Posts Tagged ‘tantek celik’

Vindaloo Fart

Thursday, February 9th, 2012
CSSquirrel #92: Vindaloo Fart

Featuring Remy Sharp, Tantek Celik and Bruce Lawson, today’s comic would make the perfect premise for a sitcom. I think “Three Developers and a Squirrel” would have a very nice ring to it. The comic also looks at the stinky mess we’re going to put ourselves into if we fail to recognize the problems of the past so that we can avoid repeating them.

In a move that threatens to undo over a decade of hard work to drag web development out of the horrors of the “Great Browser War” and educate developers to make forward-compatible, standards-compliant websites, the CSS Working Group recently discussed the idea of all browsers adopting -webkit CSS properties. Yep, you heard that right. IE, Opera, Firefox… all using -webkit properties.

This step appears to be intended to guarantee that their browsers will properly render websites being made by short-sighted developers who only bother using -webkit properties for advanced and experimental features in their websites even when the other browsers have their own test implementations such as -o, -moz and -ie.

Short version: They’re considering giving up and handing the browsers of the world over to a bunch of standards-blind morons for short term compatibility gains in exchange for long term problems that will make the current version of Webkit be the IE6 of tomorrow.

I’m not a member of the old guard. In the nineties I was in high school and pretending to be in college while making personal websites that were just short of visually hideous but definitely counted as nauseating. I didn’t know better. But thanks to the efforts of too many dedicated and educating web developers to name I was exposed to the concept of “web standards” and went about the process of learning how to do things properly.

I also landed a sweet job at Mindfly and became a member of the professional web world. All thanks to web standards.

As someone who’s been working on websites professionally for the past five years I’ve had my share of struggles with IE6 compatibility. I hate that browser more than I hate most other things on the planet. Intellectually I know it was the bee’s knees in its era. I don’t care. Its era was a long time ago and being forced to keep sites compatible with it due to the lack of standards in its era is a direct cause of hundreds of hours of suffering on my part. I’m grateful that it is now all but extinct, letting me concentrate on dealing with modern or near-modern browsers with a lot less cussing, sweating and crying.

As it stands now, Webkit is a pretty decent browser engine. Chrome is snappy. I like it. I’m using it right this second. But it’s also only as good as it is today. If we stop bothering to properly style our websites with a forwards-compatible approach, using all available browser extensions for experimental properties as well as the non-extension version of the properties for when they becomes available, then we’re daft. We will be putting ourselves at risk of making today’s Webkit the rotting zombie in the room that we’ll be screaming at in terror ten years from now. We, or developers after us, will be wasting countless hours and drinking more heavily in response to dealing with thousands of poorly-made websites that require compatibility with the -webkit properties we shortsightedly hung everything upon.

We need to stop this.

Need more information? Need inspiration on how to help? Lucky for you I’ve got a list:

  • Read Daniel Glazman’s Call For Action. He’s co-chair of the CSS Working Group, and he knows that this is a very bad thing that needs to be stopped. He even suggests how to do it.
  • Also read Remy Sharp’s article on the topic and his suggestions on how to help.
  • Take direct action and help Chris Heilmann Pre-fix the Web, rooting out Github projects that have gone down the dark side and get them forked back into the light.
  • Get Bruce Lawson’s perspective on the vendor prefix issue, taking advantage of the wisdom he’s gained in trying to educate against this exact sort of problem. Also see the first reference of the dreaded vindaloo fart.
  • And please read Eric Meyer’s pessimistic, but perhaps realistic, assessment of the issue in Unfixed.

Whatever you do, don’t be apathetic. Don’t think to yourself that -webkit only sites are professional or even remotely acceptable. Because they’re not. It takes very little effort to guarantee forward-looking, cross-browser websites with the vast majority of most modern CSS properties. Doing anything less for the sake of ease is lazy, unprofessional, and going to cost someone a lot of money and effort in the future.

If you do decide to only use -webkit prefixes, watch out, because Bruce Lawson will vindaloo fart on you.

Comic Update: The Curse of the Werefive

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Today’s comic features Jeffrey Zeldman, Tantek Çelik and the Squirrel fleeing a lycanthropic Jeff Croft after his transformation into a ferocious werefive. What is a werefive, you ask?

On Sunday, Zeldman linked a cool html5 test project from his blog. On Monday, Tantek made a comment there discussing his issue with the fact that many of the items the test checks for aren’t HTML5 at all, but rather other related bits (like Microformats, for example). This caused Croft to write his own piece on the topic, wondering why such vigilance was needed, claiming the buzzword’s value in promoting interest outweighs the potential harm of mislabeling items as belonging to it, using the long-abused term AJAX as an example. Tantek follows up again with a comment on Croft’s blog that clarifies his position more in depth. The ensuing discussion spawned today another post by Zeldman on the topic of HTML5 fuzziness and his own reasons that he feels it’s best to avoid such confusion.

Does that help clear things up?

What I’ve enjoyed about this conversation is how thoughtful and polite it has been. In a web where flamethrowers are more common than flowers, it’s great to see an intellectual exercise continue for more than three tweets without someone dropping a Hitler reference or cursing your mother’s fertility.

It’s also a neat topic. I for one often have confused, or sloppily placed, items that aren’t part of HTML5 as part of that banner. At Mindfly, I’ve repeatedly tossed Geolocation (which used to be part of HTML5, just in case that’s not confusing enough) and Microformats (which predates HTML5 and really has nothing to do with it) into discussions about the HTML5… usually in an attempt to add perceived value to making use of what the spec itself offers (which is technically neither of those things.) I’ve never been so crass to lump CSS3 in there, but I’ve got a special place in my heart for stylesheets.

The kind of gooey place usually reserved for sweethearts and cookies with milk.

That said, I have to agree with Zeldman’s words:

Sure, it’s a bit stiff. But such a construction allows us to participate in the current frenzy and be understood by non-technical people while not fostering further misunderstandings—particularly as we also need to concern ourselves with web colleagues’ and students’ knowledge of what HTML5 is and is not.

It’s my opinion, in the end, that we should avoid being bitten by the fuzzy, morphing werefive and adding to what is likely already a very confusing mess for people. Unless I really can grow fangs, claws, and be immune to all but silver bullets. Because that would be so awesome that I would need a motorcycle and a plaid shirt.

Werewolves wear plaid, right?

Comic Update: The HTML5 Super Friends

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Today’s comic, which features a massive ensemble cast of Jeffrey Zeldman, Dan Cederholm, Jeremy Keith, Eric Meyer, Ethan Marcotte, Tantek Çelik, Nicole Sullivan and Wendy Chisholm (guest starring Chris Wilson astride a unicorn), is something like gloss and candy. It’s not tackling a serious issue. Rather, it’s tackling a humorous name created by a group of great people who are themselves tackling a serious issue.

As this photo conclusively proves, the people above (minus Chris Wilson and the unicorn) gathered in the recent past to discuss something very vital. Contrary to popular rumor, it was not the secret location of the Holy Grail or harnessing the power of cold fusion. Nay, they were instead talking about HTML5. More importantly, they were talking about HTML5 as “authors”. For pretty much anyone who reads this blog and doesn’t work for a browser manufacturer, that means you, or your son (if your my parents. Hi mom! Hi dad!)

Like the Hardy Boys, these people were industriously searching for clues, especially clues along the line of “what the hell is HTML5 anyway, and how does it apply to a web designer?” After spelunking the depths of the spec, they surfaced with two things: Firstly, they declared that it was good. Secondly, (and for my purposes, more importantly) they chose  an identity to bind them: The HTML5  Super Friends.

Today’s comic is comedic salute to their bravery and choice of identity. They’ve already done us a great deal of good by recommending alterations to the footer element (which was already a source of annoyance to yours truly) which has now come to pass.

Keep up the noble work, dear heroes.

(And in case you wanted to know, Chris Wilson’s appearance was due to his tweet here regarding the presence of the unicorn on the HTML5 Super Friends page.)

Dan Cederholm, Jeremy Keith, Eric Meyer, Ethan Marcotte, Tantek Çelik, Nicole Sullivan, Wendy Chisholm

Comic Update: HTML5 Manners

Monday, May 4th, 2009

I’m going to lay out a chronology of prior events for you all so that today’s comic has a context other than the poor movie experience that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine (I really wanted to love that movie.)

Chris Wilson (W3C HTML WG co-chair and Microsoft employee) posted an e-mail to a HTML5 discussion that made reference to the “W3C HTML5 Spec”.

Mark Pilgrim (Google employee and WHATWG Blog author) in the WHATWG IRC channel then implies that HTML WG co-chair Sam Ruby would have been attempting to be divisive had he written that e-mail, but since it came from the other chair, Chris, he was in fact being stupid.

Shelley Powers (computer book author, software developer and technology architect) expresses utter frustration in a blog post about the future of HTML5 by pointing out this incident and many others that indicates a “Hatfield-McCoy feud” (in her words) between the W3C and WhatWG that is miring the whole process down. Gems in her post include an IRC discussion (starts here, ends here) between HTML5 editor Ian Hickson and Microformats champion Tantek Celik where Ian shows his bias in the microdata issue (read that: whether to include RDFa in HTML5) by asking Tantek to vet the use-case submissions. The “vetting” quickly devolves to the pair saying “Use microformats for everything” or if such a situation isn’t possible, to simply create a custom microformat for your own use.

Yes, that’s it, let’s make dozens of one-shot formats to solve the many microdata issues we’ll doubtlessly be facing in the next several years. That can’t possibly create any sort of data-harvesting compatibility issues. If I can see the shortsightedness of this issue (and I fail to wear coats on cloudy days because “it’s not raining yet”) then you can bet this isn’t a tenable, long-term solution.

They take some time to attack Creative Commons while they’re at it.

These aren’t the only times these sort of offensive public conversations have occurred, where WhatWG members have publicly derided, insulted or challenged the intelligence of the individuals they’re politely talking to in other conversations about topics they’re mutually involved in (such as HTML5). Mr. Last Week in HTML5 is a great (albeit foul-mouthed and somewhat spiteful) source of links to these conversations occurring all the time.

Ian responded to Shelley’s post, taking umbrage (as Shelley put it) at her “insulting accusation”. Shelley’s response cut to the core of the matter, exposing the main issue at hand here, and one that needs some serious addressing. In her words: “Don’t you get it? Don’t you see what Last Week in HTML5 is trying to demonstrate? You talk respect in my comments, or Sam’s comments, and elsewhere, but you show disrespect to me, to Sam, to others, in the IRC, and it completely undermines everything that you do.

I can’t state it better. These people aren’t average developers trading insults about trivial code snippets on small-scale projects. These are industry movers-and-shakers who are supposed to be working together to help create the standards that will define how we use HTML and other web technologies for years to come. I expect professional disagreement to occur (I’d be worried and concerned if that didn’t happen). But to start insulting one another personally in a public discussion (or frankly, privately) is shameful to the entire process and the entire community that is depending on them to do a good job.

Shame on you, sirs.

I’ll leave you with the following quotes from this IRC discussion including Doug Schepers, Ian Hickson, and a person named ‘roc’ (I don’t know his real name) [edit: As I've been informed in the comments, roc is Mozilla's Robert O'Callahan]:

shepazutoo (Doug): wow, Hixie, “contradicting other specs has never stopped the SVGWG before” (q.v. xlink, css, etc)… first, those were almost certainly mistakes rather than purposeful contradictions, and second, you’re acting like the current SVG WG is the same set of companies and individuals that wrote the SVG 1.1 spec, which you know to be false… can you please drop the political histrionics? we’re acting in good faith to correct some past errors, and to work with other WGs and with browser vendors to make all the specs align usefully

Hixie (Ian): i think you may have missed the smiley

roc (Robert): a smiley is not a “get out of jail free card” to be annoying