Great news for people who develop web sites using new on the edge web standards. Apple, Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera have joined the W3C to launch a new web site on which up to date up-to-date and relevant information about HTML5, CSS3, and other standards of the web are presented, together with the status of their implementations for cross-browser considerations.
All talk about Steve Jobs can sometimes be quite tiring. It is however hard to dismiss his insight into the domain in which he was working. Here is a speech from 1983, in which it is clear that he had a firm grasp on what was about to come. He gets many things wrong, such as the idea of the hand held iPad kind of device within the 1980s (it took 20 more years). But it is extremely interesting to listen to many of the things he got right.
I especially like how he wants computers to beautiful and that industrial designers must pay attention to the computer industry to start working towards more beautiful artifacts, and more beautiful experiences. He says that these things (the computers) will inevitable be all around us, in our home and in our offices, and so we now (1983) have the time to make sure they are beautiful. Unfortunately the IBM desktops kind of took over for a long time and we had those gray boring things for a long long time. But I think we can see how that is changing with companies putting more efforts into doing beautiful devices (computers, mobile phones, tablets). If only they would have started doing that already in 1983…
I used to be active myself in what is called the demoscene. This year there was a demoparty, which means a weekend of people getting together, and compete with different art productions. This particular demoparty, called Datastorm, focuses on oldschool machines, particularly the Commodore 64 and the Amiga. The recommended way to experience these productions is on real hardware. But to make it more easy to consume, you can sometimes find them on youtube.
Here is the winning contribution by Fairlight. Note that this is made running in realtime on a Commodore 64. To remind you, the C64 has a CPU of 1MHz (or 0.001GHz) and 64kb of memory (about 0.064Mb or 0.000064Gb).
LikeW writes about a talk he went to given by Instagram’s Mike Krieger on there secrets of fast mobile app designs. I especially liked the point:
Mobile experiences fill the gaps while we wait. Nobody wants to wait while they wait. Mobile needs to be fast.
Plenty more in the post so go ahead and read!
Alex Gibson is a talented web and mobile developer who shares my views on HTML5, mobile web development, and responsive design. In this post on his blog he gives a thorough run through of how he re-designed his web site. He went mobile first, responsive and explains, among other things, how he setup his media queries. Furthermore, he explains how he re-orders content of the page depending on the device, using CSS. The web page is pretty simple, but serves as a nice case study of a mobile first, reponsively web designed, HTML5 site.
Be sure to check out his blog at http://miniapps.co.uk/blog/.
Facebook wants to be the App Discovery channel. There is a technology side and a business side of apps. The technology side is about choosing platforms for which to build your app and user experience. Facebook do not want to be the ones picking the platform but rather support an experience for all. The business side is about App Discovery, how a brand and app developer can get their app to their users. This is where Facebook can help, by offering a channel where app developers can get their users to spread their apps to their friends through e.g. the New Feed.
I think there is a lot of interesting things in his views on this and we have been knowing that App Discovery is gonna be huge since me and Lars Erik went to AppNation last year. When there are a million apps out there, how are you going to make sure users find yours, and how are users gonna find the one for them? I think Facebook might be a great platform for that. I too believe a lot in serendipity (as can be seen in several of the projects I’ve done over the last years like Push!Photo), and like Bret Taylor says: “Social means serendipity.”. When combining this with his technology statement that “Making a social app is making an app ubiquitously accessible.”, then I think it is easy to see that HTML5 will play an important role in getting all of that together.
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.
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!