- Should getUserMedia and Geolocation continue to work on non-HTTPS sites? asks Anne van Kesteren, who adds “localhost is an authenticated origin, as are file URLs. I also expect developer tool overrides.”
- 2059 Opera commits to Blink/ Chromium/ v8. The second thousand took half as long as the first. Yay.
- CSS: It was twenty years ago today — an interview with Håkon Wium Lie – I interview Håkon, who proposed CSS on 10 October 1994, when it looked very different.
- Fun times with Appcache – “If you are using appcache, the best way is to have a separate webpage with the manifest and wrap it in an iframe. The main advantage of this is that it ringfences the cache… Who says enterprise software can’t do HTML5?” asks Matt Machell.
- To Picturefill, or not to Picturefill asks Scott Jehl. Should you polyfill responsive images and risk users without JS getting no images at all? He tends to “yes”, I tend to “no” for philosophical reasons. Commercial pressures outweigh those, natch.
- On a similar subject: Polyfills and products by Jeremy Keith
- HTTP/2 Frequently Asked Questions
- IndexedDB on iOS 8 – Broken Bad – “Apple may have screwed up their implementation of IndexedDB” says Raymond Camden.
- Chromium “focus should cycle from named anchor” accessibility bug getting some love.
- What Would Bruce Lee Do? The Tao of the Extensible Web by Brian Kardell, a fine and noble chappie who’s realised that, in all matters, Bruces know best.
- The Extensible Web Report Card – Documenting the state of the extensible web
- Text Email Newsletter Standard (TEN Standard) “is designed to ease navigation of plain text email newsletters by all readers, including those using special access technologies.”
- Paying on the Web with Manu Sporny – podcast on Web Payments. Transcript (Yay, Jen Simmons)
- Is autoplaying media always an accessibility no-no? muses Henny Swan, after usertesting the BBC iPlayer.
- Relative URLs in Web Components. My heart sinks a bit if even international spec brainbox @Anne van Kesteren says “this is a hard problem”. Later: “The lack of encapsulation is major hassle… Doesn’t really feel like it deserves to be called components. It’s more like assets.”
- HTML5 does not have a new best friend on why Apple “are some way behind Chrome and Android.”
- 4 billion people in the world don’t have access to Internet—India accounts for 25% of them.
Archive for the 'accessibility web standards' Category
Once in a generation, there is a perfect combination of circumstances that leads to the creation of something truly extraordinary. Today is that day – the flawless union of programming, content, beauty and functionality.
This week at the Future of Web Apps conference, the Stella McCartney of geek crochet, Ruth John, gifted me with a hand-made, individually-designed crocheted mankini. A photo of me wearing it is available on my fashion blog What’s Bruce Wearing Today (caution advised).
At the same conference, Syd Lawrence demonstrated his accelerometer-driven app Shake Her Booty which allows you to control J Lo’s bottom (“booty”) by shaking your phone.
Claudia Snell asked “when can we expect the @brucel version?” so Syd mashed up some video he’d made of me dancing in the mankini at the FOWA after-party, and today has released Shake Your Brucie.
Just tap my booty to begin.
Adam Bradley asked
@brucel meta is data about data right, so why is viewport in a meta tag, since they're instructing the browser what to do & not desc itself?
— Adam Bradley (@adamdbradley) September 22, 2014
Marcos Caceres replied
@adamdbradley @brucel it's the only a element you can use in the head of a doc that is backwards compatible. Nothing to do with semantics.
— Marcos Caceres (@marcosc) September 22, 2014
HTML never required an <html>, <head> or <body> element (only XHTML validators did). So if you open test 1 in any browser and view source you’ll see those three elements aren’t in the source. But if you inspect the DOM with any inspection tool, you’ll the browser has inserted those elements.
How does the browser know where to close the <head> and open the <body>? Test 2 shows a page that contains a <vomitingotter> element. This isn’t offcially part of HTML yet (hurry up Hixie!). There is no <body> element in the source, but the browser knew to leave the <title> and <meta charset> in the head and add the <vomitingotter> element into the <body> (which is why you can actually see its contents; by default, no text in the <head> makes its way into the visible page.)
Simply, the first element that isn’t known to be part of the <head> makes the browser close the <head> and open the <body>. So if it’s not recognised as metadata content (<base>, <link>, <meta>, <noscript>, <script>, <style>, <template>, <title>) it goes in the body. Any subsequent “head” elements remain in the <body>; they aren’t restored into the head (see the DOM of test 3), even if you explicitly wrap them in <html>, <head> and <body> elements in the original source – see test 4.
This doesn’t investigate the bigger question of why Apple – who invented the viewport meta tag – decided to add it to HTML at all. After all, HTML is about content and the viewport information is about styling, and would therefore be more appropriately be declared in CSS. I don’t know the answer to that, except that Apple knows best about everything.
There’s a CSS specification called CSS Device Adaptation that is basically “viewport in CSS”, with an @viewport rule (tutorial by Andreas Bovens). This generalises the viewport directive, and gives you more power, too; because it’s in CSS you can combine it with Media Queries. It’s supported in Opera, Chrome and Internet Explorer.
- Flexbox: changes since the previous spec
- Don’t use <picture> (most of the time) by Jason Grigsby. TL;DR: if you just want resolution switching (smaller image to non-“retina” devices, big image only to high-dpi screens), just use
<img src="lores.jpg" srcset="hires.jpg 2x">
- Using ServiceWorker in Chrome today and, indeed, other Chromium browsers. Excellent article by Jank Architect.
- Better @font-face with Font Load Events by Zach Leatherman
- The initial work for Manifest in Chromium M39 is done, and will hopefully be in Firefox OS 2.2. (Explainer article.)
- A Greater Voice for Individuals in W3C: Tell Us What You Would Value
- Primary Key issue on iOS8 implementation of IndexedDb. “when you have two different object stores in the same indexeddb, primary key values appear to be “shared” across all stores.” hurray.
- Accessibility issues with html5 <footer>: not exposed; should be exposed with an IA2 footer role and xml-roles/implicit aria role of contentinfo in some circumstances – fixed in Chromium.
- Brum Tech Scene – That nice @sil came round to my house and videoed me answering his questions about the Birmingham tech scene and biscuits.
- When can a High Court grant an injunction to trade mark holders against ISPs to block access to “infringing” websites? – Open Rights Group on an important test-case
- Support the independents “If you use a product that has a free version and a paid version, paying out for that “pro” or commercial license even if perhaps you could get away with not doing so, puts cash into the company, helps to ensure the survival and development of the product” says Rachel Andrew.
- LULZ: “JSONx is an IBM® standard format to represent JSON as XML.” – for those who want the joys of JSON with the piquant frisson of XML. Who doesn’t?
- EXTRA LULZ: Even Apple didn’t want my iPhone 6 Plus – unusual satire piece from The Verge, spoofing a cryPhone user whose emotional rollercoaster (caused by the new device being slightly bigger than his other one, which is why he bought it) culminates with the hilarious “I spent all this money on something that I thought would make me happy, and instead I felt like trash”. Genius.
- Web Components punch list – “Considerations for web component and custom control design: If your control has the stuff below covered, excellent! If not then please implement it before shouting to the world about it being the next big thing.” by Steve Faulkner
- Brum Tech Scene – On Monday, Stuart Langridge launched a series of interviews and conversations with interesting people doing interesting things in the Birmingham tech community. First is Simon Jenner, Head of Oxygen Startups and co-founder of Silicon Canal. He videoed me, too; coming soon.
- Who is “Joe Developer”? asks @johnfoliot. The background is the “living standards” vs “W3C snapshot” holy war. It’s a good question.
- What next for HTML? – now HTML5 is a W3C Proposed Recommendation, how should the language be further developed? Put your questions to editor Robin Berjon for an HTML5 Doctor interview
- The URL mess on the competing standards for defining how URLs work, by Larry Masinter
- Chromium: Web Application Manifest implementation chugs along (@marcosc & I wrote an explainer)
- All You Need To Know About Vertical-Align – “vertical-align can be a real scumbag sometimes. I set myself the target to clarify the behavior once and for all”
- Opera Mini to be pre-installed on all upcoming Micromax Android devices available in India, Russia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal
- Getting Started with Sass by Laura Kalbag
- iOS 8 and iPhone 6 for web developers and designers: next evolution for Safari and native webapps – they kept it quiet, but there’s a new phone and OS from FruitCo. Maximiliano Firtman does some testing so you don’t have to.
- Life Changed Much? – “Occasionally, new technology changes lives. But mostly it doesn’t.” by Tim Bray
I was lucky enough to visit Berlin very briefly for the Extensible Web Summit. It was organised, it seems, by members of W3C (but was not an officially branded W3C) and hosted by Beuth University, Berlin. Lunch was provided by Google, beers afterwards by Yandex (although I missed those as I’d taken the inexplicable decision to fly back straight after rather than hobnob with the great, the good, and Chaals.) Thanks to all organisations.
This isn’t a record of the day; the event notes were crowd-scribed. It’s my preliminary thoughts about the concept of the “extensible web”.
As far as I can deduce – because the term “extensible web” wasn’t actually defined on the day – it’s about giving/ exposing primitives so developers can extend various parts of the platform. (Read The Extensible Web Manifesto for a longer description and statement of intent.)
In the current world, we wait for something like Appcache to be specified, then implemented and then scoffed at. This can take a long time, and we might not get what we want; Hixie told me “The appcache API is another big mistake. It’s the best example of not understanding the problem before designing a solution … Appcache works great if you want to do what it was designed for, but it turns out most people want to do something different enough that appcache feels horrible to them”.
But while it’s good to explain magic, I feel we need to be careful about using the word “magic” pejoratively. A lot of the success of the Web was that simple HTML tags (<a>, <input>) made magic happen. You write <img src=”vomiting-otter.jpg”> and a vomiting otter appears; you don’t need to worry about how it gets there over the network, its caching, its format, etc. Similar with <input> – you just code a reasonably obvious word in angle brackets and it works.
As Steve Faulkner notes, a lot of the success of accessibility on the Web is/was that simple HTML elements makes accessibility happen.
Service Workers, and the spec that I’ve been closer to, <picture>, are great examples of listening to developers (partnership). Service Worker came out of a meeting between Opera, Mozilla, Google, BBC, Financial Times etc and was specified by Google, Mozilla and Samsung (and many others). <picture> came about because developers demanded it, even when the browser vendors and standards bodies didn’t care.
How can developers make their voices heard? It’s true that browser vendors are OBSESSED with solving developer’s problems. If we don’t, you’ll make native apps, and then browsers disappear, we default on our mortgages, our partners leave us for Apple employees and our hamsters starve. None of us want this to happen. So we try to listen.
Then there is the question of how developers can participate. The bravery barrier to entry for many of the mailing lists is already too high – I periodically get emails from people asking me to propose a feature or ask a question on a list as a proxy because lists are scary places.
W3C has set up a Specification forum where you can ask questions about specs/ propose a feature. Read around it to see if anyone else has a similar proposal, and if appropriate, add comments to that before you set up a new thread. Use Mozilla’s guidelines WebAPI Design Guidelines and please remember that use-cases are much better than a fully-worked out proposed syntax.
I’m enthused about the Extensible Web manifesto and the progress we’ve already made, eg baking popular jQuery-like syntax into browser engines via the Selectors API, getting our hands on the network with Service Worker, and the heady new world of Web Components. We need to ensure that all devs who want to can participate by allowing ease of collaboration, courteous discourse. And it would be perilous to forget that the declarative web reduces the barrier to entry and enhances accessibility.
- A feature history of the modern Web Platform When and where selected new Web-platform features were first specified, post-HTML4 and post-CSS2.1, by @zcorpan (Opera’s Simon Pieters)
- Grid by Example – simple usage examples for the CSS3 Grid Layout Module, by Rachel Andrew.
- How a new HTML element will make the Web faster (arstechnica). First article about <picture> in the wider tech press?
- Now that <picture> is almost there, RICG is turning its attention to Use Cases and Requirements for Element Queries.
- “our own inability to make accessibility engaging, interesting or even exciting to people outside our field” – mail to WebAIM mailing list. I entirely agree.
- OS Battle – Porn by the Platform – “11% of Pornhub desktop users arrive using Apple’s Mac OSX while Net Applications reports that only 6.64% of desktop computers currently run OSX.” (No naughty images, but maybe NSFW if your boss is silly.)
- Responsive Web Design podcast: Capital One’s redesign – “We saw within the first two months an 8 percent increase in product conversion on mobile devices and 17 percent on tablets.”
- Opera chums become members of Chromium Security Group – the first external company to be accepted.
- Making the web “just work” with any input: Mouse, Touch, and Pointer Events- Imagine a crazy world in which developers didn’t have modality-specific code just to listen to input!
- Notes on notes (of smart people) about web components by the Henry Kissinger of Accessibility diplomacy, Steve Faulkner. (Read Jeremy and Alexs’ articles, too.)
- Improving Smashing Magazine’s Performance: A Case Study. good stuff. But it makes me long for a “fuck off with your massive webfonts” setting on mobile phones. I just want the words.
- Changing The Shapes with Sara Soueidan – The Web Ahead podcast. (transcript)
- HTML Semantics with Bruce Lawson – I didn’t know The Web Ahead published transcripts (yay Jen Simmons!) so here’s the transcript of the edition I appeared on.
- Firefox Add-on Enables Web Development Across Browsers and Devices – I haven’t tried it yet, but anything that makes devs’ lives easier is good, and earns Nyman and Heilmann a big snog each from me (which is probably why they wrote it.)
- PDFy – “anybody can instantly upload and share a PDF. PDFy is free, ad-free, and non-commercial. All public PDFs mirrored to the Internet Archive for preservation.”
- Why you need to care about HTTPS by Tom Morris. Content-only sites matter too; for example, if you use Comcast Wi-Fi, they inject ads into the pages being returned from the server.
- Why Google is Hurrying the Web to Kill SHA-1. (Opera plans to adopt same behaviour.)
A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie, made by moving individual atoms at IBM, magnified 100 million times.
- Chromium: <picture> nearly ready for the debutate’s ball – so coming soon in Opera, Chrome and Firefox too. Yay.
- Apple’s formal objection to reintroducing longdesc to HTML. Among accessibility consultants, opinion is divided. Patrick Lauke and Steve Faulkner tend to agree with Apple; John Foliot and Shelley Powers don’t. I agree with Steve.
- Whither Pointer Events? Browsers, Developers and Pointer Events Meeting Notes – Blink: “If we had Apple on board with PE, we’d still be on board too. The equation has shifted for us.” So Pointer Events wither?
- Google’s retreat on Pointer Events makes life harder for web developers. Yup.
- goog Prefixed Features – Blink-dev discussion about an API
googVendor Prefix which only works some of the time in Chrome (1% of Chrome starts, randomly, according to Tab Atkins.)
- Fortune 500 firms in 1955 vs. 2014; 89% are gone, and we’re all better off because of that dynamic ‘creative destruction’ – 89% of 1955 Fortune 500 companies are gone. This is why the Web & codecs should never be in the hands of one company.
- Opera: Second quarter 2014 presentation (PDF) – 100 million Android users (most in India, followed by China, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico), 4 million iOS (up 30% year on year), Opera Mini now default on Microsoft’s feature & Asha phones, pre-installed on all Micromax Android devices (India)
- Opera Mini for Android delays large downloads until you’re on WiFi – ” Opera Mini detects if you are downloading a file that is larger than 15MB, then asks if you want to download it now or wait until you are on WiFi. Later, when you get to your favorite coffee spot and connect to WiFi, Opera Mini will resume the download and notify you when it’s all done.”
- 10 Questions: Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera – Fortune magazine. “We at Opera want to help ensure that this industry is not dominated by a few large players. We want to secure the industry by being an independent player.”
- Fibonacci Flexbox Composer
- 0.25% of page views click on the Twitter or Facebook share buttons on Web pages says Luke Wroblewski. Is it worth the potential performance hit of such buttons?
- Preloading and deferred loading of scripts and other resources – @Hixie writes an email longer than War and Peace
- Most smartphone users download zero apps per month. Once you have social media, Spotfify, Skype, maps and a fart app, what more do you need?
- A Magna Carta for the web – Timbo’s TED talk to celebrate 25 years of the Web.
- A failed experiment: How LG screwed up its webOS acquisition – “LG had a policy in place to reward managers with bonuses or even promotions if their features were part of the final product. The result was a constant feature bloat, as everyone tried to add on one more thing.”
- The <picture> Tag Is Coming – what happened when Reddit users heard about responsive images. lulz. and omg.
Standards ‘n’ all that jazz
- HTTPS as a ranking signal – Secure sites to be ranked better in Google search results. Related Mozilla discussion: Switch generic icon to negative feedback for non-https sites. As I recently had to get a new credit card sent to me after inadvertently buying a ticket for Sagrada Familia over non-secure HTTP (on the official site), I like the Firefox idea.
- After 5 – “As we approach the point at which HTML5 will become a Recommendation, it is time to think about how HTML would best be handled next.” by Robin Berjon of W3C
- W3C Workshop on the Web of Things – Workshop report
- The Viking & The Lumberjack celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s 20th/24th/25th Anniversary
- Apple objects to an HTML extension for longdesc. In March 2011 I wrote “if I read any more about bloody longdesc in #html5 I’m gonna set fire to my scrotum”. Bloody longdeZzzc.
- Understanding SVG Coordinate Systems & Transformations (Part 3) – Establishing New Viewports by @SaraSoueidan is (er) egg-cellent.
- User-agent string changes for Internet Explorer 11 – the fun continues.
- Looking for a Job? How’s Your COBOL? – “salaries for COBOL programmers are going up. The salary for top talent can reach six figures”
- Slug Solos – “Some guitarists’ solo faces look like they’ve just realised they’re holding giant slug creatures”.
- Meanwhile, on Craigslist, “You Farted During “Boyhood”“
French joke corner
Heard about the French chef who killed himself? He lost the huile d’olive.
“Coders and hackers, ready to change the world, and the hackathon is the perfect place. But things don’t always go as planned…” by @ourmaninjapan
Standards and tech
- reference for whether changing any given CSS property triggers layout, paint or composite by Paul Lewis
- The Web Manifest specification – HTML5 Doctor article by me and Mozilla’s Magical Mr Marcos. It’s an important spec, and a brilliantly witty article full of poetry and erudition.
- Let’s Talk About RTL – a useful guide to making sites with Arabic, Persian and Hebrew text by Ahmad Alfy
- W3C Web Payments – an overview Manu’s actually responding to the Bad Voltage podcast discussion, but even outside that context, this is an excellent overview of the initiative. Scroll down for more comments from Stuart Langridge and yours truly, too.
- filing bugs – Steve “Bogan” Faulkner’s shit is solid in this article about how to file browser bugs
- Understanding SVG Coordinate Systems & Transformations (Part 2) – The transform Attribute by Sara “no sleep til I’ve explained EVERYTHING” Soueidan
- How we make RWD sites load fast as heck by Scott Jehl. Long, detailed, excellent read.
- The Accessibility Tree: A Training Guide – “a single comprehensive explanation of what these layers of accessibility are, and how developers can recognize them during the process of development”
- An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues – a human, humane listing of people not disabilities by @kirabug
- From the Department of “No shit, Sherlock”, The Majority Of Today’s App Businesses Are Not Sustainable
- Why the Security of USB Is Fundamentally Broken – “These problems can’t be patched. We’re exploiting the very way that USB is designed.”
- Animals Sitting on Capybaras – you’ll never guess what this is about.
- New law in Russia: bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator (BBC)
- Blasphemy in the Digital Age – Mapping the cases in Pakistan where people have been accused to have committed ‘blasphemy’ on the Internet.
Lonely hearts’ corner
Readers who are single may find this 80s dating video helpful. Invite me to the wedding, please.