New insights at the Polymer summit

Published on: Category: Java & Web

This blog post was written by me and my colleague Joey Roosing

The 17th and 18th of november it was time for a new edition of the polymer summit. Qualogy, as a company that has been interested in the evolvement of web component technologies for quite some time, had to be on site to gain new insights and discuss with fellow nerdies about Polymer and its future view and impact on the web.

The Polymer Summit was filled with a broad range of talks. Some talks were more focused on technological innovation, like: Polymer 2.0 and related best practices when using it. Others were focused on lending a helping hand to fellow developers, like: build, test and deployment tools or focused on practical applications of polymer usage in real world companies like: ING, USA Today and Comcast.

PRPL and #usetheplatform

Although this broad spectrum, recurring themes kept crawling to the surface. Especially performance and reusability in view of the future were elaborated upon. Eager to use buzz words, these themes were to be bundled into: PRPL and #usetheplatform.

PRPL pattern

The PRPL pattern (Push, Render, Pre-cache and Lazy Loading) a.k.a “Do Less Be Lazy” encompasses ways to improve an app (and especially a Progressive Web App) its performance. The idea of the PRPL pattern is that only the minimum resources are loaded and initialized up-front and only other resources are loaded when needed. To make this possible, Polymer offers helper functions, such as importHref (href, onload, onerror, optAsync) (see fig. 1) which dynamically loads an HTML file on demand.

Figure 1: example of importHref


#Usetheplatform refers to the wish to not reinvent the wheel with new technologies time after time but to stick to the ever improving standards. Browsers have been improving these last few years immensely. HTML5 and CSS3, released in 2014, were just the beginning. Browsers are now able to do way more, using features like: WebGL, asynchronous HTML imports, service workers, shadow dom and custom web components which are becoming the new standards. With the release of the new Web components v1 standard which is adopted by all modern browsers, features which were only available using frameworks like: react and angular are now available without any overhead of a framework. 

Project dependencies: shrink in size

By making use of what the platform has to offer, not only the need for other libraries will be less, but also polyfills (a polyfill is code that implements a feature on web browsers that do not yet support it natively) become less important. Effectively, this means that your project dependencies (such as polyfills and Polymer) shrink in size, and that your application becomes more performant.

Polymer IDE plugin

Testing tools, our knights in shining armor, were definitely not addressed during this summit. The Polymer tools team introduced the new Polymer IDE plugin for most popular editors (atom, visual studio code and sublime). This IDE plugin contains auto-completion, jump to definition, syntax highlighting and linting.

Better developer tooling

This polymer specific plugin is powered by a new analyzer that the Google tools team has built. This analyzer analyzes library and framework agnostic web components code. Build on top of the analyzer they created easy to use API’s which in turn are being used by the Polymer IDE plugin. This makes it easy for other libraries and plugins to feed of this analyzer and built better developer tooling easily.

Our top 5 talks to watch!

On a closing note, we highly recommend everyone to watch the recorded sessions on Youtube. The team here at Qualogy, have compiled a top 5 talks to watch, although we should note that all talks were really good.

1. Opening keynote (day 1) by Taylor Savage:

2. Opening keynote (day 2) by Justin Fagnani:

3. We’ll do it live! by Paul Lewis and Surma:

4. The Way of the Web @ ING by Ben Issa:

5. Evolving into a Lightning-Fast PWA by Erik Bidelman:

Bram Dekker
About the author Bram Dekker

Software Engineer at Qualogy.

More posts by Bram Dekker
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