ReactFoo 2019

India's largest React conference

Building Web Apps like it's 1972

Submitted by Leandro Ostera (@ostera) on Thursday, 13 December 2018

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Technical level

Intermediate

Section

Full talk

Status

Submitted

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Abstract

46 years have passed since the dawn of the Xerox Alto machine and its
incredible UI and UX, brought straight from the future. Smalltalk,
Message-passing, and a balanced mix of Functional and Object-oriented
Programming made it all possible; a mix later to be quietly rediscovered as the
Actor-model.

Fast forward to today, and we find that the whole of the web seems to repeat
itself over and over again. The experiences that we can support and develop
efficiently are limited by the technology that we have chosen to be ubiquitous.
HTML,CSS, Javascript, are found everywhere but may be too low-level and thus
limiting.

What can be learned from what people built over 4 decades ago? What are the
lessons within Smalltalk, Erlang, Self, the Alto computer, and other
achievements of the past? Let’s explore together a world we owe cursors,
dropdowns and windows to, and bring new user experiences straight from the
future!

Outline

I’ll be doing a time-line of what’s happened since the first UI, what the technologies that were available and were used around the time were.

From there I’ll be describing certain characteristics that those tools had, and I will draw parallels to how we are building UIs nowadays.

The tradeoffs we make between “easy” and “powerful”, will be evident. Wheree Javascript is “easy” (familiar syntax, single-thread of execution, etc), Smalltalk is “powerful” (the language disappears under your own abstractions, easily parallelizable, etc).

And I will end with a call to action to question how we do things, and to not fall in the trap of “Framework”-developer that believes their framework will save them from mediocrity.

Speaker bio

PLT, CategoryTheory, DistSys, UX. Gestaltingenieur wanna-be. Organizes @ReasonSTHLM. Engineering @Spotify

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