• Mozilla’s proposed any selector makes sense. And it’s already landed it WebKit. (Both use prefixes, obviously. -moz-any() and -webkit-any().)
  • Tony Gentilcore gives a list of methods and properties that trigger a reflow in WebKit. Useful. Now if someone could do the same research for Trident, Gecko, and Presto I’d be much obliged.
  • Steve Souders unveils his lastest project: HTTP Archive. It collates useful performance data from high-profile sites, and shows how many JS, image, Flash, etc. files are served, how many HTTP requests are necessary, which metric most impacts load and rendering times (total transfer size, and JavaScript transfer size, respectively), and dozens of other useful metrics. Once it’s been gathering data for a year we’ll have a fascinating insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what clueless web developers do.
    All sites are downloaded with a (fake) IE8. Would be interesting to see what happens when we change the UA string to a mobile browser.
  • Google tightens the Android rules and regulations. It wants more control over what device vendors do in order to roll back the fragmentation that’s Android’s bane right now.
    There is no doubt that Google’s actions will be welcomed by developers and consumers, who want the latest OS version distributed as quickly as possible. Point is: device vendors and operators want more differentiation in order to distinguish their Android phones from their competitors’. This is a fundamental disagreement that’s going to cause trouble in the future. Sure, Google can crack down on the Android vendors, but then the vendors will start to think about other operating systems. Samsung already has bada; Motorola recently announced it would create its own OS, and HTC said so more than a year ago. With this new crackdown they get more incentive to do so.
    So Google’s actions may make sense from a developer or consumer perspective, but it could lead to Android shedding market share.
    A tough conundrum.
  • Speaking of Android, research shows that the vast majority of Android developers thinks fragmentation is an issue.
  • Still, the issue may not be as large as people think. Simon Judge explains some of the more common errors native Android developers make:
    1. Use the latest SDK, while they should use earlier ones that support Android 1.5.
    2. Create resolution- and orientation-specific designs. (Hey, a good browser and some CSS is all you need to make resolution problems go away!)
    3. Design absolutely everything (pixel-precise) instead of using native (though boring) UI elements.
    The only real fragmentation problem he sees is supporting the various hardware button configurations.
  • BlackBerry discloses new figures on OS shares. OS6, which features an excellent WebKit-based browser, is now at 10% of all BlackBerry subscribers’ phones. Also, OS6 users download many more apps than users of earlier systems. That’s not really surprising, and it definitely does not say anything about BlackBerry’s future as an app platform, but it’s still good news.
  • This April Fool joke by Ewan McLeod is a good one. HSBC Bank gets tired of waiting for a mobile wallet, so it decides to buy an operator and create it.
    I originally believed the story (I’m notorious for falling for well-written April Fool jokes), because I wanted to believe it. A mobile wallet is necessary; operators don’t do anything, so other players should take over. My money is still on Google, but banks could also fulfill that role — if they weren’t married to outdated business models.
  • Andy Clarke extends the borders of CSS again, this time with Anthony Calzadilla and Geri Coady. CSS animations can do a lot more than you thought they could, and as long as you do proper progressive enhancement, they’ll even retain their meaning (though not their beauty) on browsers that don’t support CSS animations.
    The coolest part for me is this progressive enhancement. For the mobile web it’s the only way forward.
  • Scott Vandehey gives a practical example of enhancing a site with media queries. As he himself is careful to note, this is not an example of true responsive design; it’s a relatively quick and simple fix to keep mobile devices on board.
    Point is: most web developers who’re willing to consider mobile but don’t have the time to do a proper job will do something akin to this, and it’s a first small step on a long journey — a step you might actually sell to your client or project manager. And once they see it works, but not quite perfectly, they’ll ask for more.
  • How Android tablets can beat the iPad. Frankly, most points strike me as nonsensical, especially #5: trying to argue that Apple is no longer hip. The only solid advice is #7: any Android tablet must be 25-30% cheaper than the iPad.
  • US mobile market report for February 2011. Vendors, OSs, and content use. Browser usage remains fractionally higher than app downloads, but both are around 35% of all mobile subscribers (not only smartphone users).
  • Apps written in Qt can be ported to Android. This might be the lifeline Qt needed. Originally conceived as a common platform for Symbian and MeeGo (Nokia, in other words), Qt has a challenging time ahead with Symbian being relegated to the dustbin and MeeGo not yet amounting to anything. Android access might turn the tables, though.
  • And Windows Phone 7 will get an update that will grab future updates directly from Microsoft’s site. The operators are no longer needed, thanks so much. More to the point: they can’t stall the update process, as they can on Android.
  • Have a tip for next week?
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    Linkbait 14

    This week’s. Written partly in Munich, partly in San Francisco. Conference season’s here, honey!

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