The Best of the Internets

How We Use Progressive Enhancement to Improve Our Email Templates

Great stuff from some folks who know an awful lot about email:

If there’s a medium that lends itself to progressive enhancement, it’s email. Given the contexts in which email content is parsed and displayed (and will be in the future), it pays to consider content first and independently from the presentation.

Traditionally, email designers have taken all sorts of scrappy approaches to ensuring that text in email “looks the same across all clients”. Your Gmail experience should be the same as your Outlook experience and so-forth. I’d argue that “reading the same across all clients” is vastly more important and that when possible, visually lovely flourishes should be added, for the environments that support them.

Browsers, Services and the OS – Oh My…

Christian Heilmann’s take on yesterday’s IE announcement, including a bit of historical context and a look toward the future of browsers killing stand-alone apps.

For me, however, the whole thing was a bit of an epiphany about browsers. I’ve always seen browsers as my main playground and got frustrated by lack of standards support across them. I got annoyed by users not upgrading to new ones or companies making that hard. And I was disappointed by developers having their pet browsers to support and demand people to use the same. What I missed out on was how amazing browsers themselves have become as tools for end users.

Yawn, “IE6 Must Die”, Yawn…

Way back in 2010, Kyle Simpson proposed that a new version of IE should live beside an older version to allow the new IE to prosper while the old one remains stable for enterprises that require its proprietary features:

The IE (Consumer Edition) would at its heart be a very different browser than the IE (Platform Edition). Instead of releasing once every couple of years, IE-CE could release every couple of months. IE-CE could ditch all that legacy JScript extension junk (and ActiveX!) and fully conform to open web standards. They could embrace SVG, canvas, video, CSS3, and all the other amazing things that IE9 is only barely now giving us a glimpse of. Microsoft could stop being the joke of the open web community, stop playing catch up, and actually take the lead in helping innovate in the consumer browser space.

And all the while, they could keep (and from time to time, back-port to) IE-PE stable and reliable for the Platform world. IE-PE would be Microsoft’s proprietary extensions on the open-web consumer browser experience. IE-PE would serve the needs of corporations and sysadmins by giving them stability and security and not be bothered by all the “noise” of the rapidly changing consumer browser market.

I wonder if he called it. Will “Project Spartan” live alongside IE11? I guess time will tell.

It’s Time for Microsoft to Open Source Internet Explorer

This is a pretty interesting idea and I see where Peter Bright is coming from with this sentiment:

Although Microsoft has endeavored to be more open about how it’s developing its browser, and which features it is prioritizing, that development nonetheless takes place in private. Developing in the open, with a public bug tracker, source code repositories, and public discussion of the browser’s future direction is the next logical step.

With Microsoft opening up their process more and more, I wonder if they’ve considered open-sourcing Trident (or whatever is driving “Project Spartan” under the hood).

Timeline of Web Browsers

I love this visual timeline of Web browsers because it shows where we’ve been, where we’re at and where browsers have converged, diverged, and switched things up. Thank you Internet!

The timeline

Why We Can’t Do Real Responsive Images With CSS or JavaScript

Bruce Lawson, briefly, on why picture, srcset, and sizes are better for adaptive images than CSS or JavaScript any day of the week when it comes to performance:

The only way to beat the preloader is to put all the potential image sources in the HTML and give the browser all the information it needs to make the selection there.

Good stuff, Bruce. I’m sorry I won’t be in Barcelona to see this presentation (and you)!

Front End and Back End

PPK nails it as usual:

Back-enders work with only one environment, their server. They have the option of changing their environment; for instance by installing new software or upgrading the hardware.

Front-enders work with an unknown number of radically different environments, ranging from state-of-the-art desktop computer to three-year-old, crappy phones with limited memory and processor time. They cannot change these environments because they have no power over their users’ browsers. Still, their code should work in all of them.

I shared similar thoughts in my post A Fundamental Disconnect.