Link tags: formats



File over app — Steph Ango

In the fullness of time, the files you create are more important than the tools you use to create them. Apps are ephemeral, but your files have a chance to last.

Shining a Light on the Digital Dark Age - Long Now

A false sense of security persists surrounding digitized documents: because an infinite number of identical copies can be made of any original, most of us believe that our electronic files have an indefinite shelf life and unlimited retrieval opportunities. In fact, preserving the world’s online content is an increasing concern, particularly as file formats (and the hardware and software used to run them) become scarce, inaccessible, or antiquated, technologies evolve, and data decays. Without constant maintenance and management, most digital information will be lost in just a few decades. Our modern records are far from permanent.

Lunar Codex

Time capsules on the moon, using NanoFiche as the storage medium.

Google AMP: how Google tried to fix the web by taking it over - The Verge

AMP succeeded spectacularly. Then it failed. And to anyone looking for a reason not to trust the biggest company on the internet, AMP’s story contains all the evidence you’ll ever need.

This is a really good oral history of how AMP soured Google’s reputation.

Full disclosure: I’m briefly cited:

“When it suited them, it was open-source,” says Jeremy Keith, a web developer and a former member of AMP’s advisory council. “But whenever there were any questions about direction and control… it was Google’s.”

As an aside, this article contains a perfect description of the company cultures of Facebook, Apple, and Google:

“You meet with a Facebook person and you see in their eyes they’re psychotic,” says one media executive who’s dealt with all the major platforms. “The Apple person kind of listens but then does what it wants to do. The Google person honestly thinks what they’re doing is the best thing.”

Spot. On.

Podcast Standards Project | Advocating for open podcasting

A new organisation with the stated goal of keeping podcasting open.

Their first specification is a consolidation of what already exists. That’s good. We don’t want a 927 situation.

My only worry is that many of the companies behind this initiative are focused on metrics and monetization—I hope they don’t attempt to standardise tracking and surveillance in podcasts.

The Podcast Standards Project, a grassroots coalition working to establish modern, open standards, to enable innovation in the podcast industry.

Define “innovation”.

On Container Queries, Responsive Images, and JPEG-XL – Cloud Four

Container queries can’t be used in the sizes attribute for responsive images. Here, Jason breaks down why that is (spoiler: it’s the lookahead pre-parser) and segues into a truly long term solution: a “magical” image format.

If you’ve ever thought it felt weird to put media conditions inside the HTML for responsive images, this will resonate.

Learn Images

Mat has written this free course for you all about images on the web. Covering image formats, responsive images, and workflows, this is one to keep on speed dial.

The Proprietary Syndication Formats - Chris Coyier

Guess which format is going to outlast all these proprietary syndication formats. I’d say RSS, which I believe to be true, but really, it’s HTML.

Worse than LaserDiscs?

Kevin takes my eleven-year old remark literally and points out at least you can emulate LaserDiscs:

So LaserDiscs aren’t the worst things to archive, networks of servers running code that isn’t available or archivable are, and we are building a lot more of those these days, whether on the web or in apps.

“Writing an app is like coding for LaserDisc” – Terence Eden’s Blog

I love this: Terence takes eleven years to reflect on a comment I made on stage at an event here in Brighton. It’s all about the longevity of the web compared to native apps:

If you wrote an app for an early version of iOS or Android, it simply won’t run on modern hardware or software. APIs have changed, SDKs weren’t designed with forward compatibility, and app store requirements have evolved.

The web has none of that. The earliest websites are viewable on modern browsers.

As wrote at the time, I may have been juicing things up for entertainment:

Now here’s the thing when it comes to any discussion about mobile or the web or anything else of any complexity: an honest discussion would result in every single question being answered with “it depends”. A more entertaining discussion, on the other hand, would consist of deliberately polarised opinions. We went for the more entertaining discussion.

But I think this still holds true for me today:

The truth is that the whole “web vs. native” thing doesn’t interest me that much. I’m as interested in native iOS development as I am in native Windows development or native CD-ROM development. On a timescale measured in years, they are all fleeting, transient things. The web abides.

What happened when we disabled Google AMP at Tribune Publishing?

Shockingly little. So you should try it, too.

Picture perfect images with the modern img element - Stack Overflow Blog

Addy takes a deep dive into making sure your images are performant. There’s a lot to cover here—that’s why I ended up splitting it in two for the responsive design course: one module on responsive images and one on the picture element.

Write plain text files | Derek Sivers

If you rely on Word, Evernote or Notion, for example, then you can’t work unless you have Word, Evernote, or Notion. You are helpless without them. You are dependent.

But if you only use plain text, you can use any program on any device, forever. It gives great flexibility and peace of mind.

AVIF has landed -

There’s a new image format on the browser block and it’s very performant indeed. Jake has all the details you didn’t ask for.

Better Image Optimization by Restricting the Color Index – Eric’s Archived Thoughts

A great little mini case-study from Eric—if you’re exporting transparent PNGs from a graphic design tool, double-check the colour-depth settings!

I’d been saving the PNGs with no bit depth restrictions, meaning the color table was holding space for 224 colors. That’s… a lot of colors, roughly 224 of which I wasn’t actually using.

The Cuneiform Tablets of 2015 [PDF]

A 2015 paper by Long Tien Nguyen and Alan Kay with a proposal for digital preservation.

We discuss the problem of running today’s software decades,centuries, or even millennia into the future.

Rise of the Digital Fonts

A history of typesetting from movable type to variable fonts.

28c3: The Science of Insecurity - YouTube

I understand less than half of this great talk by Meredith L. Patterson, but it ticks all my boxes: Leibniz, Turing, Borges, and Postel’s Law.

(via Tim Berners-Lee)

28c3: The Science of Insecurity

Unraveling The JPEG

A deep, deep, deep dive into the JPEG format. Best of all, it’s got interactive explanations you can tinker with, a la Nicky Case or Bret Victor.