Stuck in the Delta Lounge at JFK on the way back home, can you think of a better time to reflect on DevConnections sessions? As I get ready for reflection, I also feel the need to curse on Alitalia that doesn’t check me in online and requires me to walk through another layer of security to check in face to face on a code-share flight.
At DevConnections I held a workshop on building device-friendly websites and also gave a couple of sessions on the accidental relationships between DDD and Entity Framework and enhanced web input forms. I had a bit of discussion with attendees and other people of the role of RWD in the building of responsive sites. Here’s a summary of my workshop. By the way, the source code is here.
No, I just try to fight the blindfolded perspective that RWD is all you need and device detection is nefarious and the clear sign that you’re not doing a good job of designing and architecting your site. At the conference I also attended another talk on RWD and got illuminated when the speaker put an encyclopedic citation of an “expert” saying something along the lines of “we cannot have a single design for each application–we must upgrade to having a single design that works in all cases”.
It’s that RWD stems from a designer’s–not developer’s–mind and vision. Developers, though, do a different job. Developers SHOULD be ready to focus on use-cases when they emerge out of requirements. Because devices exist and make a point of providing a unique experience, treating them as they’re all the same is against common sense. I grinned then when the speaker with a serious expression admitted that, yes, beyond aforementioned wonders, RWD does have the problem of performance. Really? OMG.
In the end, RWD is an excellent first-aid for setting up responsive sites. If experience is good, performance is good and nobody complains then all is good whether you used Bootstrap for it or your own combination of HTML5+CSS+JS. When you start getting complaints, then fixing RWD may really become expensive. Thinking that RWD can be applied tout-court and those who detect devices are a bunch of idiots who are not as smart as you is a plain distortion of the reality.
My workshop just showed the two faces of the coin. It showed facts and numbers (rather than astonishing demos) and left conclusions to developers.