It’s an exciting time to be a web developer, as all four major browsers have released / are releasing new versions with extended CSS & HTML support. However, as Opera and Webkit race to be the first to score 100% on the Acid3 test, a lot of people are getting caught up in the excitement and turning this into some kind of pissing contest.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter who passes the test first. Does it matter who passed the Acid2 test first? Do you remember? Do you care? What matters is that this year we’re going to have much better standards support and less proprietary bugs, and that’s the best and most important thing.
As with operating systems and video games consoles, everyone feels the need to take a side and defend it vigorously. But it’s not important. If you like Safari, then all power to you; I prefer Firefox. What we can agree on is that we want our websites to work equally well on both of them. I congratulate Opera and Webkit equally for working towards making better browsers, and couldn’t care less who passes the arbitrary test first.
That said, it should be judged by whichever one makes a production release, of course, not a nightly or an Alpha. You don’t win a race by having the fastest trainers, you win it by crossing the finishing line!
On a related note, today’s Wired has a good summary of HTML5 support in current and forthcoming browsers.
Does anybody have a spare invitation to twine they’d be willing to send my way? I’m very curious to see what it’s all about.
Apple have released Safari 3.1 for Windows and OS X (and Linux using Wine) today, and the feature that really stood out for me was the introduction of web fonts. Website makers have been bound to the same core fonts for years now, so suddenly having a huge palette to choose from is going to make an enormous difference!
Using them is pretty easy. First you have to declare the fonts using the @font-face rule — and, importantly, you have to declare each variant (weight, style, etc) individually by linking to the font file involved. You can’t just link to the directory and let the browser work out the variants. To see what I mean, take a look at this example (using Safari 3.1, of course!) and view the source to see the CSS involved.
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Had the chance to run a few more tests to find out what’s new (and what’s not) in IE8. Good: @import media types seem to be implemented; Bad: XHTML still isn’t parsed, so everyone who thinks they are coding XHTML are still kidding themselves.
As just about everyone in the development community must know by now, Microsoft released a first Beta of IE8 today. I’ve been testing it for the last hour or so, and here are some notes I’ve made — the first of which is that this is really more of an Alpha than a Beta; there are a lot of bugs and errant behaviours.
One of the first things I noticed was that the browser comes with a limited set of development tools built in. They’re not well integrated, they’re not very extensive, and they’re not easy to use; but they’re there.
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I am very pleasantly surprised. Microsoft have announced today that they have reversed their decision on the new standards mode trigger in IE8; instead of having to opt in to standards mode by using the META tag, you will have to opt out by using it instead.
In light of the Interoperability Principles, as well as feedback from the community, we’re choosing differently. Now, IE8 will show pages requesting “Standards” mode in IE8’s Standards mode. Developers who want their pages shown using IE8’s “IE7 Standards mode” will need to request that explicitly.
This is a very wise decision, IMHO (and I’m not the only one to think so). Standards‐aware developers can code their sites to meet the latest standards in all the major browsers, and anyone who finds their site displaying strangely in the new Explorer can fix it with a small line of code.
Microsoft’s Interoperability Principles promise more open protocols and adherence to standards. I think this is a very welcome move, even if a small part of me is wondering what the catch might be…