Category: Miscellanea

The Changing Form of the Web Browser

I wrote an arti­cle, The Chang­ing Form of the Web Brows­er, for rehab­stu­dio (my employ­er). It’s about the present and near-future of the web brows­er, in a mar­ket where the con­sump­tion of infor­ma­tion and ser­vices is shift­ing. It’s quite a long piece, and nec­es­sar­i­ly broad for a non-tech­ni­cal audi­ence, so there is per­haps a lack of nuance in its con­clu­sions. Still, I’m quite proud of it, a lot of research and writ­ing was involved.

There‚Äôs an extract below, but I sug¬≠gest you read the whole thing in con¬≠text if you can.

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Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Rachel Andrew. Rel¬≠ly Annet-Bak¬≠er. Nao¬≠mi Atkin¬≠son. Alice Bartlett. Frances Ber¬≠ri¬≠man. Jina Bolton. Alice Box¬≠hall. Tiffany B. Brown. Sara Chipps. Geri Coady. Anna Deben¬≠ham. Han¬≠nah Dono¬≠van. Natal¬≠ie Downe. Sylvia Eggers. Fan¬≠ta¬≠sai. More¬≠na Fiore-Kir¬≠by. Zoe Mick¬≠ley Gillen¬≠wa¬≠ter. Kristi¬≠na Halvor¬≠son. Jes¬≠si¬≠ca His¬≠che. Lara Cal¬≠len¬≠der Hogan. Mol¬≠ly Holzschlag. Denise Jacobs. Sal¬≠ly Jenk¬≠in¬≠son. Lau¬≠ra Kalbag. Erin Kissane. Johan¬≠na Koll¬≠mann. Gem¬≠ma Leigh. Inayaili de Le√≥n. Jenn Lukas. Divya Man¬≠ian. Katie Mar¬≠cus. Louise McComiskey. Karen McGrane. Rachel Nabors. Sarah Par¬≠menter. Soledad Penad√©s. Yese¬≠nia Perez-Cruz. Leisa Reichelt. Stephanie Rieger. Natasha Rooney. Stephanie Sul¬≠li¬≠van Rewis. Lin¬≠da Sand¬≠vik. Kristi¬≠na Schnei¬≠der. Marin¬≠da Seph¬≠ton. Rachel Shill¬≠cock. Jenn Sim¬≠mons. Sara Souei¬≠dan. Nicole Sul¬≠li¬≠van. Hen¬≠ny Swan. Kat Thomp¬≠son. Lea Ver¬≠ou. Sara Wachter-Boettch¬≠er. Estelle Weyl. Denise Wilton.

Just some of the many women mak­ers of the web who I’ve met, worked with, seen speak­ing, read, or fol­lowed their work. We’d all be poor­er with­out their contributions.

CSS Variables: Access Custom Properties with JavaScript

The recent release of Fire­fox 31 brought an imple­men­ta­tion of CSS Vari­ables. Based on that, Daniel Imms wrote an inter­est­ing post, What CSS Vari­ables Can Do That Pre­proces­sors Can’t, where he inves­ti­gates a few use cas­es for native vari­ables over those pro­vid­ed by pre-proces­sors like Sass and LESS (there’s a com­mon argu­ment that CSS vari­ables are unnece­sary as we already have them, and more flex­i­bly, in pre-processors).

In this arti­cle I’m going to expand on Daniel’s arti­cle a lit­tle, show­ing an advan­tage of CSS Vari­ables that he doesn’t talk about in detail: inter­act­ing with them using JavaScript.

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Voyeurism: Mutation and Object Observers

I don’t write much in the way of pro­duc­tion-ready code at the moment, so some of the cool­er recent devel­op­ments in JavaScript have passed me by. In this post I want to address that with a look at a cou­ple of nice new(-ish) fea­tures: muta­tion observers and object observers.

I remem¬≠ber read¬≠ing about muta¬≠tion observers a lit¬≠tle while ago, but didn‚Äôt pay them too much atten¬≠tion as they didn‚Äôt have broad brows¬≠er sup¬≠port and weren‚Äôt imme¬≠di¬≠ate¬≠ly use¬≠ful to me. When I recent¬≠ly saw object observers land in Chrome (36) Beta, I realised that I should go back and learn about them. So I did.

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Speech Synthesis: Web Speech API, part one

It can‚Äôt have escaped your notice that iOS7 was recent¬≠ly released, and with it a new ver¬≠sion of Safari. Among many addi¬≠tions and changes to its stan¬≠dards sup¬≠port comes (par¬≠tial) imple¬≠men¬≠ta¬≠tion of the new Web Speech API. This API has two core fea¬≠tures: speech recog¬≠ni¬≠tion, which uses a web ser¬≠vice to tran¬≠scribe voice input; and speech syn¬≠the¬≠sis, which uses sys¬≠tem libraries to out¬≠put an arti¬≠fi¬≠cial voice. Safari for iOS7 brings sup¬≠port for the lat¬≠ter, so I‚Äôm going to briefly explain through how that works.

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Switching from native to web apps: an experiment

I recent­ly had call to do a fac­to­ry reset on my phone, and as I began the process of rein­stalling all my apps again decid­ed to try an exper­i­ment instead: to see if mobile web apps (or, sites) were up to the job of replac­ing native apps. With the forth­com­ing release of Fire­fox OS this is some­thing I’ve been very curi­ous about, but with­in days I was back to using native again. I’ll explain why, but lay out some of the more pos­i­tive find­ings before I do. Note that I was using Chrome on Android for my exper­i­ment, but I think the find­ings should hold true for most brows­er and OS combos.

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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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