Meta Refresh 2013

The design and engineering of user interface on the web

How to defend the Web

Submitted by Shwetank Dixit (@shwetank) on Jan 7, 2013

Section: Process Technical level: Intermediate Session type: Lecture Status: Confirmed & Scheduled


We Web Developers focus most of the time on the 'Developers' part and sometimes forget the 'Web' Part.

We'll focus on the 'Web' part here and see how not to sink in the trap of taking shortcuts at the expense of the Web.


The Web is under attack, more now than ever. We'll see how and why, as well as what happens when developers fail to defend the Web - Because sometimes the best way to learn is to see what NOT to do.

We'll cover how developers (in small companies or huge corporations - doesn't matter) neglect various portions of the population, thereby going against the very philosophy of the Web. We'll have case studies of how even the biggest of companies have screwed up in the past, and what you can do to not repeat those mistakes. In each case study, we'll also cover what the company should have done and how it could have ended up being beneficial for everyone involved.

We'll cover why browser sniffing is evil (and the small exceptions when they might be okay), the correct ways to do feature detection, testing on various platforms (and how to make it as easy as possible), semantics and why they are usefull, and above all else - the philosophy of the Web... How and why you - Dear Front End Developer - should be defending it.

The future of the Web is really in your hands - Don't let it down. Learn from others and make you and the Web stronger.

Speaker bio

I work in the Developer Relations Team at Opera Software evangelizing Open standards and best practices for the Web. Over the years I have talked to the biggest and smallest of web properties, and advised them on better ways to make their site better.

I work for a browser company, have interacted with many different people in the web industry, and have an up close and somewhat unique insight into this particular topic. How so? I'll explain in the talk.

My articles and thoughts have been published in, .Net Magazine, PCQuest, Electronics4U, DeveloperFusion, the India-China Chronicle and more. I'm also part of the W3C Mobile Web for Social Development Group, and a few others.

Twitter: @shwetank Website:


  • Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jace) Crew 7 years ago

    The topic’s important, but the negative positioning could be counterproductive. The web triumphed over proprietary platforms because it’s almost always cheaper and more secure – because using it is not automatically helping the cause of someone else’s monopoly. This is what will keep the web going. If developers are making mistakes, it could be:

    1. Their employers can’t afford better trained developers, or
    2. The developers don’t know what they don’t know, or are misinformed on what it costs (in time, money and server resources) to do it right.

    In either case, showing folks how easy and affordable it is do it the right way is a more positive approach.

  • Shwetank Dixit (@shwetank) Proposer 7 years ago

    easy and affordable

    Yes, thats the plan … to have an emphasis on that once I explain what things sometimes go wrong. The intention is to have something which highlights some mistakes, talks about the philosophy of the Web but at the same time covering technical aspects too.

    The reasons you listed out definitely do exist, but in my experience, there are a few other reasons too, which I’d like to cover. Sometimes the mistake is from the developer, sometimes the managers and sometimes there are other issues too.

    Ultimately, its all the about the way the talk is delivered. You can cover negative topics too in a positive way (for example, infusing a dash of humour or sarcasm into it). The point is not to bash anyone, rather to learn, gain insight and improve.

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