Saturday, March 29, 2008

Introduction to XML technologies

There's a guy from the U.S. that calls himself Gerald that wrote a blog entry aiming to introduce XML technologies (from a Java point-of-view):
Quite interesting, especially for beginners or to those wanting to take a step back and getting another overview.

Note that he also mentions XINS as a web services framework.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Opera also claims 100/100 on Acid3

Although they don't provide a publicly downloadable build yet (unlike WebKit), Opera also claims they have a score of 100/100 on Acid3. Coming soon to a download location near you...

WebKit passes Acid3 test

Wow, they did it! While my Firefox 3 beta 4 (on Mac OS X 10.4) gets no more than 68 points (out of 100), the WebKit team managed to make their browser engine pass the Acid3 test:
Now they 'just' need to do some profiling to make sure the test is passed quickly and the animation is smooth...

They sure deserve some credit for this!

CSS improvements planned for MSIE 8.0 (final)

On the Microsoft Internet Explorer blog, a new article appeared today, titled "Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Developers – Standards Highlights Part 2". This article points to a document about the various IE versions and CSS compatibility:
From the document, it becomes clear that while IE 8 beta 1 already improves CSS compatibility compared to IE 7, there are still some improvements planned before the IE 8 final release:
So there's still something to look forward to...

I wonder how much of this will affect the IE 8 score on the Acid 3 test, but I don't expect them to beat WebKit anytime soon (who just achieved 100/100).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ajax Performance

Here's a great blog about client-side JavaScript and CSS: Ajax Performance. Some articles of interest:
Interesting stuff!

Browser-specific CSS

The main browser engines support some CSS properties (or property values) that are not (yet) standardized. These get a browser engine-specific prefix, to maintain future compatibility, as the property (value) may make it into a standard, but possibly with slightly different characteristics.

The prefixes used are:
Microsoft is not that careful with CSS compatibility, their Internet Explorer does not use a prefix, except for one property: -ms-interpolation-mode.

Here are lists of CSS properties/property values specific to these browsers:

Browser blogs

Here are links to some blogs dedicated to the main browser engines:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer – since the release of the IE 8 beta, there are is one new post every day, mainly focusing on functionalities and technologies;
  • Mozilla Developer News – Covers not only browsers, but other products as well.
  • Camino – a blog dedicated to Mozilla Camino (for Mac OS X).
  • WebKit – the engine of -primarily- Safari.
  • Opera – Blog by Håkon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera.
For Konqueror, I could not find a decent blog...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The truth about abortion

This picture speaks for itself. If you believe abortion is principally different from killing a baby, think again.

Color spaces in Safari and Firefox 3

Since long, Safari 3 has supported support for color profiles (see the WebKit blog entry Color Spaces). Now the Firefox 3 betas also come with support for it, although it's disabled by default.

To enable support for color spaces in Firefox 3 beta 4, do the following:
  1. Go to about:config
  2. Confirm you want to edit settings
  3. Set the option "gfx.color_management.enabled" to "true"
  4. Restart Firefox
Now check out some sites. Like with Safari 3, colors in sites may look quite different, since an extra step is applied to convert the colors from the original color space to the color space for your screen.

For web developers this smart behavior introduces some challenges, since sites now look different on different browsers on the same platform. Of note, Safari and Firefox implement color space support differently: Safari only adjusts images (such as PNGs), while Firefox also adjusts CSS colors.

So even between Safari and Firefox 3 with color space support enabled, there are differences, as reported in Firefox bug report #424356 (see the attached screenshot) Firefox seems to do a better job here than Safari, because with the latter the colors of different elements on a web page may mismatch, as can be seen (with Safari 3.1) on a website like http://www.route65.eu/.

For web developers, here's a pragmatic approach:
  1. make sure your images do not include a color profile (saves ~4KB)
  2. do not specify colors in CSS if there is an image that needs to match the color, instead use a dot image with the exact same color
Still your site will look different on browsers with or without color space support, but at least you work around the problem in Safari 3.1.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Apple Keynote 4 does not support soft hyphens

Currently, Apple's Keynote (v4.0.2) does not support soft hyphens. When a soft hyphen is inserted, it is treated as a normal (breaking) hyphen: even if the word is no split over 2 lines, the hyphen is still shown.

Steps to reproduce:
  1. create a new Keynote document
  2. create a text field
  3. add a long word in it
  4. move the cursos to the middle of the word
  5. go to Edit > Special characters...
  6. in the dialog that appears, enter "SOFT HYPHEN" in the search box
  7. double-click on "SOFT HYPHEN" in the list that appears
  8. click on button labeled "Insert"
  9. resize the text field so it is large enough to show the word without breaking
Expected behaviour:
  • the soft hyphen does not show
Actual behaviour:
  • the soft hyphen shows, in the middle of the word

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

MSIE 8 default is standards compliance

This is great news! Microsoft is announcing they changed their standards compliance policy for Internet Explorer 8. It will now default to the new IE8 rendering engine, offering the best standards compliance so far.

This is great news to the Web, to both users and developers.