#Domains 19 Day 2 Breakout Session 1: HAX Chaotic Good

Speakers: Bryan Ollendyke

(Not really an) Abstract:


Unbalance, unrest, and chaos can be brought with one simple act: Giving away everything. It’s a notion I explored in my MS thesis via open source; because, edtech systems are build on power. Power and control technology is largely codified through institutional history. Collapsing control, we can restore a greater order. I want to take you into the philosophy and madness that drives me and inspires the team behind HAXTheWeb.

#HAXTheWeb at its core is a new way of creating and remixing content. Think of it as a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) built for the future. When I say WYSIWYG, you probably think text. But when I search YouTube, responsively embed it and save in ~10 seconds, all without leaving HAX or seeing HTML; it becomes clear this is not normal. This is just one massive time saver among many and why people in IndieWeb and OER communities are getting excited. Because HAX doesn’t live in just one platform. HAX is a platform that is portable and embeddable in many platforms, with all materials produced able to work in any other platform on the web.

Technology needs to focus more on why and less on how, especially now that Web components is THE way to build the web going forward! That focus on the why positions my team as villains in the edTech / LMS world. Like complex villains though, we have a competing vision of the world which is largely seen as chaos. Through this talk I’ll force you to challenge one critical idea: Why do you need platforms to publish?


“You said you were a man of your word”

“I’m only burning my half. All you care about is money.. This town deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m going to give it to them..”

The establishment understands money. They won’t pursue what is best for education unless it prints green. There’s a lot of great things that have come out of this pure capitalist approach to edtech but rampant complacency via oligopolies has ensued. We must shake up the industry by pulling ourselves up through decentralization; otherwise, we’ll never see the change needed. HAX is distributed, decentralizes power, is flexible, portable, slick, fast, the best of HTML without knowing it, future proof, and.. free. “I’m only burning my half” in order to establish a new market place that serves us, not the other way around.

I once had strings, but now I’m free

HAX can be used in HAXcms, Drupal (6, 7, 8), BackdropCMS, GravCMS, and WordPress; today. All capabilities in all places. Content produced in HAX, no longer requires HAX to render afterwards.

What happens to our towers when their functionality provides equal Authoring Experiences (AX)?

What happens to Gutenberg (a WordPress only editor that is terrible for OER / open web) when we improve the AX of ALL solutions?

We will set you free.

My Notes

Bryan launched with a ferocious attack on LMS & CMS’s editor UX, noting amongst other things the lack of accessibility or even care about accessibility in Gutenberg (see the Gutenberg accessibility audit from WPCampus).

Bryan’s (not really tongue-in-cheek) goals is to collapse the publishing industry and the broken parts of education. I tend to get confused looks when I say that the publishing industry is evil, so Bryan’s comfort with, and the audience’s lack of pushback against, these goals was great to see.

Bryan’s argument against the current web, is that we need to simplify back to standards and use js Web Components <script type=”module”>.

BYU is already using this to unify branding. They no longer need to rely on a particular CMS, but can just use the components on any site. Check out their sites.

These web components can work across projects – a micro-service architecture.

This presentation was really exciting. I still don’t know how much of that excitement was Bryan yelling at us, and how much of it cashes out, but this might be the first thing I work on when I get back to campus. I want to build some stuff using web components and see what happens. I also want to stand up HAXeditor (now available in a one-click install on Reclaim) and see how it uses the Web Components.

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