- This week’s Golden Link: Service Worker Cookbook from Mozilla “is a collection of working, practical examples of using service workers in modern web apps”
- Progressive Web Apps 30 minute video from Chrome Dev Summit session with Alex Russell (Google) and Andreas Bovens (my boss, Opera).
- Manifest Generator by me and Stuart Langridge mentioned in the video above, that scours your site for metadata and tries to make a manifest that you can download. Beta!
- Better specifications for the sake of the Web – w3c blog by Virginie Galindo (@poulpita). TL:DR: summarise, don’t fragment, diagrams, examples.
- After Endless Demonization Of Encryption, Police Find Paris Attackers Coordinated Via Unencrypted SMS
- Job ad: Senior User Experience Designer Opera’s looking for one to work on Opera for Android with my nice boss, Andreas Bovens. “While professional UX experience is required, talent and ambition are your best assets”. Tell ’em I sent you.
- Talking of which, A Recruitment Evening for Technically Talented Disabled People — BBC seeks web developers with disabilities.
- Applying Flexbox to the Video Player – Laura Kalbag makes a video player even more responsiver with Flexbox
- My captioning workflow – Using YouTube’s captioning tools to make video more accessible: step-by-step guide by Michael Lockrey
- Fronteers 2015 videos and every single one has ME in it!
- Interoperability Case Studies – BlinkOn 5 presentation by @foolip (Opera) and @RickByers (Google)
- Interview with Gramneenphone CEO (the leading telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh) – “Although people in remote areas in Bangladesh still have no access to proper education and heath services, they are changing their lot just using internet as the power of internet is huge.”
- Talking of connecting the unconnected, Opera won Best Disruptive Innovation award at AppsAfrica for sponsored web pass with 1 million free days of web access
- Quantum computers a step closer to reality after silicon coding breakthrough
- The Day Google Deleted Me – I’ve endorsed Terence Eden on LinkTin for his wildly inventive swearing in this
- Miss Amazing – a beauty pageant for women with disabilities “judged on their levels of self-confidence” (Nothing to do with web development, but I liked it)
For those who don’t know, “a11y” is short for “accessibility” — the practice of ensuring web sites (and apps) are usable by people with disabilities.
Anyway, Heydon Pickering, a chum of mine from Bury St Somerset O’Groats in rural England, has collected some music made by people from the accessibility (and wider web standards) world, and is selling an album of it for £3, all of which will go to two worthy causes: NVDA, a free open-source screen reader to help people with visual disabilities access the web, and Parkinsons UK.
The track list is pretty varied, from novelty to folk to psychedelia. There’s even a song by me on it, called Imprecise and Infrared, which Heydon described: “Your song has been stuck in my head 4 days out of 5 for the last four months, you catchy fuck.”
It would make a lovely Xmas prezzy, and owning it will make you (up to) 74 times more sexually desirable. So why not buy it?
- Gold: Progressive Web App: A New Way to Experience Mobile – write-up by Flipkart on how they made Flipkart Lite, an installable web app, with HTML Manifest and Service Worker
- Talking of Service Worker, Making a Simple Site Work Offline with ServiceWorker is a great intro
- Also, My first Service Worker – Jeremy Keith reminisces about his first time
- The Cost of Frameworks – International glamourpuss @aerotwist wrote up his excellent @ffconf talk.
- In defense of the Reset button… by Raymond Camden
- PSA: don’t use gradient generators by Ana Tudor
- Houdini meeting, Japan – interesting stuff from Apple on declarative “crazy scroll things”, touch and gestures without running script
- Beyond the Rack -“Beyond the Rack re-engages users on the mobile web, increasing revenue per visit by 26% with push notifications”
- The Realities of Installing iBeacon to Scale fledgling problems with the Physical Web
- The ethics of ad blocking written up in Oxford University’s “Practical Ethics”
- Your Unhashable Fingerprints Secure Nothing
- Peering Into The Minds Of The 4.3 Billion Unconnected – “These are people who mostly can’t tell what the X at the top-right of the screen does, or what “sign up” means, or what a username and password are”
- How Opera’s video compression technology works – not technical but a maybe-interesting overview
- Talking of which, Opera Mini for iOS beta (featuring video compression) if you’d like to sign up.
- WebGL 2.0 – presentation by Zhenyao Mo, and Ken Russell of Google
- OK Computer: how to work with automation and AI on the web by Peter Gasston
- A better paywall ecosystem with content passes – “There is declining but unfortunately still significant cohort of people who think all content “wants to be free” or similar nonsense” by Andrew Betts
Number 6 in a series of poems I’ve been writing for 30 years. Amsterdam, October 2015.
Locked in this box
I have a seashell
that whispers to me
of white foaming surf and starfish,
of sirens and islands,
of sails and whales
and a voyage to see
a ballet of almond trees.
When there is no melody to be heard,
when this silence crushes,
I listen to my seashell —
it reminds me how to sing.
And I can smell oysters and dead fish;
And I can hear the wind groaning in the rigging;
And I can touch seaweed slime and driftwood;
And I can taste salt spray on my lips.
Then I hide it in this box, away, again.
- Future of HTML – some soul-searching at W3C TPAC meeting on future of HTML5 spec vs WHATWG HTML Living Standard, and Steve Faulkner’s thoughts (on Medium; he’s so Thought-Leader)
- Is Google usable? – an eye-opening usability lab video of a featurephone user’s first contact with the web, trying to type a search term into Google on a smartphone
- Three years with CSS Grid Layout – self-appointed Grid Cheerleader Rachel Andrew writes on how the spec’s evolved as she’s waved her pompoms
- Building an offline page for theguardian.com “How we used service workers to build a custom offline page for theguardian.com”
- Background Synchronization – “A design and spec for ServiceWorker-based background synchronization”
- The Web Payments Browser API– a proposal for an API that “enables web developers to register payment instruments (credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, etc.), initiate requests for payment, and acknowledge requests for payment.
- Less content marketing, more quality content – “Telenor of Norway deleted almost 90% of their pages. Conversions went up by 100%. support requests went down by 35%”
- Full support for network interception using Service Workers in Firefox 44 Developer Edition.
- CSS Round Display Level 1 – extending CSS for circular displays. Draft by LG, with watches as the usecase.
- Things To Avoid When Writing CSS by Heydon Pickering (and part 2)
- <panels> and <panelsets> – proposed new HTML thangs. Write-up by permaglam Leonie Watson.
- Opera Max data-saving app to come bundled on Samsung, Xiaomi phones. We expect 100 million Android devices to ship with Opera Max by 2017.
- Petition – Government to abandon all ideas of trying to ban strong encryption “At 10,000 signatures, government will respond to this petition. At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament”. (UK folks only. But please sign).
- Internet browsing history – Freedom of Information request for “all websites visits made through parliamentary PCs made by MPs or their staff during the past 12 months.”
- Metadata of emails sent to and from the Home Secretary F.O.I. request – because if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear.
- The changing form of the web browser – thought-piece by Peter Gasston
Top quality rant by Linus about “compiler masturbation” – One day, I’ll tell him exactly what I think about Git’s command line.
Here’s a video of a keynote talk I gave on Friday at Velocity Conference, Amsterdam. It was my last conference talk of the season, and the end of 4 weeks on the road.
I’m quite proud of it, for a number of reasons; firstly, because I was nearly sick with nerves but I look quite relaxed. (Look at how many people were there – and this is only half the room! Photo by Scott Jenson)
The second reason I’m pleased with it is because it explains why I (personally) do what I do. I was born in Yemen, lived in Africa and Asia and lament the Western-centricity of so many organisations, which manifests in their websites. It took a great deal of research, but it was worth it – some of the numbers, demographics and facts startled many audience members, and made a fair few of them realise that it truly is a worldwide web, not a wealthy western web.
Many people came up and expressed shock at the image of the true size of Africa. When people hear that the United Nations predicts the population of Africa will increase from its 1 billion now to 2 billion by 2050 and peak at 5 billion in 2100, they have visions of some Malthusian mass-starvation catastrophe. But, because of the Mercator Projection, few realise how damn big Africa is. For a fascinating and encouraging look at population trends, I thoroughly recommend Dr Hans Rosling’s 1 hour presentation Don’t Panic – The Facts About Population. It’s entertaining, evidence-driven and deeply, deeply humane.
There’s a 5MB PDF of the slides, too, containing links to resources. I also wrote an article Making websites that work well on Opera Mini.
Here’s a song I started writing in Pokhahra, Nepal, under a skyline dominated by the Annapurnas (hence the Nepalese temple bell sample), while thinking about childbirth: how the delivery of my kids felt like a miracle, yet it’s so commonplace – millions of babies are born every year.
Then I thought about the unconditional love one has for one’s kids, and then the ordinary miracle of feeling love for anyone. So it’s about all of that, and joy and sorrow, related hippie bollocks, and mountains too. I love the sea, and I love mountains.
The second verse was completed in March this year in Barcelona. I’d hoped to have it recorded and mixed before my friend had her baby, but a month of travel prevented mixing and he was born at the weekend. Hurray!
Title suggested by Brian Patten’s Fruitful Lady of the Dawn.
It’s for you, please don’t think twice.
No words are wasted in this offering;
Take it now; no sacrifice;
freeing me, it’s freely given.
These gifts won’t fade;
It’s renewed every day
This may seem commonplace and unremarkable –
it’s the ordinary miracle:
Mundane, banal and trivial;
Comic-fodder for the cynical.
I give my unconditional love to you.
I never saw a clearer moon
from the Annapurnas to the Pyrenees.
I hope you don’t learn too soon
that freedom that is granted doesn’t set you free.
This light will glow –
I hope you see it when you go.
It’s for you – hold out your hands.
I’ll waste no more words in this offering.
- The Big News: Deprecating our AJAX crawling scheme – Google’s recommended SEO tactic is “following the principles of progressive enhancement”. I know that non-Chrome browsers will be thrilled at the immediate removal of browser-sniffing from Google’s own properties as they implement their own “best practice”.
- Responsive Images plugin merging into WordPress core. So that’s 24% of the web to be responsiver. Yay.
- Release the Beacons! Opera for Android labs build with support for Eddystone beacons for your Internet of Thingies pleasure. I wrote up the details.
- Understanding MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, AVCHD and H.265 – because without this knowledge, you’re less of a human being.
- ios 9 Safari / Web App Viewport Problem (expands to fit all elements in view) – apparently,
shrink-to-fit=noin the viewport meta reverts to iOS behaviour.
- Easy content organisation with HTML5 – Steve Faulkner’s refresher on using HTML5 structural elements to define page regions, in which he uses long words like a native English speaker
- Screen Reader strategy survey – Heydon “Interesting Nuggets” Pickiering hopes to get qualitative data on how screenreader users approach “a new, unfamiliar web page, for which you have no prior knowledge or expectations”
- Reactive Design – Collection of design insights about perceived speed
- Script-Based Web Accessibility draft proposal for a set of User Intention Events that build on ARIA to extend accessibility functionality to complex, scripted web applications, by Cynthia Shelley of Microsoft
- Adapting without assumptions – “We need better ways to adapt content to the user’s current conditions.” Yoav Weiss writes a LongTweet (“a blogpost”) about it.
- New HTML5 Player beta trial for BBC iPlayer – there’s the door, Flash. And you, standalone BBC Media Player app on Android devices.
- List of BBC web pages which have been removed from Google’s search results and BBC’s policies on archiving and deletion
- You Mustn’t Criticise The Status Quo At A Hackday wise words from Terence Eden
- The Cost of Mobile Ads on 50 News Websites – “Visiting the home page of Boston.com every day for a month would cost the equivalent of about $9.50 in data usage just for the ads.”
- China Online Retail Forecast, 2014 To 2019 – Forrester forecases $1 trillion per annum by 2019
- Naked capitalism – interesting (SFW) Economist article on modern web porn business
- What I learned spending five hours in the Apple Store for my iPhone 6s – chilling tales of terrible suffering from outside the San Francisco Apple store. Where’s the Red Cross when it’s needed?
- Talking of which… Let’s Sell Some Shit To These Millennials
- And finally, Time magazine reports that 11% of Americans Think HTML Is an STD. In my days, we called computer-clap “VDU”.
- Installable Web Apps and Add to Home screen released this week in Opera 32 for Android. Also in Chrome.
- lessons from the ad blocker trenches by Yan Zhou of W3C TAG
- CSS stacking contexts: What they are and how they work by Tiffany Brown, who’s one of my favourite tech authors because she explains very clearly. And also because she rocks.
- Use Only One <main> on a Page – Adrian Roselli lists the reasons why. Number 2 will make you cry!
- Back to the :roots – “I’ll try to show a few ways how you can make the cascade be your friend and maybe reduce the need of overriding and thus encounter less fighting with specificity.”
- How to display threaded discussions on the web by Rian Van Der Merwe
- What forces layout / reflow – JS properties or methods, that trigger the browser to synchronously calculate the style and layout, a common performance bottleneck” by Paul Irish
- Creating Cel Animations With SVG By Heydon Pickering
- This single mom is fighting to protect Pakistani women from cyberbullying – Tech in Asia profile of Nighat Dad
- Graphic Presentation – Willard Cope Brinton’s 1939 book (a sort of proto-Edward Tufte) free to download
- A New Caption That Works for Every New Yorker Cartoon