QuirksBlog monthlies

This is the monthly archive for January 2008.

To Boston

Permalink | in Conferences
5 comments (closed)

On 23 or 24 June I'm going to speak at An Event Apart Boston. If you're interested in meeting me in person, be there.

I'm going to talk about the principle of unobtrusive JavaScript (details forthcoming). This session likely won't be of huge interest to people already fluent in JavaScript, but it might help those who are considering the plunge into our beautiful language. I won't teach you how JavaScript works (one hour is far too short for that), but if you keep the principles I'll discuss in mind, you'll likely find the correct answers to many tricky questions by yourself.

I hope to meet a few of my readers there.

The versioning switch's default is correct

Permalink | in IE, Theory
62 comments (closed)

Even clinically dead web developers will by now have seen the announcement of IE8's new versioning switch, and many bloggers I read have already reacted—most of them negatively. See the IE page of my linkblog for an overview.

All in all I am in the Yes camp, and in this entry I'd like to offer a few arguments in favour of the current default of the switch. In my opinion, defaulting to IE7 in the absence of a switch is the correct behaviour.

I won't be offering practical arguments, since these are not received too well right now. Instead, I'm hoping to appeal to our collective sense of honour.

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ToughQuiz VIII - Practical version switching

Permalink | in IE, ToughQuiz
37 comments (closed)

Now that the versioning switch debate is in full swing (see the IE page of my linkblog for a partial overview), I'd like to move attention from lofty goals and aspirations that may or may not be trampled by the new switch to everyday practicalities.

So here's a quiz for you. Please assume that at some point in the future the following will be the case:

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The versioning switch is not a browser detect

Permalink | in IE, Theory
34 comments (closed)

The announcement of IE8's new versioning switch is generating heated debate—and nobody could have expected otherwise. Whether you feel this is a great or a terrible idea, it will change the way we web developers work. I encourage everyone to form his or her own opinion on this matter.

However, there's one point that has to be made right away. Eric Meyer already touched on it in his opinion piece, but repeating it won't hurt.

One argument used by detractors of the new switch is that it's nothing more than a browser detect. This comparison is factually false and it shouldn't be allowed to cloud a debate that promises to be complicated enough even without false arguments.

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Using the assignment operator instead of the equality operator

Permalink | in Coding techniques
25 comments (closed)

The previous version of the Find Position script didn't work quite correctly, since it often ignored the last step in position calculations: the one from the <body> to the <html> element. Part of the reason was that its code was too complicated.

The problems with this script used to generate a lot of comments. Eight months ago I changed the script somewhat, and comments dropped off to zero, meaning I'd done it right. Meanwhile I've taken another look at it and changed it a bit more.

In any case, the changed script now uses a new approach (that is, it was new to me eight months ago). It now uses the assignment operator = instead of the equality operator == that you'd expect:

while (obj = obj.offsetParent)

I always planned to write a blog entry about this approach, because I feel this little trick should become general knowledge. So here it is (eight months too late, but anyway):

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Opera's antitrust complaint and political control of web standards

Permalink | in Browser Wars
21 comments (closed)

Opera's antitrust complaint against Microsoft has become the talk of the town. Right now everybody focuses on Opera's anti-Microsoft stance and the effect Opera's action may or may not have on W3C Working Groups. Jeremy provides a useful summary.

What's lacking in the current discussion is an appreciation of the potentially disastrous consequences of "asking the European Commission to require Microsoft to follow fundamental and open Web standards accepted by the Web-authoring communities."

I found only one article that clearly points out this danger, but the author seems to think that the European Commission is a court of law. It isn't. It's a political body peopled by politicians.

The advanced state of institutional chaos at European Union level has required the Commission to take on some judicial powers in order to get anything decided, but in the end its functions are political, and its members are guided by political considerations—most notably the careful hoarding of powers they have been granted.

So Opera is asking a political body to take control of web standards in the name of "Web-authoring communities" I'm part of—but without considering the consequences of its actions and without consulting said communities.

Opera's request is putting us all in appalling danger. Therefore I'd like to ask Opera to drop it. Now.

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See the December 2007 archive.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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