The Best of the Internets

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.

Monday, 19 January 2015

This brilliant piece from Eileen Webb discusses her experience as a woman who has been working in tech since her first internship in 1997. In it, she chronicled a number of incredibly inappropriate work-related activities and situations she has endured—that sucks, Eileen, I’m sorry you had to deal with all that crap—but the point of the post is not to dwell on these. Instead Eileen urges us to listen when women (and I have to imagine any underrepresented group) vent about mistreatment and to reflect on it rather than reacting:

Yes, many women are angry, and injured, and our public seething will make you uncomfortable. Sit with that. Let it wash over you, and through you. Breathe, and feel the urge to squirm, and choose to be still instead. For we who have been living with this discomfort our whole careers, you can handle not-reacting for a few minutes.

We need to listen in order to be aware. We need to reflect in order to understand. And when we do that, we can recognize forms of oppression and disrespectful behavior, identify it as such, and stand together in declaring it unacceptable.

The Problem With Angular

In this extensive piece, PPK does a brilliant job voicing the thoughts and feeling I think a lot of us front-enders have when it comes to Angular. You should do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. Seriously. Especially if you are in IT in a large company that is using or thinking of using Angular. Seriously.

Go. Read. It.