standards Archives - Broken Links Archive

DRY vs Media Queries ‚ÄĒ a use case for Mixins

CSS pre-proces¬≠sors like Sass and LESS extend CSS in many use¬≠ful ways, not least by allow¬≠ing you to use vari¬≠ables in your code either as sin¬≠gle val¬≠ues or blocks of mul¬≠ti¬≠ple property/value pairs, called Mix¬≠ins. So use¬≠ful are these that devel¬≠op¬≠er Tab Atkins pro¬≠posed to the W3C that they be adopt¬≠ed into CSS itself, but they were reject¬≠ed as no suit¬≠able use cas¬≠es were seen.

I think I’ve found a sce­nario in which, while the use of Mix­ins aren’t vital, they’re cer­tain­ly very use­ful, and it’s because of one of the core prin­ci­ples of cod­ing: DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself).

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On Mark Boulton’s Grids Proposal

I recent­ly wrote a fea­ture for .net Mag­a­zine, The Future of CSS Lay­outs, which took a look at sev­er­al pro­posed CSS mod­ules intend­ed to pro­vide more flex­i­bil­i­ty for lay­ing out web­sites. One of those mod­ules, Grid Lay­out, has been exper­i­men­tal­ly imple­ment­ed in IE10 Plat­form Pre­view, and it prompt­ed Mark Boul­ton to pro­pose an alter­na­tive approach in his arti­cle Rethink­ing CSS Grids.

While I think the alter­na­tive syn­tax is pret­ty robust, I did detect a cou­ple of flaws in it which I promised Mark I would write about, and that’s what I’ll do in this arti­cle. Before I get to that, I just want to quick­ly address one of the key points from his proposal.

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State of the Browser

This week­end I attend­ed the Lon­don Web Stan­dards group’s State of the Brows­er, a one-day event with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of many of the major brows­er mak­ers giv­ing us sta­tus reports on their prod­ucts. Chrome, Fire­fox, Opera and Black­ber­ry were all there; a mem­ber of the IE team was due to show but had to pull out for per­son­al rea­sons (he viewed the live stream and answered some ques­tions from home). The notable absence was Safari, whose com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment is real­ly not good enough.

There were long talks and short¬≠er break¬≠out ses¬≠sions, as well as plen¬≠ty of time to socialise; the LWS must real¬≠ly be con¬≠grat¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ed on organ¬≠is¬≠ing such a good event. There was plen¬≠ty of news and talk¬≠ing points through¬≠out the day ‚ÄĒ far too much, real¬≠ly, for me to write here, so I‚Äôll just write up notes of what I found most inter¬≠est¬≠ing to me.

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The State of Web Education

A few weeks ago I saw Anna Deben­ham at Lon­don Web Stan­dards give a huge­ly inspir­ing talk on the state of web devel­op­ment edu­ca­tion. She lat­er gave a briefer ver­sion of the talk at the Drum­beat Fes­ti­val. I urge you to at the very least look at the overview and slides of the short­er talk, but if you can put aside 25 min­utes you should real­ly watch the video of the full one.


Bad advice: people still teaching CSS hacks

There’s so much great stuff writ­ten about web stan­dards avail­able for free on the web that it’s easy to for­get how much bad stuff is also out there; and how many peo­ple are will­ing to sup­port it just because it’s eas­i­er than putting in a lit­tle extra effort to fol­low best practice.

Over the week­end one of the most pop­u­lar sto­ries on Delicious.com was teach­ing the use of lazy CSS hacks, the type of which I thought every­body was con­vinced enough to do away with; the star and under­score hacks for tar­get­ing IE6 & IE7, the hacks which we’ve been say­ing (for years) should­n’t be used anymore.

Dis¬≠re¬≠gard¬≠ing the ‚Äėrights‚Äô and ‚Äėwrongs‚Äô, and the val¬≠i¬≠da¬≠tion argu¬≠ment ‚ÄĒ some of my stylesheets don‚Äôt val¬≠i¬≠date, and there are good rea¬≠sons for that ‚ÄĒ I‚Äôd like to give a few oth¬≠er rea¬≠sons why using this method is not a good idea.

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The state of video on the web

As Fire¬≠fox 3.5 brings open video to the web, the W3C decide to drop codec require¬≠ments from the HTML 5 spec, cit¬≠ing dis¬≠agree¬≠ment between brows¬≠er mak¬≠ers and con¬≠cern over patents. Luck¬≠i¬≠ly, there‚Äôs a way to make video for every¬≠body, which means encod¬≠ing each clip only twice.


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Aside

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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