Tags: standards

Web 2024 | Robin Berjon

Here’s a dystopian vision of the web in ten years time, where professional developers are the only people able to publish on the web.

This is why it worries me when I come across very smart people who don’t seem to see a problem with the creation of web pages being taken out of the reach of any human being with an internet connection and a smattering of declarative languages—HTML, CSS—and into the hands of an elite minority of JavaScript programmers.

The elements of HTML

This (literally) charts the evolution of HTML, tracking which elements have been added and which have been removed.

Permanence - Matt Gemmell

Some good ideas from Matt on the importance of striving to maintain digital works. I find it very encouraging to see other people writing about this, especially when it’s this thoughtful.

5by5 | The Web Ahead #73: DRM with Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers on Huffduffer

Here’s the chat I had with Jen and Doug about the prospect of DRM in browsers.

5by5 | The Web Ahead #73: DRM with Jeremy Keith and Doug Schepers

Using Encapsulation for Semantic Markup on CSS-Tricks

I really hope that this is the kind of usage we’ll see for web components: enhancements for the browsers that support them without a good ol’ fashioned fallback for older browsers.

Burying the URL - Allen Pike

Right now, this move to remove URLs from the interface of Chrome is just an experiment …but the fact that Google are even experimenting with it is very disturbing.

“Who? Me? No, I was never going to actually blow the web’s brains out—I just wanted to feel the heft of the weapon as I stroked it against the face of the web.”

Incomplete List of Mistakes in the Design of CSS [CSS Working Group Wiki]

I think I concur with this list. Although I guess it’s worth remembering that, given the size of the CSS spec, this isn’t an overly-long list.

It’s interesting that quite a few of them are about how things are named. It’s almost as if that’s one of the, say, two hardest things in computer science.

Data attributes and progressive enhancement - Simply Accessible

Derek’s excellent advice on avoiding over-reliance on data attributes has this brilliant nugget of insight:

In the web front-end stack — HTML, CSS, JS, and ARIA — if you can solve a problem with a simpler solution lower in the stack, you should. It’s less fragile, more foolproof, and just works

Confessions Of A CSS Expert

Funny because it’s true:

The thing I regret the most is how my class addiction affected my relationship with HTML.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Notes on accessibility of Web Components

Bruce’s thoughts on ensuring accessibility in Web Components. He thinks that the vocabulary of ARIA is up to the job, so that’s good enough for me.

Aerotwist - Web Components and the Three Unsexy Pillars

A healthy dose of scepticism about Web Components, looking at them through the lenses of accessibility, security, and performance.

I share some of this concern: Web Components might look like handy ready-made out-of-the-box solutions, but the truth is that web developers have to do much more of the hard graft that was traditionally left to the browser.

Platformed. — Unstoppable Robot Ninja

The importance of long-term thinking in web design. I love this description of the web:

a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients

Jonathan T. Neal | Thoughts on Media Queries for Elements

Some good ideas on the idea of element-level media queries, a feature that developers are crying out for and browser makers are saying is too hard. This post has some thoughts on how to deal with the potential issues.

Happy 17th Birthday CSS | Web Directions

A lovely history lesson on CSS from John.

Myth - CSS the way it was imagined.

This looks interesting: a CSS postprocessor that polyfills support for perfectly cromulent styles.

The (other) Web we lost

John shares his concerns about the increasing complexity involved in developing for the web.

Building for the device agnostic web | Talks | Decade City

Some excellent practical advice on progressive enhancement.

Proto HTML

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.

Against the Balkanization of the Web

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.

Laying The Groundwork For Extensibility—Smashing Coding

The authors of the Extensible Web Manifesto explain the thinking behind their …uh… thinking.

There’s a lot to like here, with some practical examples of where we’ve seen a disconnect between JavaScript APIs and declarative HTML (looking at you, Geolocation).

Long Term Web Semantics on Infrequently Noted

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.

Line Mode on Parallel Transport

A love letter to HTML, prompted by the line-mode browser hack event at CERN.

What is EME?

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:

Neither the browser nor the JavaScript program understand the bytes.

Internet and Web Pioneers: Robert Cailliau - YouTube

Once you get past the cheesy intro music, there are some gems from Robert Cailliau in here.

LMB hack days: Jeremy Keith

I took a little time out of the hacking here at CERN to answer a few questions about the line-mode browser project.

Progressive Enhancement. Still Alive and Kickin’

Dan explains the reasoning behind his “Sigh, JavaScript” Tumblr blog, and provides an excellent example of progressive enhancement in the process.

Go, Dan, go!

Enabling new types of web user experiences - W3C Blog

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.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : On citing quotations. Again.

The semantics of the cite element are up for discussion again. Bruce, like myself, still thinks that we should be allowed to mark up names with the cite element (as per HTML 4), and also that cite elements should be allowed inside blockquotes to indicate the source of the quote.

Let’s pave that cowpath.

Surfin’ Safari - Blog Archive » Improved support for high-resolution displays with the srcset image attribute

WebKit nightlies now have support for srcset. I’m pleased to see that it’s currently constrained to just handling the case of high-density displays; it doesn’t duplicate the media query functionality of picture.

I’ve always maintained that the best solution to responsive images will be some combination of srcset and picture: they each have their strengths and weaknesses. The “art direction” use case is better handled by picture, but the “retina” use case is better handled by srcset.

We Need More Communism by Scott Jenson

A terrific lighting talk by Scott on the need to think bigger. The solution to long-term issues is rarely “start a company”—we need to think more about creating a shared infrastructure …just like the internet.

Crippling the web - TimKadlec.com

A great call-to-arms from Tim, simply asking that we create websites that take advantage of the amazing universality of the web:

The web has the power to go anywhere—any network, any device, any browser. Why not take advantage of that?

Inevitably there is pushback in the comments from developers still in the “denial” stage of coming to terms with what the web is.

Responsive design: we are not there yet

A call for developers to let standards bodies know what we want:

It is important that we as developers focus on the right things again. If you encounter a bug, you should not only fix it for your site; you should reach out to browser vendors and web standards people to fix this in a long-term solution. It might cost you a few minutes, but brings a lot of improvement to the whole developer community.

Installable Webapps: Extend the Sandbox by Boris Smus

This a great proposal: well-researched and explained, it tackles the tricky subject of balancing security and access to native APIs.

Far too many ideas around installable websites focus on imitating native behaviour in a cargo-cult kind of way, whereas this acknowledges addressability (with URLs) as a killer feature of the web …a beautiful baby that we definitely don’t want to throw out with the bathwater.

Lockdown – Marco.org

A superb piece by Marco Arment prompted by the closing of Google Reader. He nails the power of RSS:

RSS represents the antithesis of this new world: it’s completely open, decentralized, and owned by nobody, just like the web itself. It allows anyone, large or small, to build something new and disrupt anyone else they’d like because nobody has to fly six salespeople out first to work out a partnership with anyone else’s salespeople.

And he’s absolutely on the money when he describes what changed:

RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).

I share his anger.

Well, fuck them, and fuck that.

Hot Topics Panel with Jeremy Keith - Mobilism 2013, Day 2, Afternoon, Final session on Vimeo

The closing hot topics panel I moderated at this year’s Mobilism conference in Amsterdam, featuring Remy, Wilto, Jake, and Dan.

Why the Web Doesn’t Need Another CSS Zen Garden - YouTube

A great history lesson from Dave.

Ah, I remember when the CSS Zen Garden was all fields. Now get off my CSS lawn.

Web Fonts and the Critical Path - Ian Feather

The battle between web fonts and performance. Ian Feather outlines some possible solutions, but of course, as always, the answer is “it depends”.

DRM and HTML5: it’s now or never for the Open Web

Dr Harry Halpin writing in the Guardian about the crucial crossroads that we have reached with the very real possibility of DRM mechanisms becoming encoded within HTML:

Most of us are simply happy to launch our browsers and surf the web without a second thought as to how the standards like HTML are created. These standards are in the hands of a fairly small set of standards bodies that have in general acted as responsible stewards for the last few years. The issue of DRM in HTML may be the turning point where all sorts of organisations and users are going to stop taking the open web for granted.

Is Google dumping open standards for open wallets?

Google’s track record is not looking good. There seems to be a modus operandi of bait-and-switch: start with open technologies (XMPP, CalDav, RSS) and then once they’ve amassed a big enough user base, ditch the standards.

What’s Holding Up The Internet Of Things

This echoes what Scott Jenson has been saying: the current trend with connected devices is far too reliant on individual proprietary silos instead of communicating with open standards.

So instead of talking directly to one another, devices on today’s nascent Internet of Things now communicate primarily with centralized servers controlled by a related developer or vendor. That works, after a fashion, but it also leads to a bunch of balkanized subnetworks in which devices can communicate perfectly well with each other - but can’t actually talk to devices on any other balkanized subnetwork.

Jeremy Keith - What We Talk About When We Talk About The Web on Vimeo

My presentation from the Industry conference in Newcastle a little while back, when I stepped in for John Allsopp to deliver the closing talk.

The Extensible Web Manifesto

An intriguing initiative to tighten up the loop between standards development and implementation.

Request Quest

A terrific quiz about browser performance from Jake. I had the pleasure of watching him present this in a bar in Amsterdam—he was like a circus carny hoodwinking the assembled geeks.

I guarantee you won’t get all of this right, and that’s a good thing: you’ll learn something. If you do get them all right, either you are Jake or you are very, very sad.

The thing and the whole of the thing: on DRM in HTML

A great post by Stuart on the prospect of DRM-by-any-other-name in HTML.

The argument has been made that if the web doesn’t embrace this stuff, people won’t stop watching videos: they’ll just go somewhere other than the web to get them, and that is a correct argument. But what is the point in bringing people to the web to watch their videos, if in order to do so the web becomes platform-specific and unopen and balkanised?

Deep dive into the murky waters of script loading

Jake casts a scrutinising eye over the way that browsers load and parse scripts …and looks at what we can do about it.

Exquisite Tweets from @genmon, @kellan, @anildash

I need to get Matt to an Indie Web Camp.

The irregular musings of Lou Montulli: The reasoning behind Web Cookies

A fascinating look at the history of cookies …from the inventor of cookies.

Laurent Eschenauer: What’s next Google? Dropping SMTP support?

The litany of open standards that Google has been abandoning: RSS, XMPP, WebDav…

CSS is not an amoral monster.

I’m in general agreement with this rousing defence of CSS. I think it does a pretty great job of balancing a whole ton of use cases.

mezzoblue § 10 Years

Wow! The CSS Zen Garden is a decade old. Crazy! It’s a true piece of web history …and it’s back!

A Stormy Sky of Cranky Clouds by Scott Jenson

Scott points out a really big problem with the current state of the “internet of things”: everyone is inventing their own proprietary walled-garden infrastructure instead of getting together to collaborate on standards.

The single biggest fallacy I want to blow up is this utopian idea that there is this SINGLE thing called ‘The Cloud’. Each company today reinvents their own cloud. The Cloud as a concept is dead and has been for years: we are living within a stormy sky of cranky clouds, all trying to pretend the others don’t exist.

I know jQuery. Now what?

A terrific piece by Remy—based on a talk he gave—on when he uses jQuery and, more importantly, when he doesn’t. His experiences and conclusions pretty much mirror my own, but of course Remy is far more thoughtful and smart than I.

Really good stuff.

Thoughts on Blink

A good history lesson in rendering engines: KHTML, WebKit, and now, Blink.

datalist experiment

This is wonderful stuff! I’m a big fan of the datalist element but I hadn’t realised how it could be combined with input types like range and date.

So nifty!

ROCA: Resource-oriented Client Architecture

I like these design principles for server-side and client-side frameworks. I would say that they’re common sense but looking at many popular frameworks, this sense isn’t as common as it should be.

inessential.com: Why I love RSS and You Do Too

Brent Simmons pens a love-letter to RSS, a technology that you use every day, whether you realise it or not.

On Silos vs an Open Social Web by Tantek

Tantek steps back and offers some practical approaches to reclaiming a more open web from the increasingly tight clutches of the big dominant roach motels.

Notice that he wrote this on his own domain, not on Branch, Medium, Google+, Facebook, or any other black hole.

A List Apart Issue № 371

This issue of A List Apart is a great double-whammy. Lara Swanson has a ton of practical tips for front-end performance enhancements, and Brian dives deep into making your own icon fonts.

We’re not ‘appy. Not ‘appy at all.

An excellent explanation from Tom Loosemore on why the Government Digital Service is putting its energy into open standards and the web, rather than proprietary native apps.

For discussion: viewport and font-size data in client hints

The “client hints” proposal looks really interesting: a way for user-agents to send data to the server without requiring the server to have a library of user-agent strings. But Scott has a few concerns about some of the details.

Our Work Here is Done - The Web Standards Project

The WaSP is closing its doors. It has been a privilege and an honour to serve with such a fine organisation.

Protip: All browsers that support SVG background images also supports multiple background images.

A very hand tip from Ben on using SVG background images with a PNG fallback for IE8 and below.

The Vanilla Web Diet by Christian Heilman

I like the sound of the book that Chris is writing for Smashing Magazine. It sounds like a very future-friendly approach to front-end development.

You can’t create a button by Nicholas Zakas

Related to my rant on links that aren’t actually links: buttons that aren’t actually buttons.

HTML5 in six steps by Andy Hume

You’re probably doing each of these already but just in case your’e not, Andy has listed six quick wins you can get from HTML5.

On the styling of forms by Bruce Lawson

Bruce takes a look at the tricky issue of styling native form controls. Help us, Shadow DOM, you’re our only hope!

The impending crisis that is Windows XP and IE 8 by Troy Hunt

A good explanation of the litany of woes that comes from Internet Explorer 8 being the highest that users of Windows XP can upgrade to. It’s a particularly woeful situation if you are a web developer attempting to provide parity. But there is hope on the horizon:

2013 will see the culmination of all these issues; support for IE 8 will drop of rapidly, users of XP will find an increasingly broken web, the cost of building software in XP organisations will increase.

The importance of HTML5 sectioning elements by Heydon Pickering

A good explanation of HTML5’s sectioning content and outline algorithm.

Implementing off-canvas navigation for a responsive website by David Bushell

This off-canvas demo is a great practical example of progressive enhancement from David. It’s also a lesson in why over-reliance on jQuery can sometimes be problematic.

Interview with Ian Hickson, HTML editor on HTML5 Doctor

Bruce sits down for a chat with Hixie. This is a good insight into the past and present process behind HTML.

www-talk

Here’s a treasure trove of web history: an archive of the www-talk list dating back to 1991. Watch as HTML gets hammered out by a small group of early implementors: Tim Berners-Lee, Dave Raggett, Marc Andreessen, Dan Connolly…

Why you should say HTML classes, CSS class selectors, or CSS pseudo-classes, but not CSS classes - Tantek

I love that Tantek is as pedantic as I am …although I don’t think “pedantic” is exactly the right word.

Deploying New Image Formats on the Web - igvita.com

A well-reasoned argument for tackling image optimisation on the server, using content-type negotiation.

Andy Hume: CSS for Grownups, SXSW 2012 - YouTube

The slides and audio from Andy’s exceptional talk earlier this year at Southby, combined into one video.

It really is excellent, although he does make the mistake of pulling the “dogma” card on those who woud disagree with him, and he really doesn’t need to: his argument is strong enough to stand on its own.

Main element - WHATWG Wiki

Tantek has put together a wiki page to document the arguments for and against adding a new “main” element to HTML.

On Open Platforms, Wifi, Home Automation, and Kitty Litter | John Battelle’s Search BlogJohn Battelle’s Search Blog

This echoes Scott Jenson’s call for more open standards when it comes to networked devices. We’ll need it if we want “If This, Then That” for an internet of things.

Was the Internet just an accident? | Scott Jenson

Man, I just love Scott Jenson.

Our brains have collectively gone startup-crazy, seeing the world through stock option colored glasses, assuming that if there is no money, there is clearly no value. This is madness. I’m so desperately worried that the internet will turn out to be a happy accident.

Turning his focus on “the internet of things” he makes the very good point that what we need isn’t one company or one proprietary service; we need an ecosystem of open standards that will enable companies to build services.

We all have to appreciate how we need a deep, open solution to solve this problem. If we don’t understand, demand even, that hardware devices need to be just as discoverable an open as web servers are today, we’ll never see the internet of things come to pass.

Going Full Frontal — Acko.net

Steven Wittens, who gave a terrific talk all about maths at last week’s Full Frontal conference, describes his experience at that most excellent event.

HTML5 forms (and IE10 (Mobile)) | Andrea Trasatti’s tech notes and more

Andrea looks at support for HTML5 input types in IE10 Mobile.

Accessibility – what is it good for? | Marco’s accessibility blog

A worrying look at how modern web developers approach accessibility. In short, they don’t.

IE10 Snap Mode and Responsive Design - TimKadlec.com

Useful advice from Tim on preparing your responsive site for IE10’s new “snap mode”. Don’t worry: it doesn’t involve adding any proprietary crap …quite the opposite, in fact.

Game Console Browsers

This is an excellent resource from Anna. She’s documenting the browser capabilities of games consoles.

WebPlatform.org — Your Web, documented

A one-stop-shop for browser-compatibility information. This is MDN, HTML5 Rocks, and Quirksmode all rolled into one.

{ io: The Web Is Growing Up }

A lovely bit of hypertext.

Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Scooby Doo and the proposed HTML5 element

Bruce’s thoughts on the proposed inclusion of a “content” or “maincontent” element in HTML5.

Personally, I don’t think there’s much point in adding a new element when there’s an existing attribute (role=”main”) that does exactly the same thing.

Also, I don’t see much point in adding an element that can only be used once and only once in a document. However, if a “content” or “maincontent” element could be used inside any sectioning content (section, article, nav, aside), then I could see it being far more useful.

» 4 August 2012, baked by Bruce Lawson @ The Pastry Box Project

Bruce writes about a worrying trend in standards work:

Tossing a specification that you’ve written in-house, in secret and already implemented onto a table at W3C, saying “here, standardise this” as you saunter past isn’t a Get Out of Jail Free card for proprietary misdemeanours. And it isn’t standardisation.

A List Apart: Articles: ALA Summer Reading Issue

How about this for a trip down memory lane—a compendium of articles from over a decade of A List Apart, also available as a Readlist epub. It’s quite amazing just how good this free resource is.

The only thing to fault is that, due to some kind of clerical error, one of my articles has somehow found its way onto this list.

If this were Twitter, you’d be at-replying me with the hashtag “humblebrag”, wouldn’t you?

It’s time to stop blaming Internet Explorer | NCZOnline

Nicholas is inside my head! Get out of my head, Nicholas!

What makes the web beautiful is precisely that there are multiple browsers and, if you build things correctly, your sites and applications work in them all. They might not necessarily work exactly the same in them all, but they should still be able to work. There is absolutely nothing preventing you from using new features in your web applications, that’s what progressive enhancement is all about.

Classes? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Classes! | Smashing Coding

This is a well-reasoned, thoughtful article on avoiding class names in CSS …but I don’t agree with it. That said, perhaps there’s a reasonable middle ground to be found between this extreme stance and the opposite (but in some ways just as extreme) stance of OOCSS.

Florian’s Compromise | Responsive Images Community Group

Wilto does an excellent job of summarising the current state of responsive images, highlighting Florian Rivoal’s compromise proposal that combines the best of the picture element with the best of srcset.

Responsive images: what’s the problem, and how do we fix it? - Dev.Opera

A nice round-up of the issues around responsive images and their potential solutions.

The Publication Standards Project

Like the Web Standards Project but for ePub. I approve of this message.

» The real conflict behind picture and @srcset (Cloud Four Blog)

Jason outlines the real challenge to every proposed solution for responsive images: they just don’t jibe with the way that browsers (quite rightly) pre-fetch images.

Like A Rounded Corner (Bruce and The Standardettes) - YouTube

Bravo, Bruce, bravo.

I heard Glen Campbell’s “Like A Rhinestone Cowboy” on the radio and began absent-mindedly singing “Like a rounded corner” to it.

Shallow Thoughts » srcset vs. picture

A well thought-out evaluation on responsive images from Bridget.

The origin of the blink tag

Have you thought “There must be a good reason for the blink element.” Well, read on.

API Panel

The video of the panel I moderated on device and network APIs on the second day of Mobilism in Amsterdam. It’s not quite as snappy as the browser panel (which, given the subject matter, is unsurprising) but it was still good fun.

Proposition to change the prefixing policy from Florian Rivoal on 2012-05-04 (www-style@w3.org from May 2012)

This seems like a sensible way for browsers to approach implementing vendor-prefixed CSS properties.

The state of responsive images | Feature | .net magazine

Wilto gives a thorough explanation of the state of things with responsive images, particularly the work being done at the Responsive Images Community Group at the W3C.

Shirky: View Source… Lessons from the Web’s massively parallel development.

An oldie but a goodie: Clay Shirky looks at the design principles underlying HTML in order to figure out what made it so successful. Even though this is fourteen years old, there are plenty of still-relevant insights here.