O’Reilly OSCON Proposal

Death of the Open Web

When the World Wide Web was created, several core goals were intentional design features: Interoperability. Accessibility for all devices and for all humans no matter what or where. Relevant content connecting to other relevant content. Searchable. Meaningful. OPEN! But several critical stumbles along the way have slammed these goals closed. It’s time we address the real reasons why this happened.

Session Description

With Mozilla slipping into near-obscurity, and all major browser engines are Chromium-based, we are entering a monocultural era. While Chromium is historically an open-source project, its implementations are not interoperable. Add to this the flipped-on-its-head development approach to Web from the Open and declarative to the abstracted and inaccessible and oops! We just slammed the door on true open and sustainable development and software implementation practices.

In this session, Molly will reveal specifics from the W3C, browser developer companies, developer and design communities and accessibility organizations to demonstrate what slip-ups caused this problem including:

  • Death of XML
  • The Lie of HTML as a “Living Standard”
  • Javascript-First and Javascript Frameworks
  • Extensions and Plug-ins
  • The role of the W3C in the closing of its own open technology

Audience members are encouraged to bring their own ideas and thoughts to the session, as the goal is very specific: To debug our practices together and see if we can put the OPEN back in Open Web again.


  • A deep understanding of the current issues faced by the Open Web
  • Encouragement to re-establish a level of operational Open standards policies
  • Inspire the beginning of a process-based solution to restore an Open Web Stack for an accessible, interoperable and scalable World Wide Web

Speaker Bio

Molly E. Holzschlag has spent a career contributing to various aspects of the Open Web, whether at a W3C Working Group Meeting, on the stage, running an Open Web Conference, teaching seminars or leading the Web Standards Project through the most difficult time of the day.

Her work with the Project resulted in two F2F meetings with Bill Gates for resolution of IE6 compliance issues. She has written 35 books including “The Zen of CSS Design” with CSS Zen Garden creator Dave Shea and hundreds of articles, interviews as well as audio and video learning materials.

Molly is the recipient of many awards, including a Fluent Web Platform Award, .NET Award for Outstanding Contributions, and has received the honor of a U.S.Congressional Special Recognition for technology contributions to state and nation.

Greybeard O’Reilly folk will remember her as Executive Editor of Web Review when it moved from Songline studios to CMP.

Engaging, funny and relentless, Molly’s grass-roots defense of Open Web is legendary and remains a passionate place in the unfolding of our industry.