QuirksBlog

Below you find the last seven QuirksBlog entries.

DRY: Do Repeat Yourself

Permalink | in Web thinking

I am increasingly of the opinion that the general software engineering adage “Don’t Repeat Yourself” does not always apply to web development. Also, I found that web development classes in CS academia are not very realistic.

These two problems turn out to have the same root cause: a lack of appreciation of what browsers do to software development. Browsers, to misquote Douglas Crockford, are the world’s most misunderstood development platforms.

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Impostor syndrome — a story

Permalink | in Personal

Just now Zeldman tweeted a question to which I replied. That reminded me of a story I want to share with you. Zeldman asked:

Have you ever felt that you have no talent whatever? How often do you feel that way?

What he describes is classic impostor syndrome. I’ve got it, you’ve got it, just about everybody’s got it. It’s the “just about” that I want to discuss today.

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Q1 Android WebView statistics

Permalink | in Chromia on Android

Recently Scientia Mobile sent me their Android WebView stats over the first quarter. I edited them slightly and put them online.

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Responsive images-x mess on desktop

Permalink | in Viewports

There we go again. The desktop browsers, over my strenuous objections, decided to treat DPR (device pixel ratio) as a variable instead of a constant when the user uses page zooming instead of pinch zooming.

The advantages or disadvantages of this decision are not what currently interests me, though I continue to have my doubts.

What we’re going to study today is the practical application of that idea: if DPR is a variable, responsive images should respond to page zoom. Do they? Safari doesn’t, Firefox does but has weird rounding, while Chrome/Opera and Edge each have their own bug but do normal rounding.

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Why my head was on the front page of Peru’s largest newspaper

Permalink | in Personal

Why was my head on the front page of Peru’s largest newspaper? What do the Peruvian presidential elections have to do with me? Quite a lot, it turns out — at least, with my Twitter account. Last week it blew up; in a funny way, but still my Twitter timeline was useless to me for four days.

The problem is that one of the candidates is Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, or PPK. You’re starting to see what’s coming next, right?

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RAFP: a proposal for performance measurements through requestAnimationFrame

Permalink | in rafp

I would like to propose a way of measuring the current performance of websites in real-world browsers with requestAnimationFrame. The really weird thing is that almost no one seems to have thought of this before.

The approach is very simple and a few tests show it appears to be worthwhile. I mean, it would be seriously cool if we find a reliable method to progressively enhance a site on-the-fly by turning off features if it turns out this specific browser is plagued by bad performance.

The basic idea is very simple: repeat requestAnimationFrame calls during one second, count how many times it’s called, and use the result to draw conclusions on the current performance of your website in your user’s browser. If the FPS (frames per second) rate starts to go down the browser is having more problems with executing your CSS or JavaScript, and it might be advisable to turn off, say, animations, or that one complicated DOM script that rewrites a table all the time.

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Does free make the web cheap?

Permalink | in Web thinking

One more thing about everyone expecting everything on the web to be free: what if that makes web development appear cheap in the eyes of others?

There are very few web tools out there that are for-pay, and everybody expects the latest tool to be free. Also, good advice, browser research, technical tips and tricks, and introductory articles are all for free. It’s possible to become a web developer nearly for free, with your own workstation as the only real cost.

What if that makes people outside the web (say, enterprise Java) believe that web development is not worth much in a technical sense? Something like “if you don’t pay exciting sums of money for this software, how can it be good?”

I’m not saying this is a brilliant argument, but it could be that people actually think like this.

I’m also not saying that this would be a good reason to start paying for web development resources, but it could be one more unintended consequence of the web being free of charge.

Free has a huge upside: it’s free. It also has its drawbacks, and it strikes me we hardly ever think about them.

Even older entries

See the March 2016 archive and beyond.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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