Right now, the development of websites is zooming forward at a breakneck pace. The code bloat of 2011 is due in part to huge numbers of new libraries, templates, boilerplates, and frameworks being put out there. As 2011 moves to 2o12, we’re starting to see some organization of these choices into “configurator” websites.
Examples of “configurator” websites
Modernizr Production – http://www.modernizr.com/download/
Initializr – http://www.initializr.com/
CodeKickOff – http://codekickoff.com/
In addition more developer-oriented tools allow JS library configuration at a fine-grained level…
Ender – http://ender.no.de
All these tools allow you to
- select libraries, files and code snippets
- add them to a default project
All well and good, but for Green Boilerplate we need some additional features
- Database linked to description, api, downloads describing the ingredient
- Data pulls on performance of the component, in particular what happens the first time is it added to a template
- A key system so that websites can be “scanned” for included ingredients
The best idea for this might be an equivalent of JSDoc. Currently JSDoc scans for comments with a specific format, and build web documentation. We can imagine a similar system throwing the results into a database. Ideally, this database is related to the “core” database containing all the ingredients.
- Core database – lists all ingredients, plus a keycode for identifying them later
- Site database – uses Core database to scan a site and document ingredients
In such a system, minify takes on a new meaning. Individual ingredients need to have a comment with at a minimum their unique code ID that can be scanned on a production website.
Another thing that’s necessary for this Green Boilerplate model to work is a way to access environmental footprints. Fortunately, the new AMEE database, which aggregrates millions of data sources on environmental impact, has an SDK. This SDK allows developers to embed carbon-footprint analysis into their applications.
The SDKs and APIs for Java, Ruby, Python, and PHP look really good. Now, if only AMEE had data on the embodied energy of a web page….
The coolest tools I’ve seen so far that uses AMEE is the AMEE Location Footprinter. It integrates with Foursquare and does a running calculation of your carbon footprint as you go around your daily business. Truly awesome.