Web apps are like Lego

Just read another example on how Web Apps are Like Lego. Not precisely in the same way I would use such an analogy, but an interesting one none the less. Basically Christian Heilmann, evangelist at Mozilla, used it to exemplify how when you build web apps it is easier to reuse components. However he also goes as far as saying that the web app makes a less optimal experience compared to a native app, but that it is compensated by the more rapid development, and the improved reach to more devices. I disagree with that, and hail that a properly designed mobile web app can ge beyond what a native app can do. Employing responsive design for more than layout but also functionality, one can create a context aware mobile experience, and a contextualized desktop viewing experience, all through one well thought out design. So, I agree that web apps can be seen as Lego, but I also think Lego can be more powerful, and more beautiful, than badly formed clay.

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Responsive IMGs

My friend Viktor at We Made You Look pointed me to this article at Cloud Four on Responsive IMGs. The article makes a case for what is the problem with IMG tags when doing responsive web design. What you want in a truly responsive web design when it comes to images, is to only load images of the size needed for the viewing display. Using IMG tags one can set the src attribute to the smallest possible image, and then through scripting change the src attribute to what ever is appropriate once the display size is known. For small screens this works well, however for bigger devices this slows the loading down as it has to do two requests (and loads) for each image (unless the script manages to change the src before the browser starts fetching the image). There are of course other techniques for responsive images, by for instance using CSS and media queries, but the article deals with the problems with the IMG tag specifically not other techniques. I prefer using media queries which to me makes most sense from a technology standpoint, but I agree it is far from ideal. However it is what is available now, and should therefore be used!

He goes on to start a discussion about what would be appropriate to future proof the IMG tag – i.e. what is needed in order to make sure responsive web designs also work for devices, screen sizes, and resolutions, that we do not know of yet. He makes his own list of what he believe is needed and encourage readers to add to it.

Cloud Four is an excellent blog on web and mobile development and design, and is definitely worth a visit!

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SlideShare goes HTML5

SlideShare just ditched flash for HTML5. This is of course awesome for the sake of HTML5, but it is also awesome for the people using it. This means that it will work everywhere where there is a browser capable of HTML5 (i.e. any modern browser including mobile ones). Unfortunately they did not go responsive on this one, but have separate versions depending on the device (so far I’ve seen a desktop version and a mobile version, and the mobile version seems to be adapting to the screen size.) They explain the benefit of having a mobile web app instead of going native for mobile in their own words

If you send someone a link to a presentation and they have to download an app to view it, that’s not a pleasant user experience. We want presentations on mobile devices to be accessible to as many users as possible.

Another step away from native apps, and a step into the world of web apps.

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