- The ride to 5 HTML5 Doctor article by @stevefaulkner, with quotes from the great and the good, including me. And Timbo.
- HTML5 is done, but two groups still wrestle over Web’s future – Stephen Shankland’s Cnet report
- W3C: Making Payments Easy on the Web – “the payment landscape is quickly changing, and new challenges are appearing. For instance, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 72% across all devices, and 97% on mobile.”
- Web Payments: What you need to know – Introductory overview slidedeck
- Axiomatic CSS and Lobotomized Owls – interesting article by Heydon Pickering
- Formal Objection to advancing the HTML Image Description document along the REC track – W3C says “GTFO” to Apple’s objection to the
longdescextension to HTML5 (it isn’t actually part of full-fat HTML). Of course, if Apple don’t implement it, most developers are unlikely to use it; they haven’t used it much in the last 15 years.
- HbbTV 2.0 details revealed, release expected this year – “personalisation and recommendation of content for users, notably in a multi user environment, and the synchronisation of broadband with broadcast content onto one or more screens”
- Why Microsoft matters more than we think by Christian Heilmann. I agree with him. There are far more secretive players around.
- Bringing Interoperable Real-Time Communications to the Web Microsoft-flavoured ORTC API for WebRTC coming to IE. Jacob Rossi of the IE team writes “we’re working on ensuring an API subset is shared between the specs, Google started co-editing & calls it ‘WebRTC 1.1′”
- Excess XSS – “A comprehensive tutorial on cross-site scripting”
- Getting touchy – An introduction to touch and pointer events – Patrick Lauke’s “War And Peace”-esque day-long workshop slides.
- Making custom widgets accessible with ARIA by the jolly super Léonie Watson (how fast is her screen reader?!?)
- Opera and Telenor partner in Burma – free access to wikipedia (and Facebook Zero, whatever that is).
- W3C releases Code of Conduct. So no more “Fuck you, cocknose, go & read the spec!” mails on the lists. End of an era.
Archive for October, 2014
(Last Updated on 28 February 2019)
(Being part of an occasional series in which I grumpily fulminate against something that’s annoyed me.)
I’m fed up with tech-neocon wankery about “disrupting” industries.
You turned the public into taxi drivers? You simplify the process by which millionaires find a San Francisco parking space? Your iPhone app makes it easy to swipe a face away if you don’t want to fuck its owner? Woo, have a fucking Nobel Prize, Mr Disruptor.
In return for your clever oh-so-useful tech, you perpetuate a culture of all-nighters, working for stock, a lads-only pseudo-meritocracy. You whimper about government regulation that exists to protect consumers and workers. You claim a right derived straight from God (or Adam Smith, at least) to do what you want, when you want, to whom you want and you justify this by saying you’re shaking up (“disrupting”) inefficiencies. So noble! Reforming economics while relentlessly focussed on selling your company to a tech giant so you can repeat the process and enrich yourself.
Fuck your “disruption”. Disrupt your own grasping, me-first mindset. And then show me your tech.
That nice Stephen Shankland just published a news report HTML5 is done, but two groups still wrestle over Web’s future on CNET, quoting me a couple of times.
As I’m occasionally asked questions about how I see the two different organisations working together (or not), here are the full questions that Steve asked me, and my responses (as approved unchanged by my bosses at Opera). I’m grateful to Steve for giving me his permission to reproduce them.
SS: How big a problem is it that WHATWG and W3C both are sorta kinda in charge?
BL: It’s not an especially big problem for the vast majority of developers who aren’t developing sites using still-fluid features that are only available in the latest nightlies. Where they differ, the W3C spec is a better guide to the stable features as implemented already in browsers – for example, it has dropped the <hgroup> element, warns about the lack of implementations of the outlining algorithm and has much better advice on using the <main> element today to make websites more accessible to people with disabilities.
SS: Which do you think has more power in charting the future of the standard?
BL: Neither. The power is with browser makers. As Ian Hickson of WHATWG said, it doesn’t matter what the specs say if browsers don’t implement them.
SS: It seems kind of like we have two horses pulling the same cart, with no coordination between the horses. Is this a bad use of resources? Or is that a bad metaphor?
BL: The web is the biggest platform we’ve ever had. Therefore, it has more constituencies and competing interests than we’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely right that those different interest groups slug it out. At least it’s (mostly) done openly, unlike the decisions made behind closed doors by proprietary organisations answerable to no-one.
SS: We can’t rewrite history to excise XHTML 2.0, but should the two communities work to converge into one somehow? Is that even possible?
BL: I’d like to see one community , but suspect the cultural clashes are too large. So we have to get along, working together mostly and fighting occasionally, just like a family – albeit sometimes most like the Addams Family.
SS: How much actual real-world confusion is there among developers? Where should they go to see what the “true” spec says?
BL: If you want to see what’s already implemented in browsers now, look at W3C spec. If you want to see what might be coming (or how things may change) look at WHATWG spec.
Opera implements following the WHATWG spec, because that’s where nitty-gritty of the leading-edge stuff is discussed. But we also actively support and participate in the W3C as we see the value in having stable snapshots that developers can refer to, and it’s also the forum for many other vital spec discussions about Web Manifest, Device APIs etc. It’s possible to love both and, as we’re Norwegian, our hearts are full of love for all.
As part of my usual Autumn tour of European capitals (this year, Berlin, Bucharest, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Madrid, Oslo) I’ve been lucky enough to speak at three community conferences, which are always my favourite.
The first was SmartWeb conference in Bucharest, Romania. This was started last year by Gabi Schiopu who was frustrated by the lack of front-end conferences in his country, but the cost of international travel and hotels is prohibitive, so decided to start his own. So he got an event organising partner (thank you, Evensys!) and invited speakers. It proved so successful that he ran it for a second year. As I’m paid to do international jetsetting by Opera, I asked that my speaker fee be converted into free tickets for deserving local university/ school students. We’re all pictured below with McCartney-esque cheesy grins and thumbs up. By an almost incredible co-incidence, we were all wearing matching Opera t-shirts.
I had great fun presenting and MCing the event, and Bucharest is a delightful city.
The second was Fronteers in Amsterdam. This year is the seventh conference; I’ve been to four (and spoken at three, if you don’t count this year’s lightning talk the night before). Fronteers is a conference I like to attend because it’s deeply technical, which makes it pretty scary as a speaker but very useful for the audience – there’s no “How I get inspiration from, like, nature and moleskines” or “Iterate often and dare to fail, you’re awesome” stocking-filler on this stage. (And, what a stage it is! A giant cinema screen in the beautiful Pathé Tuschinski cinema. They could probably easily fill a bigger venue, but part of the Fronteers charm is this venue.)
My friend Shwetank Dixit spoke on WebRTC – A Front-end perspective and, as he’d come all the way from India, the rest of the Opera Devrel crew descended on Amsterdam to give moral support and drink Dutch beer (the best is called “jenever” – no more than 4 pints, though). As usual, lots to learn and lovely to meet the great and the good of Europe’s web developers there.
Fronteers is organised by a group of volunteers, and its charitable status means that they don’t turn a profit at the end of the year – all money made is reinvested back into other events and initiatives for the Dutch web development community. Yay. Thanks, Fronteers crew, for putting on the conference and looking after me so well (even though I wasn’t actually speaking).
Only joking- Paris, duh. For its ninth year, I decided to ruin its reputation and give a talk on “Web Components- The Right Way” with Karl Groves of The Paciello Group. Here’s the video, and here are our slides:
What’s jolly nice about ParisWeb is that English talks are simultaneously translated into French, all talks are translated into sign language and transcribed live. The latter was useful to me as I find it easier to read French than to follow the spoken language (French people spell much better than they pronounce), especially technical French for hours. I was especially proud when the signing interpreter sought me out after my unscheduled lightning talk (video, starts at 18 mins) to thank me for giving her the opportunity to sign “rectal prolapse” and “ejaculate my own liquified spleen” which, inexplicably, she seldom gets to do.
Again, ParisWeb is run by a group of volunteers who do it for love of the web.
Vive les volunteers! Please do all you can to support these conferences and, if you’re invited to speak, accept – it’s part of contributing back.
all: initial. This resets all CSS properties to their initial value, and undoes browser stylesheets – in this example, the
blockquote is no longer indented or
display:block; as you’d expect.
Other values for the property are
inherit, which changes all the properties applying to the element or the element’s parent to their parent value, and
unset which changes all the properties applying to the element or the element’s parent to their parent value if they are inheritable or to their initial value if not.
They’re supported in Opera, Firefox and Chrome. The Mozilla Developer Network page has good examples of these.
What’s curious, though, is that the value that would be the most useful isn’t there at all. I wouldn’t want to completely strip away User Agent styles and then have to reset elements to display block-level and then indent them in CSS. I wonder why there’s no
all: ua-default (or somesuch) to reset them to the User Agent style sheet default?
Update: Saperlipopette! There’s a very good French-language post La cascade CSS avancée: all, initial et unset for those who speak Oohlala.
(Last Updated on 28 October 2014)
Microsoft wrote a spec called Pointer Events API that unifies touch, stylus and mouse inputs, and implemented it in IE11 (partially in IE10). Firefox are implementing it too. After initial enthusiasm from Google, Chrome announced that it won’t support it, after all.
- HTTP 203: Pointer Events – 4 min video in which Jank Architect and Longpoll Lewis explain why Chrome thinks the Pointer Events API smells.
- Jacob Rossi of Microsoft disputes the claims (G+ link, sorry).
- More discussion about the Pointer Events Smell video from @SlexAxton, @davemethvin (jQuery): “It all boils down to ‘Why is Chrome+IE+Firefox not enough for Pointer Events, but Chrome+Firefox enough for Touch Events extensions?'”
Other standards ‘n’ shiz
- Preloading and deferred loading of scripts and other resources – Hixie suggests stuff like
<script src=.. needs="previous-script" load-policy="optimistic">
- Building for mobile? Don’t forget that 2G is still “a thing”… a big thing, in fact. says Ilya Grigorik. (Google+ link, sorry)
- Status of Promises in gUM discussion – now gUM is being “moved” to the snappily-named
navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMediaand will use Promises, should “legacy”
navigator.getUserMediacontinue to use callbacks? Yes, in my opinion – there is a lot of stuff already out there.
- Brum Tech Scene – Stuart Langridge interviews @SusannahGoh of Birmingham Science City about health, data, and innovation. Having just returned from Fronteers conference in Amsterdam, I confirm Susannah’s assertion that stroopwafel is a biscuit made of superglue.
- anonabox : a Tor hardware router to anonymise all net use and bypass censorship, easy to hide/ destroy if the Secret Police/ Mullahs are at your door.
- 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.
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.
(Last Updated on 6 October 2014)
Like everyone else on the Web, I’m a musical snob. I’d far rather listen to arty difficult stuff like Can and My Bloody Valentine than Abba. But I’m also a musician so have a love and admiration for great catchy melodies and brilliant production. Here are top ten guilty pleasures – the Krispy Kreme Playlist – of songs that I genuinely love, not through wanky PoMo irony, but because they’re great.
Gita Gutawa – Bukan Permainan
This song obsessed me when I was doing a University lecture tour of Indonesia and heard it in a taxi. The helium voice, perfect production, harmonies and vocal line took residency in my brain within 4.3 nanoseconds of her starting singing. I attracted quite a crowd in a Jakarta shopping mall attempting to sing it to astonished music shop counter staff. They finally handed me – a middle-aged white man – a CD of a girl in a big pink wedding-cake dress who looked about ten years old. They must have thought I was Gary Glitter’s brother.
Wham – Young Guns (Go For It)
Sexist, crass and great.
Sugababes – About You Now
YouTube is full of videos of angsty teenage girls strumming moody acoustic covers of this in their bedrooms, but the mechanical drums and bounciness of the original makes it flawless in every possible way.
Oasis – The Hindu Times
Oasis are, of course, preposterous cockheads who steal their tunes, grunt their meaningless lyrics and walk like incontinent chimps. But this has a great moron riff and splendid changeover from chorus back to verse, thumping drums and a wall of sound. I bet even Blur like this.
Natalie Imbruglia – Torn
Perfect. Some splendid bass guitar wiggling around under Natalie. Lucky bass guitar.
Betty Boo – Doin’ The Do
Sassy girl singer, great bass, great video and great dance music. It was a hard decision whether to include this, or Dee Lite’s Groove is in the Heart, but she won because (a) she’s British and (b) I am genuinely in love with her and want to bear her children.
U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name
Undeniably, Bono’s a nob. Indubitably, U2 are flatulent stadium rock. But this is great and you won’t convince me otherwise with sophistry, even if you’re Lou Reed himself.
ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) – Midnight Blue
A lovely tune, so over-produced that it’s in grave danger of collapsing under its own ludicrousness like an orchid wearing loads of rapper bling and Argos sovereign rings.
Dexys Midnight Runners – Come On Eileen
The warbly vocals. The slow down and speed up again bit. Excellent.
Hanson – MMMBop
Anyone who doesn’t love this has cloth ears and no humour or soul. And that’s proven by science.
Sophie Ellis-Bextor – Murder On The Dance Floor
Oops – a number 11 in a list of 10. But this is too good not to listen to.
Here’s the Spotify playlist.
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.