AMP: Hope and Fears (Part 3)

Conclusion

I wrote the tweet below as a response to my original tweet.

As I’ve mentioned throughout this post the technology behind AMP is not revolutionary. It’s a reaction to a problem on the mobile web and it has been taken as a way to gate keep and restrict what can be done on the web.

There are many unanswered questions about AMP and the direction it’s going on for me to be comfortable with it. AMP email and Stories are out, what comes next?

Attempting to make AMP the canonical version of your web content worries me, it means we’re moving away from having an HTML version altogether and people may choose to learn AMP but not HTML (sorry, but HTML is the spec that lives at WHATWG and W3C and pages built from that spec, not AMP) and when AMP limitations become too restrictive will not know how to build web content that doesn’t require AMP and be starting from square one again.

It is tempting to draw comparisons between AMP and jQuery but the web was different when jQuery was first introduced. The use cases jQuery dealt with were about smoothing out different ways browsers did things (looking at you, Netscape and IE) and making sure you wouldn’t have to write similar code 3 times (one for IE, one for Netscape and one for browsers that supported standards when those became available) but now the technology is available to make sure we do things right, it’s a matter of whether we choose to use them wisely or not.

I mentioned earlier but having AMP Stories be completely different to any non-amp alternatives makes me worry as much if not more than making AMP the canonical version of my content. If there is no relation between my web content and the AMP stories that are built around it then what’s going to be the content that gets returned by the Googlebot when you search for it? I know this is not, strictly, an AMP issue and more of a search issue but since it’s an AMP product it’s worth pointing out here.

I’ll keep my mind open towards AMP (after all I still provide AMP for my blog content to help people with slow connections or who may have data cost issues) but there are too many open questions about the platform and its direction before I can say I agree with their assessment of how they want to move the web forward.

Links and Resources