Lin gives a deep dive into Firefox’s new CSS engine specifically, but this is also an excellent primer on how browsers handle CSS in general: parsing, styling, layout, painting, compositing, and rendering.
Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Håkon wrote his doctoral thesis on CSS …which is kinda like Einstein writing a thesis on relativity. There’s some fascinating historical insight into the creation of the standards we use today.
Sunday, April 16th, 2017
The Internet Archive is now hosting early Macintosh software emulated right in your browser. That means you can play Adventure: the source of subsequent text adventures, natural language parsing, and chatbots.
Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENT, Colossal Cave, or Adventure) is a text adventure game, developed originally in 1976, by Will Crowther for the PDP-10 mainframe. The game was expanded upon in 1977, with help from Don Woods, and other programmers created variations on the game and ports to other systems in the following years.
In the game, the player controls a character through simple text commands to explore a cave rumored to be filled with wealth.
Monday, February 6th, 2017
Here’s a nice little service from Remy that works sorta like Readability. Pass it a URL in a query string and it will generate a version without all the cruft around the content.
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017
Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
The ghost of browsers past
We poked at the markup of the first ever website…
- What’s that
NEXTIDelement? Turns it out it’s something specific to the NeXT operating system.
- Why does the first iteration of HTML already contain
H6? It’s because they were lifted wholesale from a flavour of SGML—Standard Generalized Markup Language—that was already in use at CERN.
Then there was the story of the line-mode browser. It was created by Nicola Pellow, who was a student at CERN in 1990. She later worked on the Mac browser but her involvement with kickstarting the world wide web ended around 1993. She never showed up to any of the reunions.
We poked around in the (surprisingly short) source code of the line-mode browser. We found the lines that described how elements should be styled—the term “style sheet” appeared in a comment!
script tags in the
head of the document—gets rendered to the screen.
<!-- is functionally equivalent to
--> comment with a
I remember doing this when I first started making websites in the 90s. You can see it if you view source on the first version of this website.
Later on, we all switched to XHTML so we updated the syntax to make it valid XML.
type attribute of every
script element to
text/plain, effectively defusing them. Smart!
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
Let me explain what web mentions are all about…
Basically, it’s an equivalent to pingback. Let’s say I write something here on adactio.com. Suppose that prompts you to write something in response on your own site. A web mention is a way for you to let me know that your response exists.
If you look in the
head of any of my journal posts, you’ll see this
<link rel="webmention" href="http://adactio.com/webmention.php" />
That’s my web mention endpoint: http://adactio.com/webmention.php …it’s kind of like a webhook: a URL that’s intended to be hit by machines rather than people. So when you publish your response to my post, you ping that URL with a POST request that sends two parameters:
target: the URL of my post and
source: the URL of your response.
Ideally your own CMS or blogging system would take care of doing the pinging, but until that’s more widely implemented, I’m providing this form at the end of each of my posts:
Either way, once you ping my web mention endpoint—discoverable through that
link rel="webmention"—with those two parameters, I just need to confirm that your post does indeed contain a link to my post—by making a cURL request and parsing your source—and then I return a server response of 202 (Accepted).
Here’s the code for a minimum viable web mention in PHP.
That’s as far as I got at Indie Web Camp but it was enough for me to start collecting responses to posts.
The next step is to do something with the responses. After all, I’ve already got the source of each response from those cURL requests.
Barnaby has a written a nice straightforward microformats parser in PHP. I’m using that to check the cURLed source for any responses that have been marked up using h-entry. That’s one of the microformats 2 vocabularies—a much simpler way of writing structured content with microformats.
So there you have it. Comments are now open on every journal post on adactio.com …the only catch is that you have to write the comment on your own site. And if you want the content of your post to appear here (instead of just a link) then update your blog post template to include a handful of h-entry classes.
Feel free to use this post as a test. Mark up your blog with h-entry, write a post that links to this URL, and enter the URL of your post in the form below.
Monday, June 10th, 2013
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.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Jake casts a scrutinising eye over the way that browsers load and parse scripts …and looks at what we can do about it.
Sunday, July 8th, 2012
Here’s a brainbuster for ya: a single file that renders both as HTML and as a JPEG. As an HTML page, it even contains an img element with a src of …itself!
Compare the “view source” output with the generated source output to see it’s being interpreted.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Insanely in-depth look at how browsers work, right down to the nitty gritty. You’d think there’d be a lot of engineering talk, but actually a lot of it is more about linguistics and language parsing.
Monday, August 9th, 2010
The latest Webkit nightly includes the HTML5 parsing algorithm. Now it's a race between Firefox, Safari and Chrome to see which will be first (non-beta) browser to ship with the new parser.
Friday, May 14th, 2010
Anne explains exactly why the HTML parser defined in HTML5 is A Very Good Thing for everyone.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Henri Sivonen gives the lowdown on the HTML5 parser that will ship with the next version of Firefox. This is a huge development ...and yet users won't even notice it (by design).
Saturday, August 9th, 2008
A great explanation of how open technologies like microformats and OpenID enable greater discovery of data.
Thursday, February 21st, 2008
Brian has written an excellent article that not only explains how to write XFN but also how to parse it.
Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
A natural language interface onto Wikipedia. More of this kind of thing, please.