Alas, it turns out that it’s reliant on user-agent string sniffing. I guess that’s to be expected: this isn’t something that can be detected directly. Still, it feels a little fragile: whenever you use any user-agent sniffing tool you are entering an arms race that requires you to keep your code constantly updated.
Another good ol’ rant from Tom. It’s a bit extreme but the underlying lamentation with the abandonment of progressive enhancement is well founded.
Some good brainstorming from Tantek that follows on nicely from Anne’s recent manifesto.
A blog covering the conservative dinosaur readiness movement.
Ant—the latest super-smart addition to the Clearleft team—describes this year’s Hackfarm, which happened a couple of weeks ago.
It was Ant’s first week. Or, as he described it when we were wrapping up all the hacking, “Best first week at a job ever!”
Here’s a heartwarming tale. It starts out as a description of processing.js project for Code Club (which is already a great story) and then morphs into a description of how anyone can contribute to make a codebase better …resulting in a lovely pull request on Github.
Some excellent research from Chris, canvassing opinions on whether there’s a difference between web “apps” and web “sites”. His conclusion:
Almost none of the points above ring true for me. All I see are exceptions and gray area.
If nothing else, the fact that none of the proposed distinctions agree with one another show how pointless the phrase “web app” is—if people have completely differing ideas on what a phrase means, it is completely useless in furthering discussion …the very definition of a buzzword.
This leads me to think perhaps the “web app” moniker (certainly the newer of the two) is simply just a fashionable term. We like the sound of it, so we use it, regardless if it truly means anything.
But all of this is, I think, missing the more important point: why? Why would you want to separate the cornucopia of the web into two simplistic buckets? What purpose does it serve? That’s the question that really needs be answered.
If we could pin down a super accurate definition that we agreed on, even then it might not be particularly useful. And since we can’t, I argue it’s even less useful.
This is a wonderful, wonderful round-up by KQED of the most recent Science Hack Day in San Francisco …a truly marvellous event.
Be sure to watch the accompanying video—it brought a tear to my eye.
A superb bit of sleuthing by James:
From London to the Mediterranean, to Malta and back again, over multiple countries and jurisdictions, through airspace and legal space. The contortions of G-WIRG’s flight path mirror the ethical labyrinth the British Government finds itself in when, against all better judgements, it insists on punishing individuals as an example to others, using every weasel justification in its well-funded legal war chest. Using a combination of dirty laws and private technologies to transform and transmit people from one jurisidiction, one legal condition and category, to another: this is the meaning of the verb “to render”.
John shares his concerns about the increasing complexity involved in developing for the web.
Coming from anyone else, this glorious vision might seem far-fetched, but Anne is working to make it a reality.
The transcript of Mark’s talk from last week’s Handheld conference in Cardiff.
There are mountains.
This was my favourite moment from the Handheld conference in Cardiff.
Some excellent practical advice on progressive enhancement.
I agree completely with the sentiment of this article (although the title is perhaps a bit overblown): you shouldn’t need a separate API—that’s what you’re existing URL structure should be.
I’m not entirely sure that content negotiation is the best way to go when it comes to serving up different representations: there’s a real value in being able to paste a URL into a browser window to get back a JSON or XML representation of a resource.
But this is spot-on about the ludicrous over-engineered complexity of most APIs. It’s ridiculous that I can enter a URL into a browser window to get an HTML representation of my latest tweets, but I have to sign up for an API key and jump through OAuth hoops, and agree to display the results in a specific way if I want to get a JSON representation of the same content. Ludicrous!
Usually I find these kinds of name-and-shame collections to be unnecessarily mean-spirited. In this case, the sites being named and shamed are themselves guilty of far worse rudeness.
Some excellent research for web developers: find out which unicode characters have the widest support—release useful for choosing icons.
This is handy: a version of my pattern primer that can be run with Grunt.
A nice bit of markup archeology, tracing the early development of HTML from its unspecced roots to the first drafts.
I recognise some of the extinct elements from the line-mode browser hack days at CERN e.g. HP1, HP2, ISINDEX, etc.
I like this CSS solution to sideways-scrolling tables for small viewports. It’s not going to be right for every situation but it’s a handy trick to keep up your sleeve.
A fascinating snapshot from 1995, arguing for the growing power of HTML instead of the siren song of proprietary formats.
I’m very happy that this is still available to read online 18 years later.
This is the talk I gave at the border:none event in Nuremberg last month. I really enjoyed it. This was a chance to gather together some thoughts I’ve been mulling over for a while about how we approach front-end development today …and tomorrow.
Warning: it does get quite ranty towards the end.
Also: it is only now that the video is released that I see I spent the entire talk looking like a dork with a loop of wire sticking out of the back of my head.
The title is a bit sensationalist but I agree completely with what Karen is saying:
It’s time we acknowledged that every responsive web design project is also a content strategy project.
Frank’s fantastic closing talk from this year’s Build. There’s a lot of great stuff in here about interaction design, and even more great stuff about what’s been happening to the web:
We used to have a map of a frontier that could be anything. The web isn’t young anymore, though. It’s settled. It’s been prospected and picked through. Increasingly, it feels like we decided to pave the wilderness, turn it into a suburb, and build a mall. And I hate this map of the web, because it only describes a fraction of what it is and what’s possible. We’ve taken an opportunity for connection and distorted it to commodify attention. That’s one of the sleaziest things you can do.
I really like Scott’s approach to defining what “support” means in terms of browsers—it makes a lot sense to break things down to the component level.
The authors of the Extensible Web Manifesto explain the thinking behind their …uh… thinking.
A beautiful exploration of the Star Axis sculpture—an artwork of the Long Now.
The ancients had pyramids to tame the sky’s mystery. We have Star Axis, a masterpiece forty years in the making.
Alex starts with a bit of a rant about the phrase “semantic HTML”, which should really just be “well-written HTML, but there then follows some excellent thoughts on the emergence of meaning and the process of standardising on vocabularies.
I despair sometimes.
Here’s a ridiculous Heath-Robinsonesque convoluted way of getting the mighty all-powerful Googlebot to read the web thangs you’ve built using the new shiny client-side frameworks like Angular, Ember, Backbone…
Here’s another idea: output your HTML in HTML.
Good luck getting that script updated for the thousands of sites and applications, you say to yourself, where it’s laying dormant just waiting to send devices the wrong content based on a UA substring.
This is a great idea from A Book Apart—the more different books you buy at the same time, the more of a discount you get.
Got to get ‘em all!
Hot on the heels of the Mailchimp styleguide, here’s the collection of patterns used by Mapbox. I’m not keen on some of their markup choices, but again, it’s great to see organisations publicly documenting this stuff.
The markup for the patterns that Mailchimp use on their products. I love getting a glimpse of how companies handle this kind of stuff internally.
In describing her approach to building the wonderful Julius Cards project, Chloe touches on history, digital preservation, and the future of the web. There are uncomfortable questions here, but they are questions we should all be asking ourselves.
The definition of the cite element (and the blockquote element) has been changed for the better in HTML5 …at least in the W3C version anyway.
Brightonians, get yourselves along to the Corn Exchange on Monday evening for some fun with Seb’s digital fireworks.
I hate carousels, but if you’re going to have one, this progressively enhanced approach looks pretty good.
A superb piece of hypertext from The Guardian.
This is absolutely delightful, nicely weird, and thoroughly entertaining.
From the lovely people behind Editorially comes STET:
A Writers’ Journal on Culture & Technology
I’m going to miss having Paul around at Clearleft …and it sounds like he’s going to miss us too.
In many respects, Clearleft can be regarded as a family. Andy and Rich are the parents while perhaps Jeremy is the fun uncle sending postcards from his adventures around the world.
By the way, we’re hiring (two roles, because that’s what it’ll take to fill Paul’s unicorn shoes).
Dan Bricklin—co-creator of the original VisiCalc spreadsheet—turns his attention to responsive design, specifically for input-centric tasks.
Rachel talks about some of the old-fashioned technologies and business practices driving Perch.
This reminds of a talk by Marco Arment at Webstock a few years back when he described the advantages of not using cutting-edge technologies: most of the time, “boring” well-established technologies are simply more stable.
The case may be a little overstated, but I agree with the sentiment of this. The web is always playing catch-up to something. For a while, it was Flash; now it’s native.
Flash was a great stopgap measure. But it outlived its usefulness and has been reduced to niche status.
Today, we’re seeing the nearly exact same scenario with native apps on mobile devices.
Native mobile apps are a temporary solution. We’re just over 4 years into the Appstore era and this has already become apparent. Open web technologies are catching up to the point that the vast majority of web apps no longer need a native counterpart.
A love letter to HTML, prompted by the line-mode browser hack event at CERN.
Henri gives an overview of the DRM-style encryption proposed for HTML. It’s a very balanced unbiased description, but if you have the slightest concern about security, sentences like this should give you the heebie-jeebies:
You might want to untick the checkbox at the bottom of this screen:
Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.
Dan gives some insight into what it took to make his personal site responsive. Stay tuned: there’ll be more of this.
This is the worst idea for a W3C community group ever. Come to think of it, it’s the worst idea for an idea ever.
This gives me a warm fuzzy glow. The Mefites are using Radio Free Earth to find out which stars are receiving the number one hits from their birthdays.
This is a great explanatory piece from James Bridle in conjunction with Mozilla’s Webmaker. It’s intended for a younger audience, but its clear description of how web requests are resolved is pitch-perfect primer for anyone.
The web isn’t magic. It’s not some faraway place we just ‘connect’ to, but a vast and complex system of computers, connected by actual wires under the ground and the oceans. Every time you open a website, you’re visiting a place where that data is stored.
Chloe writes up her experience of the excellent Science Hack Day in San Francisco and describes the hack we built together: Radio Free Earth.
Wonderful photos from Science Hack Day San Francisco, courtesy of Matt B.
Maciej’s talk from this year’s XOXO—excellent stuff!
A great presentation from Brian Boyer on NPR’s mobile strategy. Spoiler: it’s responsive design.
Realistically, what happens when you detonate a large metallic satellite (about the the size of the second Death Star) in orbit around an inhabited world (like, say, the forest moon of Endor).
It isn’t pretty.
Brian writes up his experience working on the line-mode browser hack event at CERN.
Perma: Scoping and addressing the problem of “link rot” :: Future of the Internet – And how to stop it.
Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain are uncovering disturbing data on link rot in Supreme Court documents: 50% of the the links cited no longer work.
The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish by Rebecca J. Rosen in The Atlantic
Copyright correlates significantly with the disappearance of works rather than with their availability.
From CERN to singularity - the digital pioneer and cofounder of the WWW on 20 years of webscapades.
Once you get past the cheesy intro music, there are some gems from Robert Cailliau in here.
Jason provides some instruction in using the correct quotation marks online.
An epic tale of data recovery.
Of course Jason Scott was involved.
Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Some good advice on how to mothball (rather than destroy) a project when it reaches the end of its useful life. In short, build a switch so that, when the worst comes to the worst, you can output static files and walk away.
In all your excitement starting a new project, spend a little time thinking about the end.
I took a little time out of the hacking here at CERN to answer a few questions about the line-mode browser project.
A heartfelt response from Vitaly to .net magazine’s digital destruction.
This is what I’m working on today (where by “working on”, I mean “watching other far more talented people work on”).
Speakers from this year’s UX Week conference provide career advice. I think my advice is clearly the best:
To be successful in today’s industry, UX professionals should have really killer paisley shirts. Some people will tell you that it’s more important to have good hair and straight teeth, but in my experience, a really good paisley shirt will really take you places.
I had a lot of fun chatting with Jen on this week’s episode of The Web Ahead. Wind me up and let me loose; I ended up rambling on about blogging, the indie web movement, progressive enhancement, and just about everything in between.
I had a nice chat with Michelle from Future Insights about the web and long-term thinking.
It’s sad to see MyOpenID shut down, but now I can simply use IndieAuth instead …which means my delegate URL is simply adactio.com: magic!
Michael Chabon muses on The Future, prompted by the Clock of the Long Now.
A cogent definition and spirited defence of progressive enhancement:
Progressive Enhancement is an extension of our shared values on the web and goes to the root of the web. I believe—and hope you agree—that the web is for everybody and should be accessible regardless of the device a user brings to the party.
I bet you’re going to just keep clicking and clicking and clicking…
A report from the BBC on this year’s Brighton Digital Festival including interviews with Honor, Timo, and Seb.
Some lovely pictures from the Clearleft office-warming party last weekend.
Inspired by dConstruct, Ellen is going to start exploring the world of smart objects.
Iain M.Banks and dConstruct, together at last.
A timeline of technology.
This is a terrific write up of this year’s dConstruct, tying together all the emergent themes.
Here’s the CSS and markup you need to make third-party iframes responsive. Handy!
Some examples to illustrate the UK Border Agency’s latest campaign.
This history of hacking.
Information doth wish to be free.
Beautiful amalgamations of film characters:
A custom software detects faces from every 24 frames of a movie, and creates an average face of all found faces. The composite image reflects the centric figure(s) and the visual mood of the movie.
Omni returns with a Bruce Sterling short story that marries alternative history and satire with a dash of digital preservation.
Go ahead, just wait a year, or two years, or maybe five years. Then try to find this, later. There will be no sign of this website, because it’s just made of pixels. No remains of the machine that you read it with, either.
A little sojourn around the Victorian internet.
Some of the more idiotic, harmful, stupid and nasty things said by the thought leaders of Silicon Valley.
Planetary: collecting and preserving code as a living object | Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York
Aaron Straup-Cope and Seb Chan on the challenges of adding (and keeping) code to the Cooper-Hewitt collection:
The distinction between preservation and access is increasingly blurred. This is especially true for digital objects.
Look at the streets of Brighton for some games to play while you’re in town for dConstruct.
Data visualisations that make no sense.
Go, Dan, go!
Wikipedia edits converted into Eno-esque sound.
Some good-lookin’ stats from a responsive redesign:
Total page views, a metric we were prepared to see go down with the redesign, are up by 27%. Unique visitors per week are up 14% on average and visits per week are up on average 23%.
Scott gives us an excellent State Of The Web address, looking at how the web can be central to the coming age of ubiquitous computing. He rightly skips through the imitation of native apps and gets down to the potential of just-in-time interactions.
Scenes from a future Sweden.
‘Sfunny, I was talking about just this kind of thing at An Event Apart today.