MapBox’s new vector-based map tiles are more stable, more scalable, and customizable to an amazing degree.
Source: A List Apart» MapBox Develops an Open Source Vector Format for Maps MapBox’s new vector-based map tiles are more stable, more scalable, and customizable to an amazing degree. Read the full articleView full post
Source: A List Apart Typekit is the easiest way to use real fonts on the web. Add a line of code to your pages and choose from hundreds of web fonts. Simple, bulletproof, standards compliant, accessible, and totally legal. Learn more at http://typekit.com Read the full articleView full post
Source: A List Apart
I know you’ve been asked this plenty of times already, but: no new vendor prefixes, right? Right?
Firstly, we won’t be migrating the existing
-webkit- prefixed properties to a
-blink- prefix, that’d just make extra work for everyone. Secondly, we inherited some existing properties that are prefixed. Some, like
-webkit-transform, are standards track and we work with the CSS WG to move ahead those standards while we fix any remaining issues in our implementation and we’ll unprefix them when they’re ready. Others, like
-webkit-box-reflect are not standards track and we’ll bring them to standards bodies or responsibly deprecate these on a case-by-case basis. Lastly, we’re not introducing any new CSS properties behind a prefix.
Totes. New stuff will be available to experiment with behind a flag you can turn on in
about:flags called “Experimental Web Platform Features”. When the feature is ready, it’ll graduate to Canary, and then follow its ~12 week path down through Dev Channel, Beta to all users at Stable.
The Blink prefix policy is documented and, in fact, WebKit just nailed down their prefix policy going forward. If you’re really into prefix drama (and who isn’t!) Chris Wilson and I discussed this a lot more on the Web Ahead podcast [37:20].
How long before we can try Blink out in Chrome?
Blink’s been in Chrome Canary as of the day we announced it. The codebase was 99.9% the same when Blink launched, so no need to rush out and check everything. All your sites should be pretty much the same.
Chrome 27 has the Blink engine, and that’s available on the beta channel for
Win, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS and Android. (See the full beta/stable/dev/canary
While the internals are apt to be fairly different, will there be any radical changes to the rendering side of things in the near future?
Nothing too alarming, layout and CSS stuff is all staying the same. Grid layout is still in development, though, and our Windows text rendering has been getting a new backend that we can hook up soon, greatly boosting the quality of webfont rendering there.
Will features added to Blink be contributed back to the WebKit project? Short term; long term?
Since Blink launched there’s been a few patches that have been landed in both Blink and WebKit, though this is expected to decline in the long-term, as the code bases will diverge.
When are we likely to start seeing Blink-powered versions of Chrome on Android? Is it even possible on iOS, or is iOS Chrome still stuck with a Safari webview due to Apple’s policies?
Blink is now in the Chrome Beta for Android. Chrome for iOS, due to platform limitations, is based on the WebKit-based WebView that’s provided by iOS.
Part of this move seems to be giving Google the freedom to remove old or disused features that have been collecting dust in WebKit for ages. There must be a few things high on that list—what are some of those things, and how can we be certain their removal won’t lead to the occasional broken website?
A few old ’n crusty things that we’re looking at removing: the isindex attribute, RangeException, and XMLHttpRequestException. Old things that have little use in the wild and just haven’t gotten a spring cleaning from the web platform for ages.
Blink also has over 32,000 tests in its test suite, and manual confirmation that over 100 sites work great before every release ships. And we’re working closely with the W3C and Adobe to share tests and testing infrastructure across browsers, with the goals of reducing maintenance burden, improving interoperability, and increasing test coverage. Eventually we’d like all new features to ship with shared conformance tests, ensuring interoperability even as we add cutting-edge stuff.
Still, any deprecation has to be done responsibly. There’s now a draft Blink process for deprecating features which includes:
- Anonymous metrics to understand how much any specific feature is used “in the wild”
- ”Intent to deprecate” emails that hit blink-dev months before anything is
- Warnings that you’ll find in your DevTools console if you’re using anything
- Mentions on the Chromium blog like this Chrome 27
Have any non-WebKit browsers recently expressed an interest in Dart? A
scripting language that only stands to work in one browser sounds a little
Will Opera be using the Chromium version of Blink wholesale, as far as you know? Are we likely to see some divergence between Opera and Chrome?
Why the name “Blink,” anyway?
Haha. Well… it’s a two parter. First, Blink evokes a certain feeling of speed and simplicity—two core principles of Chrome. Then, Chrome has a little tradition of slightly ironic names. Chrome itself is all about minimizing the browser chrome, and the Chromebook Pixel is all about not seeing any pixels at all. So naturally, it fits that Blink will never support the infamous
The W3C announced today that it intends to publish the controversial Encrypted Media Extensions extension specification despite highly outspoken resistance, paving the way for native web DRM.
How is the waterfall web design process like the childhood game of “Telephone,” and how can we fix it? Bringing designers and developers into the discovery and research phase is a good start, says Happy Cog creative director Chris Cashdollar, who shares stakeholder interviewing tips in this helpful Cognition post.
Source: A List Apart
In any given day I can find myself reading up on a new W3C proposal, fixing an issue with our tax return, coding an add-on for our product, writing a conference presentation, building a server, creating a video tutorial, and doing front end development for one of our sites. Without clients dictating my workload I’m in the enviable position of being able to choose where to focus my efforts. However, I can’t physically do everything.
I’m one half of a two-person web development business—the team behind the little CMS, Perch. I’m also an author and speaker on subjects that range from CSS to technical support, and I enjoy all of it.
When we were a service business, what I was actually working on was largely dictated by the requirements of our clients. Whether they wanted to pay me to build servers, manage projects, or write code didn’t really matter. I was exchanging my time for money, doing a range of things I enjoyed. Now that we’re a product company, my greatest challenge is working out where I am best spending my time, while avoiding falling down a rabbit hole of interesting things I have discovered while performing some other task.
The quote that I opened this column with reflects the dilemma I seem to face daily. I can choose to place my attention anywhere. But if I dart around between tasks, none of them get my full attention. At the very least, progress on everything becomes painfuly slow as I spend an hour on one thing and two on another, inching them all forward. I can’t claim to have the perfect solution to managing this problem, but I have started to develop a process for deciding what needs to be done, and whether I am the best person to be doing it.
First and foremost you need to identify what needs doing. I am a great fan of Getting Things Done and regularly review our business and my personal goals, and the tasks that will go into meeting them. Once I have a list of tasks, I can assess them against the following criteria:
- Am I the only person who can do this?
- Does the business or product benefit from me in particular doing this?
- Is this a task I really enjoy doing?
- Will I learn anything new by doing this?
- What am I not doing if I choose to do this?
Am I the only person who can do this?
Things that fall into group one, the things that only I can do, need investigating. It isn’t ideal for any business to have things that only one person can do. It might be that I need to deal with that task today, but how can I make it so that in the future someone else could? Until the middle of last year, our accounts were a case in point. Although we had an accountant do our end of year tax returns, I was the only person who fully understood the complex processes developed to deal with the many incoming small payments for Perch licenses. Taking on a bookkeeper meant I had to formalize and document all of those processes. As a result I don’t have to do the day-to-day books, but perhaps more importantly the business isn’t reliant on knowledge that is only in my head.
Does the business or product benefit from me in particular doing this?
It can make sense to keep some tasks internal. I wouldn’t completely outsource our technical support, or our social media activity, or even our marketing. The public face of our product is very much about us being a small, friendly business. Our customers get to talk to us, the product developers; we share their frustrations and they help us decide on where to put time into new features. There may well be real reasons to keep certain tasks as a role of the core person or team, even if they would seem straightforward to outsource.
Is this a task I really enjoy doing?
Running a business can involve hard work and long hours. If you feel you have to outsource bits of your job that you love doing because it makes most sense as a business, you may end up pretty miserable. For those of us running small software companies, it’s likely we have ended up here because we like to code. So it’s important to me that I spend some of my time actually writing code—even if it might be more sensible from a business perspective for me to just manage other people who are writing code.
I believe that our products and businesses are better when we love being involved with them. To have a successful business, it’s likely that you will always have important things to do that you find less enjoyable than designing or writing code, however I don’t think we should be beating ourselves over the head. Doing what we love is really what has been behind the success of our product. It is completely ok to hang onto some tasks because you simply enjoy doing them.
Will I learn anything new by doing this?
I might really enjoy a particular project, but I find a helpful way to decide if I should do something or contract it out is to see whether I will learn anything new by doing it myself. For example, I have just sent out a sizeable chunk of front-end development. It is a rebuild of an existing site, and I think there are lots of practical and performance gains to be had by rebuilding it. It would have been nice to have done that work myself, but I wouldn’t have learned anything by doing it. Therefore I made the decision that this would be a good piece of work to outsource to a contractor. I can manage that project and make sure that I’m happy with the end result, but I don’t need to actually write the code.
Our business benefits by us having knowledge and understanding. I’m currently spending quite a lot of time learning about automation (using Puppet) and modern ways of managing systems while rebuilding our infrastructure. I could have brought someone in to do this work for me, and may well do so in future. Yet by updating my systems administration skills, I’m ensuring that within the business we maintain a good level of knowledge about our infrastructure.
What am I not doing if I choose to do this?
As part of a tiny team of two, I’ll always have a number of tasks on the go. Ultimately, choosing to take on one task means not doing something else. It might be another task in the business that gets pushed back. It might be personal things like exercise, or spending time with family and friends. To be able to understand the implications of selecting one thing to work on over another, you need to have a really good overview of all the things that are trying to get your attention.
Having clear business goals and objectives in the first place can make this decision-making so much easier. When you find yourself in the position of being able to do anything, it is so easy to run around picking up tasks and trying to do everything. The trick is to take that step back; to see where you can be more strategic with which tasks you tackle and which you delegate. This approach can help you be far more productive and give you space to enjoy the work you are doing while meeting your business goals.
Source: A List Apart
Ilya Grigorik discusses in detail how to construct a mobile website that loads as quickly as possible. A site that not only renders in 1 second, but one that is also visible in 1 second. With hard statistics as evidence to show why this matters, Ilya discusses techniques to deliver a 1000 millisecond experience.
Source: UXMatters – By Jim Ross
Published: May 6, 2013
“By comparing the user research methods that never really caught on to those that have become popular, we can determine what it is that makes user research techniques valuable to UX professionals.”
Remember GOMS analyses? Pluralistic walkthroughs? Have you written any scenarios lately? When was the last time you performed a cognitive walkthrough? Maybe in grad school? Never?
Of all the user research methods that have emerged over last few decades, why did some catch on and become renowned, while others are still waiting for their big break or have declined from their previous glory to has-been status? By comparing the user research methods that never really caught on to those that have become popular, we can determine what it is that makes user research techniques valuable to UX professionals.
Hey, I Still Use That!
In this column, for each of the user research methods that I’ll describe as still waiting for their big break or as has-beens, I’m sure there are some fans who will protest, “Hey, I still use that!” While I’m sure there are people who still do use these methods, I’d bet that most would admit that they aren’t in wide use.
User Research Methods: Has-beens and Stars
Source: UXMatters – By Mia Northrop
Published: May 6, 2013
“Soft skills, the interpersonal and behavioral skills that impact how you manage yourself and work with others, can make or break UX professionals….”
At some stage in your UX career, the focus of your professional improvement will likely switch from what you can produce as a UX strategist, designer, or researcher to how you produce it. Not only do you need to master hard skills such as how to articulate a UX vision, run a card sort, or wireframe for mobile rather than the desktop, you also need to negotiate with developers, facilitate prioritization workshops for teams, and sell design concepts to stakeholders. Soft skills, the interpersonal and behavioral skills that impact how you manage yourself and work with others, can make or break UX professionals and distinguish the brilliant from the respectable among us.
Sharpening Up Your Soft Skills