Prompted by my talk, The State Of The Web, Brian zooms out to get some perspective on how browser power is consolidated.
The web is made of clients and servers. There’s a huge amount of diversity in the server space but there’s very little diversity when it comes to clients because making a browser has become so complex and expensive.
But Brian hopes that this complexity and expense could be distributed amongst a large amount of smaller players.
10 companies agreeing to invest $10k apiece to advance and maintain some area of shared interest is every bit as useful as 1 agreeing to invest $100k generally. In fact, maybe it’s more representative.
We believe that there is a very long tail of increasingly smaller companies who could do something, if only they coordinated to fund it together. The further we stretch this out, the more sources we enable, the more its potential adds up.
We’ve enjoyed a relatively long period when we didn’t have to think about which browser to use. Alas, that period is ending: I must now keep Chrome running all the time, much like I needed that PC in the early 2000s.
I really enjoyed this trip down memory lane with Chris:
From the Web’s inception, an ancient to contemporary history of the Web.
Myself and Stuart had a chat with Brian about browser engine diversity.
Here’s the audio file if you’d like to huffduff it.
I absolutely love this in-depth history of the web, written in a snappy, snarky tone.
In the beginning, there was no CSS.
This was very bad.
Even if you—like me—lived through all this stuff, I guarantee there’ll still be something in here you didn’t know.
This is good news. I have third-party cookies disabled in my browser, and I’m very happy that it will become the default.
It’s hard to believe that we ever allowed third-party cookies and scripts in the first place. Between them, they’re responsible for the worst ills of the World Wide Web.
An interesting look at the mortality causes for Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 8, and what they can tell us for the hoped-for death of Internet Explorer 11.
Mozilla comes out with all guns blazing:
Microsoft is officially giving up on an independent shared platform for the internet. By adopting Chromium, Microsoft hands over control of even more of online life to Google.
Microsoft Edge: Making the web better through more open source collaboration - Windows Experience BlogWindows Experience Blog
The marketing people at Microsoft are doing their best to sell us on the taste and nutritional value of their latest shit sandwich piece of news.
We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Losing [browser] engines is like losing languages. People may wish that everyone spoke the same language, they may claim it leads to easier understanding, but what people fail to consider is that this leads to losing all the culture and way of thought that that language produced. If you are a Web developer smiling and happy that Microsoft might be adopting Chrome, and this will make your work easier because it will be one less browser to test, don’t be! You’re trading convenience for diversity.
When’s the last time you can remember that a framework was given preferential treatment like AMP has been given? You could argue that it’s a format, like RSS, but no one has ever tried to convince developers to build their entire site in RSS.
I’m with Tim on his nervousness about Google’s ever-increasing power in the world of web standards.
Monocultures don’t benefit anyone.
This is a terrific spot-on piece by Rachel. I firmly believe that healthy competition and diversity in the browser market is vital for the health of the web (which is why I’m always saddened and frustrated to hear web developers wish for a single monocultural rendering engine).
I love having discussions like this!
Paul Ford explains version control in a way that is clear and straightforward, while also being wistful and poetic.
I had idle fantasies about what the world of technology would look like if, instead of files, we were all sharing repositories and managing our lives in git: book projects, code projects, side projects, article drafts, everything. It’s just so damned … safe. I come home, work on something, push the changes back to the master repository, and download it when I get to work. If I needed to collaborate with other people, nothing would need to change. I’d just give them access to my repositories (repos, for short). I imagined myself handing git repos to my kids. “These are yours now. Iteratively add features to them, as I taught you.”
What’s new in Microsoft Edge in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update - Microsoft Edge Dev BlogMicrosoft Edge Dev Blog
Service workers, push notifications, and variable fonts are now shipping in Edge.
Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17623 for Skip Ahead - Windows Experience BlogWindows Experience Blog
Well, Microsoft really buried the lede in this announcement:
…we will begin testing a change where links clicked on within the Windows Mail app will open in Microsoft Edge…
Yup, no matter which browser you’ve chosen to set as your default, hyperlinks will be hijacked to open with Edge. This is disgusting. It feels like a return to the shitty old days of Microsoft’s strong-arm tactics, just when Microsoft were gaining trust and respect.
Welcoming Progressive Web Apps to Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 - Microsoft Edge Dev BlogMicrosoft Edge Dev Blog
It’s really great to hear about how Microsoft will be promoting progressive web apps as first-class citizens …but it’s really unhelpful that they’re using this fudgy definition:
Progressive Web Apps are just great web sites that can behave like native apps—or, perhaps, Progressive Web Apps are just great apps, powered by Web technologies and delivered with Web infrastructure.
Although they also give a more technical definition:
Technologically speaking, PWAs are web apps, progressively enhanced with modern web technologies (Service Worker, Fetch networking, Cache API, Push notifications, Web App Manifest) to provide a more app-like experience.
Nice try, slipping notifications in there like that, but no. No, no, no. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that one of the most annoying “features” of native apps is even desirable on the web.
If you want to use notifications, fine. But they are absolutely not a requirement for a progressive web app.
(A responsive design, on the other hand, totally is.)
It must be the day for documenting the history of CSS. Here’s an article by Aaron on the extraordinary success story of CSS Grid. A lot of the credit for that quite rightly goes to Rachel and Jen:
Starting with Rachel Andrew coming in and creating a ton of demos and excitement around CSS Grid with Grid by Example and starting to really champion it and show it to web developers and what it was capable of and the problems that it solves.
Then, a little bit later, Jen Simmons created something called Labs where she put a lot of demos that she created for CSS Grid up on the web and, again, continued that momentum and that wave of enthusiasm for CSS Grid with web developers in the community.
This is such a strange announcement from Microsoft. It’s worded as though they chose to use the WebKit engine on iOS. But there is no choice: if you want to put a browser on iOS, you must use the WKWebView control. Apple won’t allow any other rendering engine (that’s why Chrome on iOS is basically a skin for Safari; same for Opera on iOS). It’s a disgraceful monopolistic policy on Apple’s part.
A word to the Microsoft marketing department: please don’t try to polish the turd in the shit sandwich you’ve been handed by Apple.