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Online/Offline Equivalence: what our interplanetary tomorrow can teach us about building apps today

Chad Ostrowski · Full Stack Fest 2017

The Internet is a DISCUSSION. The Internet is MANY-TO- MANY. The Internet is CONTROLLED BY ITS PARTICIPANTS. The Internet is a GREAT DEMOCRATIZER. And if I CAN'T CONTRIBUTE, then it DOESN'T COUNT.

How do we make apps that enable full participation at any edge of the network, whether the developing world, a totalitarian state, a future Mars settlement, or even conference WiFi?

When building apps, we often assume our users will have persistent fast connections like we do. But offline is not an edge case, even in a connected world. A growing movement proposes we build OFFLINE FIRST, treating connectivity as progressive enhancement.

This is a good start, and where this talk begins. But even Offline First can't tackle collaborative apps in the most extreme network conditions—totalitarian states, Mars settlements, conference WiFi. How can we enable people in these situations to communicate with each other, even when disconnected from the Internet backbone?

Enter the DISTRIBUTED WEB. This talk ends with a tour of currently-emerging technologies that promise to make the Internet what it was originally dreamt to be—fully decentralized, fully peer-to-peer, fully unstoppable.

Let's build a better Internet. Let's build it for the Martians. Let's build it for Earth.