Tags: ie

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Saturday, June 3rd, 2023

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

First Experiments with View Transitions for Multi-page Apps

Some great ideas for view transitionts in here! Also:

If you look at any of the examples on a browser that does not support them, the pages still function just fine. The transitions are an extra that’s layered on top if and when your browser supports them. Another concrete example of progressive enhancement in practice.

Jack Franklin – Abstractions, complexities and off-ramps – All Day Hey! 2023 - YouTube

This is a terrific talk by Jack on how to deal with the tooling involved in modern front-end development:

  • Maintaining control,
  • Dependency awareness,
  • Lean on browser primitives,
  • Have an exit strategy.
Jack Franklin – Abstractions, complexities and off-ramps – All Day Hey! 2023

Saturday, May 27th, 2023

404 Page Not Found | Kate Wagner

Considering the average website is less than ten years old, that old warning from your parents that says to “be careful what you post online because it’ll be there forever” is like the story your dad told you about chocolate milk coming from brown cows, a well-meant farce. On the contrary, librarians and archivists have implored us for years to be wary of the impermanence of digital media; when a website, especially one that invites mass participation, goes offline or executes a huge dump of its data and resources, it’s as if a smallish Library of Alexandria has been burned to the ground. Except unlike the burning of such a library, when a website folds, the ensuing commentary from tech blogs asks only why the company folded, or why a startup wasn’t profitable. Ignored is the scope and species of the lost material, or what it might have meant to the scant few who are left to salvage the digital wreck.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

Add view transitions to your website

I must admit, when Jake told me he was leaving Google, I got very worried about the future of the View Transitions API.

To recap: Chrome shipped support for the API, but only for single page apps. That had me worried:

If the View Transitions API works across page navigations, it could be the single best thing to happen to the web in years.

If the View Transitions API only works for single page apps, it could be the single worst thing to happen to the web in years.

Well, the multi-page version still hasn’t yet shipped in Chrome stable, but it is available in Chrome Canary behind a flag, so it looks like it’s almost here!

Robin took the words out of my mouth:

Anyway, even this cynical jerk is excited about this thing.

Are you the kind of person who flips feature flags on in nightly builds to test new APIs?

Me neither.

But I made an exception for the View Transitions API. So did Dave:

I think the most telling predictor for the success of the multi-page View Transitions API – compared to all other proposals and solutions that have come before it – is that I actually implemented this one. Despite animations being my bread and butter for many years, I couldn’t be arsed to even try any of the previous generation of tools.

Dave’s post is an excellent step-by-step introduction to using view transitions on your website. To recap:

Enable these two flags in Chrome Canary:

chrome://flags#view-transition
chrome://flags#view-transition-on-navigation

Then add this meta element to the head of your website:

<meta name="view-transition" content="same-origin">

You could stop there. If you navigate around your site, you’ll see that the navigations now fade in and out nicely from one page to another.

But the real power comes with transitioning page elements. Basically, you want to say “this element on this page should morph into that element on that page.” And when I say morph, I mean morph. As Dave puts it:

Behind the scenes the browser is rasterizing (read: making an image of) the before and after states of the DOM elements you’re transitioning. The browser figures out the differences between those two snapshots and tweens between them similar to Apple Keynote’s “Magic Morph” feature, the liquid metal T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day, or the 1980s cartoon series Turbo Teen.

If those references are lost on you, how about the popular kids book series Animorphs?

Some classic examples would be:

  • A thumbnail of a video on one page morphs into the full-size video on the next page.
  • A headline and snippet of an article on one page morphs into the full article on the next page.

I’ve added view transitions to The Session. Where I’ve got index pages with lists of titles, each title morphs into the heading on the next page.

Again, Dave’s post was really useful here. Each transition needs a unique name, so I used Dave’s trick of naming each transition with the ID of the individual item being linked to.

In the recordings section, for example, there might be a link like this on the index page:

<a href="/recordings/7812" style="view-transition-name: recording-7812">The Banks Of The Moy</a>

Which, if you click on it, takes you to the page with this heading:

<h1><span style="view-transition-name: recording-7812">The Banks Of The Moy</span></h1>

Why the span? Well, like Dave, I noticed some weird tweening happening between block and inline elements. Dave solved the problem with width: fit-content on the block-level element. I just stuck in an extra inline element.

Anyway, the important thing is that the name of the view transition matches: recording-7812.

I also added a view transition to pages that have maps. The position of the map might change from page to page. Now there’s a nice little animation as you move from one page with a map to another page with a map.

thesession.org View Transitions

That’s all good, but I found myself wishing that I could just have those enhancements. Every single navigation on the site was triggering a fade in and out—the default animation. I wondered if there was a way to switch off the default fading.

There is! That default animation is happening on a view transition named root. You can get rid of it with this snippet of CSS:

::view-transition-image-pair(root) {
  isolation: auto;
}
::view-transition-old(root),
::view-transition-new(root) {
  animation: none;
  mix-blend-mode: normal;
  display: block;
}

Voila! Now only the view transitions that you name yourself will get applied.

You can adjust the timing, the easing, and the animation properites of your view transitions. Personally, I was happy with the default morph.

In fact, that’s one of the things I like about this API. It’s another good example of declarative design. I say what I want to happen, but I don’t need to specify the details. I’ll let the browser figure all that out.

That’s what’s got me so excited about this API. Yes, it’s powerful. But just as important, it’s got a very low barrier to entry.

Chris has gathered a bunch of examples together in his post Early Days Examples of View Transitions. Have a look around to get some ideas.

If you like what you see, I highly encourage you to add view transitions to your website now.

“But wait,” I hear you cry, “this isn’t supported in any public-facing browser yet!”

To which, I respond “So what?” It’s a perfect example of progressive enhancement. Adding one meta element and a smidgen of CSS will do absolutely no harm to your website. And while no-one will see your lovely view transitions yet, once browsers do start shipping with support for the API, your site will automatically get better.

Your website will be enhanced. Progressively.

Update: Simon Pieters quite rightly warns against adding view transitions to live sites before the API is done:

in general, using features before they ship in a browser isn’t a great idea since it can poison the feature with legacy content that might break when the feature is enabled. This has happened several times and renames or so were needed.

Good point. I must temper my excitement with pragmatism. Let me amend my advice:

I highly encourage you to experiment with view transitions on your website now.

Monday, May 22nd, 2023

Building a Frontend Framework; Reactivity and Composability With Zero Dependencies

The thinking behind the minimal JavaScript framework, Strawberry:

Even without specialized syntax, you can do a lot of what the usual frontend framework does—with similar conciseness—just by using Proxy and WebComponents.

Monday, May 15th, 2023

What I Want From The Internet - Christopher Butler

You can, today, still go back to the can-to-can structure that a personal website, an RSS feed, and a browser provide. It’s not perfect. It leaves an enormous amount of signal unheard. It requires more work to find things, and to be found.

But you can do it. And I hope you do, in some way.

Speaking at UX London 2023 · Paul Robert Lloyd

I’ve managed to convince Paul to come out of the shadows for one last heist—it’s gonna be good!

(And Paul shares a discount for 20% off your UX London ticket!)

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

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.

Monday, May 8th, 2023

Tragedy

There are two kinds of time-travel stories.

There are time-travel stories that explore the many-worlds hypothesis. Going back in time and making a change forks the universe. But the universe is constantly forking anyway. So effectively the time travel is a kind of universe-hopping (there’s a big crossover here with the alternative history subgenre).

The problem with multiverse stories is that there’s always a reset available. No matter how bad things get, there’s a parallel universe where everything is hunky dory.

The other kind of time travel story explores the idea of a block universe. There is one single timeline.

This is what you’ll find in Tenet, for example, or for a beautiful reduced test case, the Ted Chiang short story What’s Expected Of Us. That gets straight to the heart of the biggest implication of a block universe—the lack of free will.

There’s no changing what has happened or what will happen. In fact, the very act of trying to change the past often turns out to be the cause of what you’re trying to prevent in the present (like in Twelve Monkeys).

I’ve often referred to these single-timeline stories as being like Greek tragedies. But only recently—as I’ve been reading quite a bit of Greek mythology—have I realised that the reverse is also true:

Greek tragedies are time-travel stories.

Hear me out…

Time-travel stories aren’t actually about physically travelling in time. That’s just a convenience for the important part—information travelling in time. That’s at the heart of most time-travel stories; informaton from the future travelling back to the past.

William Gibson’s The Peripheral—very much a many-worlds story with its alternate universe “stubs”—takes this to its extreme. Nothing phyiscal ever travels in time. But in an age of telecommuting, nothing has to. Our time travellers are remote workers.

That book also highlights the power dynamics inherent in information wealth. Knowledge of the future gives you an advantage that you can exploit in the past. This is what Mark Twain’s Connecticut yankee does in King Arthur’s court.

This power dynamic is brilliantly inverted in Octavia Butler’s brilliant Kindred. No amount of information can help you if your place in society is determined by the colour of your skin.

Anyway, the point is that information flow is what matters in time-travel stories. Therefore any story where information travels backwards in time is a time-travel story.

That includes any story with a prophecy. A prophecy is information about the future, like:

Oedipus will kill his father and marry his mother.

You can try to change your fate, but you’ll just end up triggering it instead.

Greek tragedies are time-travel stories.

Friday, May 5th, 2023

The Cost of Convenience - DEV Community

The pros and cons of dependencies in your toolchain.

Will A.I. Become the New McKinsey? | The New Yorker

Bosses have certain goals, but don’t want to be blamed for doing what’s necessary to achieve those goals; by hiring consultants, management can say that they were just following independent, expert advice. Even in its current rudimentary form, A.I. has become a way for a company to evade responsibility by saying that it’s just doing what “the algorithm” says, even though it was the company that commissioned the algorithm in the first place.

Once again, absolutely spot-on analysis from Ted Chiang.

I’m not very convinced by claims that A.I. poses a danger to humanity because it might develop goals of its own and prevent us from turning it off. However, I do think that A.I. is dangerous inasmuch as it increases the power of capitalism. The doomsday scenario is not a manufacturing A.I. transforming the entire planet into paper clips, as one famous thought experiment has imagined. It’s A.I.-supercharged corporations destroying the environment and the working class in their pursuit of shareholder value. Capitalism is the machine that will do whatever it takes to prevent us from turning it off, and the most successful weapon in its arsenal has been its campaign to prevent us from considering any alternatives.

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

The other side of egoism | A Working Library

Mandy takes a deep dive into the treatment of altruism in Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed.

Friday, April 28th, 2023

Talk: The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI

Maggie Appleton:

An exploration of the problems and possible futures of flooding the web with generative AI content.

*Punctuation Personified* (1824) – The Public Domain Review

Taking the child on a tour through punctuation, Mr. Stops introduces him to a cast of literal “characters”: there is Counsellor Comma, who knows “neither guile nor repentance” in his pursuit of “dividing short parts of a sentence”; Ensign Semicolon struts with militaristic pride, for “into two or more parts he’ll a sentence divide”; and The Exclamation Point is “struck with admiration”, his face “so long, and thin and pale”.

Stop The Tories .Vote

A great practical website to help you vote tactically in the upcoming local elections.

Wednesday, April 26th, 2023

Make Something Wonderful | Steve Jobs

This anthology of Steve Jobs interviews, announcements and emails is available to read for free as a nicely typeset web book.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

Typography Manual by Mike Mai

A short list of opinions on typography. I don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it’s all fairly sensible advice.

Space Elevator

Scroll up to the Kármán line.

Friday, April 21st, 2023

ActivityPub is the next big thing in social networks - The Verge

After nearly two decades of fighting for this vision of the internet, the people who believed in federation feel like they’re finally going to win. The change they imagine still requires a lot of user education — and a lot of work to make this stuff work for users. But the fundamental shift, from platforms to protocols, appears to have momentum in a way it never has before.