April 2012 - Broken Links Archive

On Opera’s Implementation of WebKit Aliases

As I‚Äôm sure you‚Äôre aware, Opera recent¬≠ly released a pre¬≠view build of their brows¬≠er Mobile Emu¬≠la¬≠tor which is notable large¬≠ly because they‚Äôve aliased a group of -webkit- pre¬≠fixed prop¬≠er¬≠ties, effec¬≠tive¬≠ly sup¬≠port¬≠ing anoth¬≠er ven¬≠dors sup¬≠pos¬≠ed¬≠ly pro¬≠pri¬≠etary code in their own.

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50 fantastic tools for RWD

As part of .Net mag­a­zine’s Respon­sive Week, I’ve updat­ed an arti­cle by Denise Jacobs to now bring you 50 fan­tas­tic tools for respon­sive web design.

Two quick ways to a better experience for your visitors

I’ve recent­ly become the own­er of an Android tablet (Galaxy Tab 8.9) and hav­ing spent some time brows­ing the web with it I’ve iden­ti­fied a cou­ple of areas where work by us, as devel­op­ers, can make a real difference.

The first is the eas¬≠i¬≠est: use appro¬≠pri¬≠ate HTML5 input ele¬≠ments. It‚Äôs quite frus¬≠trat¬≠ing typ¬≠ing an email address into a text input field when the @ sym¬≠bol is on a dif¬≠fer¬≠ent inter¬≠face view to the _ sym¬≠bol, or when pre¬≠dic¬≠tive text is enabled, and there‚Äôs real¬≠ly no need for it when HTML5 input types are well sup¬≠port¬≠ed and ‚ÄĒ cru¬≠cial¬≠ly ‚ÄĒ ful¬≠ly back¬≠wards com¬≠pat¬≠i¬≠ble. So if you‚Äôre ask¬≠ing the user to input an email address, use:

<input type="email">

The same goes for oth­er form fields.

The sec¬≠ond area for improve¬≠ment is slight¬≠ly more com¬≠plex: stop brows¬≠er sniff¬≠ing if you can, or stop mak¬≠ing pre¬≠sump¬≠tions if you can‚Äôt. On a num¬≠ber of sites I get redi¬≠rect¬≠ed to a mobile-opti¬≠mised view, as I‚Äôm guess¬≠ing that the brows¬≠er detec¬≠tion script finds ‚ÄėAndroid‚Äô in the UA string and pre¬≠sumes it‚Äôs a phone.

By far the worst cul¬≠prit is Yahoo, whose UA sniff¬≠ing either misiden¬≠ti¬≠fies or fails to iden¬≠ti¬≠fy the brows¬≠er on my tablet, and serves me the most basic mobile inter¬≠face. I‚Äôm using a brand new tablet with a very capa¬≠ble brows¬≠er over a sol¬≠id Wifi con¬≠nec¬≠tion, and I‚Äôm served what is essen¬≠tial¬≠ly a WAP site.

To add to the frus¬≠tra¬≠tion, no link to an alter¬≠na¬≠tive or full site is pro¬≠vid¬≠ed, so I have no choice at all. If use about:debug and change my browser‚Äôs UA string to ‚ÄėiPad‚Äô, there‚Äôs a tablet-opti¬≠mised ver¬≠sion of Yahoo Mail that works (almost) per¬≠fect¬≠ly with my device; but oth¬≠er¬≠wise the UA sniff¬≠ing is active¬≠ly work¬≠ing against me.

Capa­bil­i­ty detec­tion should always be prefer­able to brows­er UA sniff­ing, but if you must use UA sniff­ing at least keep it updat­ed, don’t make pre­sump­tions, and pro­vide an opt-out link to the desk­top site as a basic option.

That’s it: two changes, mak­ing a much nicer expe­ri­ence for everyone.


I‚Äôve updat¬≠ed my Speak¬≠ing page to include more con¬≠fer¬≠ences, more videos, and a lit¬≠tle on my speak¬≠ing require¬≠ments and pref¬≠er¬≠ences. I‚Äôm plan¬≠ning to cut down on the num¬≠ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter¬≠est¬≠ing offers and oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties, so please get in touch if you‚Äôre organ¬≠is¬≠ing an event.

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