Archived entries for Browsers

DOM Scripting Task Force – WaSP

Once again the fine folks at the Web Standards Project are helping us all move the industry forward, this time with the launch of their DOM Scripting Task Force as announced in their buzz archive today.

"The skillset of a front end programmer is a three-legged stool: structure (XHTML) is the first leg, presentation (CSS) the second, and behavior (DOM Scripting) the third," said Peter-Paul Koch, a prominent scripting expert and one of the founders of the task force. "These three legs should be equal, but at the moment the behavior leg is the shortest, least-valued and least-understood of the three, even though the DOM has been a W3C specification for seven years and enjoys relatively solid browser support."

They have a press release, a manifesto, and of course a website.

These topics aren’t anything new necessarily, but it’s good to see more and more developers picking up the torch. For more reading on this/these topics, check out these other posts from my blog: The Behavior Layer, Unobtrusively, and Semantic Markup – Create, Support and Extract.

If you eat and breath these topics, I’d love to hear from you and your resume.

DOM Scripting Task Force – WaSP

Once again the fine folks at the Web Standards Project are helping us all move the industry forward, this time with the launch of their DOM Scripting Task Force as announced in their buzz archive today.

“The skillset of a front end programmer is a three-legged stool: structure (XHTML) is the first leg, presentation (CSS) the second, and behavior (DOM Scripting) the third,” said Peter-Paul Koch, a prominent scripting expert and one of the founders of the task force. “These three legs should be equal, but at the moment the behavior leg is the shortest, least-valued and least-understood of the three, even though the DOM has been a W3C specification for seven years and enjoys relatively solid browser support.”

They have a press release, a manifesto, and of course a website.

These topics aren’t anything new necessarily, but it’s good to see more and more developers picking up the torch. For more reading on this/these topics, check out these other posts from my blog: The Behavior Layer, Unobtrusively, and Semantic Markup – Create, Support and Extract.

If you eat and breath these topics, please send me your resume.

Changes for Mozilla Extension Developers

On the Inside Firefox blog, ben writes about Changes for Extension Developers. The changes are must-know for extension developers, but also provide some nice benefits for users.

Old News: Deer Park Alpha 1

More old news: Mozilla has released (on May 30th, 2005) the first alpha release of "Deer Park" their "next generation Firefox browser". It’s seriously alpha and just for developers, but I figured you might want to know about it anways. As they disclaim, if you’re just a user you definitely don’t want to download this.

You can find thier announcement and relevant links on the Firefox Project page: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/firefox/

(for history’s sake, here’s the link the windows distribution directly: http://download.mozilla.org/?product=deerpark-alpha1&os=win&lang=en-US

Rendering CSS Efficiently – Insider Tips from Safari

I just came drown from altitude in the Himalayas, so I’m admittedly pretty far behind in my technology reading, email maintenance and blogging. That said, in beginning to catch up I came across this complex and interesting post from David Hyatt on his Surfin’ Safari blog. For those of you that have been paying attention, Hyatt is a leading browser developer, having worked on Gecko at AOL, and in his current position largely responsible for the magic in Safari and Web Core.

His post deals with the challenges of rendering CSS:

One of the most interesting problems (to me at least) in browser layout engines is how to implement a style system that can determine the style information for elements on a page efficiently.

Hyatt has created a new, more efficient algorithm for doing this (and a few other related things). For the algorithm to work, it checks ten features of each DOM node. I’m blogging this because it presents a new optimization opportunity for web developers. By being mindful of these 10 items, and not needlessly failing the 10 tests, we’ll take advantage of these new rending efficiencies in Safari. These aren’t revolutionary steps, but there are situations where they will certainly be the tie-breaker between alternate approaches.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order for this sharing to be possible:

  1. The elements must be in the same mouse state (e.g., one can’t be in :hover while the other isn’t)
  2. Neither element should have an id
  3. The tag names should match
  4. The class attributes should match
  5. The set of mapped attributes must be identical
  6. The link states must match
  7. The focus states must match
  8. Neither element should be affected by attribute selectors, where affected is defined as having any selector match that uses an attribute selector in any position within the selector at all
  9. There must be no inline style attribute on the elements
  10. There must be no sibling selectors in use at all. WebCore simply throws a global switch when any sibling selector is encountered and disables style sharing for the entire document when they are present. This includes the + selector and selectors like :first-child and :last-child.

In web development there are often 6 different similar ways to do the same thing. What makes a good web developer is continually choosing the best of nearly-indistinguishable paths. These insider tips from Hyatt give us a more complete understanding of the guts of the browsers, and will help us choose the best methods.

Read about it in his own words here: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt/archives/2005_05.html#007507

Awesome Firefox Extensions

Anthony Lieuallen of Arantius.com has a great page called Awesome Firefox Extensions. If you’re new to Firefox or extensions, or are interested in finding some great new one, definitely head over there to check it out.

One extension not listed that I would personally recommend is Target Alert. This extension adds a small icon next to any links that aren’t to standard web pages. For example, it inserts a small envelope icon next to any email links, and a small PDF icon next to any .pdf links. (The PDF alert is particularily useful, since loading a PDF is slow sluggish and I often want to avoid it all together!) It offers alerts for many file extension (you can turn on and off as needed), and also alerts to links that will open new windows. The new window alert is great, because I then know to press alt-shirt to force the load into a new tab instead of a new browser window.

Anyways, I’ve been meaning to publish my recommended list of extensions, but this will have to do for now.



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