Category: browsers

From the market leaders to the up-and-comers; news and opinion on browsing software.

Firefox 16’s Web Developer Toolbar

Firefox 16 should be released today, and as well as the new web platform features for devs — the meter element, Microdata API, dppx unit, and unprefixed calc(), Animations, Gradients, and Transforms — there’s also a very useful new tool, the Developer Toolbar. Called by Shift + F2 (on the Mac at least), it provides links to Firefox’s suite of native developer tools and a very impressive command line, which gives a range of shortcut commands to control the tools.

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Browser review: Kobo Touch

Inspired by Anna Debenham’s report on the Nintendo DSi browser, I thought I’d write a short review of the browser on my Kobo Touch eReader. The browser is hidden away under Settings > Extras, below a big bold note that says it’s not officially supported; but as it’s there, let’s review it.

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On Opera’s Implementation of WebKit Aliases

As I’m sure you’re aware, Opera recently released a preview build of their browser Mobile Emulator which is notable largely because they’ve aliased a group of -webkit- prefixed properties, effectively supporting another vendors supposedly proprietary code in their own.

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An urgent call to action on vendor prefixes

On Tuesday I wrote a post for Ubelly.com on vendor prefixes; what they are, what they are for, their perceived successes and failures. This turned out to be incredibly timely as a few hours later the minutes of the latest CSS Working Group were released, showing that the misuse of vendor prefixes — especially -webkit-, and especially on mobile — has now become so serious that Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera are all considering implementing -webkit- prefixed properties in their own browsers just to ensure that their users aren’t excluded from the web.

What a state we’re in.

This morning Daniel Glazman, chair of the CSSWG, issued an open call for urgent action by developers to stop this situation from deteriorating any further, and hopefully to improve it: Call for Action: The open web needs you *now*. I urge you to read this, and to act on it to the best of your abilities. If browsers support other browsers’ prefixes, the whole thing collapses. As Daniel Glazman says:

Vendor prefixes have not failed. They are a bit suboptimal but they also very clearly preserved Web Authors from chaos. We can certainly make vendor prefixes work better but we can only do that if vendor prefixes remain VENDOR prefixes.

Please read his post in full, and do what you can to turn this situation around. We made the mess, we need to clean it up.


Where do we draw the line for browser support?

Prompted by the announcement on 37Signals that their next platform update would not support IE7 or IE8 (or many other older browsers), a vigorous debate took place on Twitter around the subject of for how long we should support browsers which don’t have the most modern features. For all its many positives, Twitter is no place for nuanced argument, so this article is for me to try to frame my opinion a little better.

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Opera’s CSS Pagination Build

Opera recently released a Labs build of their browser with support for CSS pagination; that is, removing the scrollbar from documents and adding page controls instead (this is ideal for non-desktop devices, especially TV, where scrolling can be onerous). The syntax (as described in the Generated Content for Paged Media module) is very simple; you first use a media query with the paged media type (prefixed in Opera) like so:

@media -o-paged {}

Then use new values for the overflow property on the scrollable element to control whether the pagination moves horizontally or vertically, and whether or not on-screen controls are shown, like so:

@media -o-paged {
  html {
    height: 100%;
    overflow: -o-paged-x-controls;
  }
}

This paginates the whole document horizontally, and adds controls. To see this working, you’ll need to download a copy of the Labs build (available for Mac, Windows, Linux and Android), then you can visit this example page from Dive Into HTML5 I quickly set up. Navigate by dragging/swiping, cursor keys, or the native controls.

I really like this; it’s still early days, but the syntax seems clear and logical and works well in the demos I’ve seen, and I think it’s going to be really useful as the web migrates away from the desktop and onto other connected devices. More information and examples are in the ‘Paging the Web’ article on Håkon Wium Lie’s website, and I’ll definitely be delving further into this.


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Aside

I’ve updated my Speaking page to include more conferences, more videos, and a little on my speaking requirements and preferences. I’m planning to cut down on the number of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to interesting offers and opportunities, so please get in touch if you’re organising an event.

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