing all sorts of different ideas of how to build applications into the web platform. That's why it's so big, because eventually, everybody lands here. And we have so many different ideas how to

build it. And that's super cool. I don't think that the web would be nearly what it is today if we didn't have the input from all these other communities having to come in and contribute in some way. So this is just the pictures of folks who submitted their pictures for your badge. So if you're not in here, it's not because I don't like you. It's just because you didn't submit

your picture. But all of you people here and the people watching online, I just want you to know that I think that you are awesome. And I'm so grateful to you for coming to this conference,

for bringing your positive energy into the web, and helping us build one of the coolest platforms for reaching the greatest audience that I can imagine. I don't know if we've gone all the way through. So I want to wait to make sure everybody gets. There we go. Awesome. So yeah, sure, the web

has problems. I'm the first to admit it. There are things I really think, well, that was a bad decision. Import specifier from module. Oh, import module from specifier. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, there

are certainly problems with the web. But we can fix those things. The web has undergone so many transformations over the years. You could not run Linux in the browser in 1995. That's just not a thing. But now you can. Do you want to? I don't know. But it's really wild experiments like that

that pushes it to the next level. And then you start having some really interesting things that you can, and user experiences that you can deliver to your users. And so I want you to fix those things. Make the web better. That's it, everybody. Thank you. You're epic web devs.

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