Elsewhere monthlies

This is the monthly archive for February 2009.

25 February 2009

Browsers powered by user choice

Google has applied to become a 3rd party in the Opera vs. Microsoft browser bundling case before the EC.

Browser Wars | Permalink

24 February 2009

JavaScript support in Opera Mini 4

As it says. Useful info.

JavaScript, Opera Mobile/Mini | Permalink

When good browsers go bad -- and they all do

A large overview article in ComputerWorld about the current state of the browsers. I was interviewed for it. There are also articles about browser sniffing and problems in the W3C standards.

Every web developer will know 90% of what's in the articles, but it's still good to see that interest in correct web development practices is growing.

Browsers, Society | Permalink

18 February 2009

Just The Facts: Recap of Compatibility View

The IE team aggregates a lot of information about the IE Compatibility View and meta switch.

IE | Permalink

The death of web development and design, and what to do next.

Interesting post about the future of web developers.

I strongly believe web developers are approaching some kind of crossroads of choice. [...] The ability to build great websites from scratch is going to be more and more irrelevant. Therefore [...] I think it's time to start thinking about what to do next. There are several options. There's still a whole lot of work to be done when it comes to web accessibility. While development tools, libraries, API's and SDK's have evolved immensely, web accessibility is still lagging behind pathetically. The old school web developer can definitely help here!

Good read all in all, although I'm not sure I agree with every single point.

Business | Permalink

16 February 2009

Overview of webOS

An interesting overview of Palm's new webOS:

Palm webOS is Palm's next generation operating system. [...] webOS integrates the power of a window-based operating system with the simplicity of a browser. Applications are built using standard web technologies and languages, but have access to device-based services and data.


You can think of webOS applications as native applications, but built from the same standard HTML, CSS and JavaScript that you’d use to develop web applications. Palm has extended the standard web development environment through a JavaScript framework that gives standardized UI widgets, and access to selected device hardware and services.

Sounds like fun, no? And we'll have to teach a large amount of mobile developers to develop web.

Palm | Permalink

How I Might Deal with IE6

Dan Cederholm shares a simple but efficient trick for dealing with IE6 through conditional comments. I had a 'why didn't I think of this' moment when I read it. It's that simple. (But of course, thinking of really simple solutions is the most difficult job there is.)

IE | Permalink

CSS doesn’t suck, you’re just doing it wrong.

Nicole Sullivan is not happy with the recent spate of CSS criticism, and argues that those who criticise just don't understand CSS well enough. My experience whispers she's right.

The really interesting point about the latest CSS flap is that there are apparently people who are not really interested in web design but are nonetheless forced to learn CSS. That, in turn, is apparently because their employer has decided they need this skill, which means that the demand for skilled CSS-ers is growing.

All in all I think this is good news for the standards-aware web community. In fact, I think we'll see such anti-CSS wars regularly from now on, and that every one happens because several thousand new people are (forced to be) learning CSS.

CSS | Permalink

12 February 2009

IE8 Blacklist: forcing standards rendering opt-in

Isolani points out an IE Blog article about the rendering mode switch that I missed. Turns out Microsoft is going to blacklist sites where many IE8 users switch back to IE7 mode: apparently these sites need this mode, so IE8 is going to automatically engage it.

Isolani proceeds to critcise the idea, and he has a point when he says:

What is even worse is that sites are blacklisted by top-level domain. As the IE8 blog post describes:

The data we collect from IE8 beta users is the top level domain of the website and whether the user chose Compatibility View while visiting that site.

This is insidious; organisations running multiple sites on subdomains (like Yahoo, AOL, CNN, Blogger, WordPress, Wikipedia, Ning) are exposed to a new risk: a problem with one single subdomain is sufficient to black-list all their websites into an IE7 Compatibility Mode.

This could indeed be a problem. Although I see the IE team’ reasons for making this move, huge top-level domains could indeed be hit hard.

Requires some thinking.

IE | Permalink

No more pixel perfectionism in IE 6

A call for treating IE6 as we once treated NN4.

We should not actively block IE 6 users or completely disregard what happens when an IE 6 user comes along. What we should do is spend less and less time working around IE 6 bugs unless they seriously affect functionality or accessibility – only fix the showstoppers.

As long as we make sure to use progressive enhancement, content and base functionality will still be there, like for all other antiquated browsers.


IE, Theory | Permalink

When can I use... Compatibility tables for features in HTML5, CSS3, SVG and other upcoming web technologies

Nice forward compatibility table that shows which browsers are holding back which technologies. The Future row is obviously a bit speculative, but seems reasonable to me.

Reference | Permalink

CSS3 Feedback: Selector Blocks

Yes! Yes! Yes! Give us selector blocks!

Instead of this

body.home #content .entry h2, 
body.home #content .entry h3, 
body.home #content .entry h4, 
body.home #content .entry h5, 
body.home #content .entry h6 {...}

we should be able to use this

body.home #content .entry {
   h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {...}

Give us selector blocks or death!

CSS | Permalink

Selectors API Test Suite

querySelectorAll() extreme tests.

Tests | Permalink

Palm pulls the plug on Palm OS, bets the future on Pre's webOS

Palm thinks web developers are the key to success in the mobile space. Some of its stakeholders agree:

"The programming models for your developer, rather than being C or Java, is really just HTML and CSS and JavaScript," [Pandora CTO] Conrad said. "So you can take developers who have been developing Web applications and quickly get them productive in the webOS SDK, leveraging their familiarity with these Web-based standards. [...] We were able to take one of our star Web developers – someone who has never touched the Palm webOS and not done mobile development before – and have that person be immediately productive because it's all based on systems that the person is familiar with from Web development."

Will the mobile web cause front-end engineering to break through to an even larger degree?

Palm | Permalink

11 February 2009

10 harsh truths about corporate websites

Paul Boag discusses the state of the corporate web and points out ten harsh truths. As he rightly says,

if you are reading this post you are probably already aware of these things

Nonetheless, such an overview article may always come in handy.

Business | Permalink

Firefox Exec: Bundling? No Thanks

Now this is interesting. An overview article on Sitepoint mentions a top Firefox engineer bashing Opera's unbundling attempt, partly for the confusion it would cause to the end user; partly because he feels unbundling is no solution to the market share problem.

Browser Wars | Permalink

Styling the html and body Elements

About using the <html> and <body> tags as normal block-level elements, and what goes wrong in the various browsers.

CSS | Permalink

3 February 2009

Opera web standards curriculum: JavaScript in town!

Chris Mills has published the JavaScript part of the Web Standards Curriculum, which includes my article about the principles of unobtrusive JavaScript.

JavaScript, Reference | Permalink

2 February 2009

Survey of Preferences of Screen Readers Users

A survey of screen reader user. Very useful!

Screen readers, Surveys | Permalink

State of the Web 2008

WebDirections now also runs a web developer survey, one that focuses more on the technical side. Excellent idea; the more we measure the more we know.

Professionalism, Surveys | Permalink

Overview of Platform Improvements in IE8 RC1

Useful overview of where IE8 stands right now.

IE | Permalink

Sitepoint JavaScript Reference (beta)

Sitepoint has unveiled its JavaScript reference, written by James Edwards. It's an ambitious undertaking, containing many extra useful notes and tips, and I'm very glad that my Tables now finally have some company.

Now that I think about it, this reference was originally supposed to be a book, and I edited a first draft about a year ago. I was wondering what happened to the book, and now I know.

Congratulations, Sitepoint and James. Excellent addition to the world of JavaScript references.

Reference | Permalink

Are Social Media Consultants Harming Social Media?

Andy Budd ponders social media and its use by clueless clients. Although his point about social media consultants being essentially useless is well taken, my conclusion would be slightly different: the social thingy hype is at its peak and can only go down from here.

Not that the social part of the Web will disappear; there's obviously a need for it, so it will stay. Nonetheless, it will become just one more tool in the box of the Web professional instead of the Alpha and Omega of web use.

The real question is: what comes after social media?

Society | Permalink

1 February 2009

Is mobile web development compatible with the One Web?

Bruce Lawson argues against creating separate mobile sites.

Perhaps one reason [for having separate mobile sites] is cultural? Mr Boss walks in one day and demands "a mobile site". All your competitors have a domain like mobile.acme.com, so that’s got to be the way to do it, right? Simply coax your CMS to squirt out the information that you think your mobile customers want, and job done.

It’s also hard to make web pages that work across devices and hard to find information. The web standards movement built up a huge bank of best practice on how to build cross-browser sites (and not sweat the minor rendering differences) but there isn’t that corpus of best practice yet for cross-device development.

The total lack of best practices is indeed becoming a problem.

Mobile, Theory | Permalink


See the January 2009 archive.

This is the linklog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also visit his QuirksBlog, or you can follow him on Twitter.

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