May 6th, 2013
A handful of the many screens your website must handle. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired.com
?[Editor's note: The following is a guest post from Igor Faletski, CEO of Mobify, which provides tools for adapting web sites for smartphones and tablets.]
You’ve probably heard people say we’re living in a “post-PC world.” What does that mean for web developers? It means that 30% to 50% of your website’s traffic now comes from mobile devices. It means that soon, desktop and laptop users will be in a minority on the web.
How do we deal with this tectonic shift in user behavior? We’ve moved beyond the era of m-dot or t-dot hacks, into one where responsive and adaptive design techniques rule the day — what the W3C calls a One Web approach. The key part of the W3C’s recommendation is that “One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using.”
For developers that means that taking a One Web approach ensures that not only does your site work on the smartphones and tablets of today, but it can be future-proofed for the unimagined screens of tomorrow.
There are currently three popular approaches to developing a One Web site: using a responsive design; client-side adaptive designs; and server-side adaptive designs.
One is not better or worse than the other; each has its own strengths and weaknesses and the wise web developer will consider the benefits and drawbacks of each before picking the one that works for their next project.
Read more »
May 1st, 2013
NetMarketShare’s browser stats for April 2013. Image: Screenshot/Webmonkey
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 saw a meteoric rise in market share last month, jumping from 2.93 percent in March to 6.22 percent in April, according to NetMarketShare.
Some of IE 10′s growth might be attributable to more Windows 8 machines coming online, but it also comes close on the heels of the release of Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7.
As we noted in our review, IE 10 is a huge step forward for Microsoft’s oft-maligned browser, bringing much better web standards support and considerable speed improvements over IE 9. And there’s plenty to like even on Windows 7 where Microsoft claims users should see a 20 percent increase in performance over IE 9, as well as better battery life on Windows 7 laptops.
While web developers should be happy to see IE 10 gaining some ground given its vastly superior web standards support and speed compared to previous releases, looking at the bigger browser share picture is still disheartening. While IE 10 use may have doubled last month, it still trails IE 6 use worldwide.
The most widely used version of IE on the web remains IE 8, which, while much better than IE 6, still has next to no support for modern web development tools like HTML5 and CSS 3.
As always, progressive enhancement and feature-detection tools like Modernizr are your friends when it comes to older versions of IE.
May 1st, 2013
It’s still going to be some time before WebRTC technology starts to deliver cool apps, but even today developers are quickly moving from the realm of cool WebRTC experiments, like the Mozilla/Google phone call demo, to useful apps like Codassium.
WebRTC is a proposed standard — currently being refined by the W3C — with the goal of providing a web-based set of tools that any device can use to share audio, video and data in real time. It’s still in the early stages, but WebRTC has the potential to supplant Skype, Flash and many native apps with web-based alternatives that work on any device.
Codassium uses WebRTC to bring together WebRTC-based video chat and Mozilla’s Ace code editor. The result is what Wreally Studios, creators of Codassium, call “a better way to conduct remote interviews.” Of course Codassium could be used for more than just interviews — think code reviews, remote pair programming or even just discussing code with remote employees.
To use Codassium you’ll need to be using a web browser that supports WebRTC — recent versions of Firefox and Chrome will both work. Head on over to Codassium, click the Start button and allow the site to access your camera and microphone. Once the video chat and Ace editor load, just click the Invite button and send the resulting link to the person you’d like to work with.
April 30th, 2013
Robert Cailliau’s original WWW logo. Image: CERN.
Twenty years ago today CERN published a statement that made the World Wide Web freely available to everyone. To celebrate that moment in history, CERN is bringing the very first website back to life at its original URL.
If you’d like to see the very first webpage Tim Berners-Lee and the WWW team ever put online, point your browser to http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.
For years now that URL has simply redirected to the root info.cern.ch site. But, because we all know cool URIs don’t change, CERN has brought it back to life. Well, sort of anyway. The site has been reconstructed from an archive hosted on the W3C site, so what you’re seeing is a 1992 copy of the first website. Sadly this is, thus far, the earliest copy anyone can find, though the team at CERN is hoping to turn up an older copy.
Be sure to view the source of the first webpage. You’ll find quite a few things about early HTML that have long since changed — like the use of
<HEADER> instead of
<HEAD> or the complete absence of a root
<HTML> tag. There’s also a trace of Berners-Lee’s famous NeXT machine in the
<NEXTID N="55"> tag.
CERN has big plans for the original website, starting with bringing the rest of the pages back online. “Then we will look at the first web servers at CERN and see what assets from them we can preserve and share,” writes CERN’s Dan Noyes. “We will also sift through documentation and try to restore machine names and IP addresses to their original state.”
In the mean time, have a look at the web’s original todo list and read more about the project to restore the first website over on Mark Boulton’s blog.
April 30th, 2013
The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine is deceptively simple — plug in a website and you can see copies of it over time.
What you don’t see is the massive amount of effort, data and storage necessary to capture and maintain those archives. Filmmaker Jonathan Minard’s documentary Internet Archive takes a behind the scenes look at how (and why) the Internet Archive’s efforts are preserving the web as we know it.
The interview with Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, especially offers a look at not just the idea behind the archive, but the actual servers that hold the 10 petabytes of archived websites, books, movies, music, and television broadcasts that the Internet Archive currently stores.
For more on the documentary, head over to Vimeo. You can learn more about the Internet Archive on the group’s website.