Notes from State of the Browser (#SOTB4)

Firefox OS: not only promises - Fernando Campo and Borja Salguero

Slides on

  • Telef√≥nica going from their old OS to Firefox OS: harder, better, faster, stronger
  • Firefox OS simulator available in Firefox Nightly
  • perf-o-matic
  • Project Eideticker measures perceived rendering performance
  • FirefoxOS is a browser
    • everything we do to develop it is developing the web
    • Theoretical discussions become much more real
    • Live feedback from users and developers
  • Updates to Firefox OS
    • Updating an old FirefoxOS device to 2.x of improves the performance
    • Making the device APIs more accessible and requires less privileges in newer releases
    • The goal: your whole device will be a browser, not just a thing that you can install apps on.
    • FirefoxAccounts - provides access to all Mozilla services
      • Can communicate seamlessly between Firefox devices, for free!
    • New all-in-one developer tools: Mulet
    • Better documentation
  • Ultimate goal: a very affordable device with all of the power of the web

Intro to @viewport & other new Responsive Web Design CSS features - Andreas Bovens

view presentation on slideshare

  • New from Opera
    • Opera for Android now has a tablet release using Blink
    • Opera for iOS has begun
    • Opera Max for Android is like a VPN Tunnel to compress your data received. Speeding things up without killing your data plan
  • Powering RWD: media queries & meta viewport
  • Viewport
    • to the rescue - letting browsers know not to apply a legacy design (width=device-width)
    • BUT it's not a real standard
      • eg: The scaling bug that "forced" people to disabled zoom
      • One person gets the syntax wrong on stack-overflow and suddenly half the web is!
      • Lots of edge-cases are not well documented
      • Browsers have some weird quirks on their implementation
  • Why not make a CSS spec for Viewport? Layout belongs in CSS
    • @viewport { width: auto; }
    • @viewport { width: 400px auto; } is like min-width: 400px;
    • Soon orientation: landscape;
  • Viewport CSS is behind flags in Chrome and Opera
  • Resolution media queries
    • That's right, not just iOS retina!
    • The array of different dpi screens makes for blurry looking images
    • Resolution media queries can use "dots per 'px'" units
    • @media (screen and min-resolution: 2dppx) {
    • very similar to device-pixel-ratio except it's standardised
  • Object fit and object position
    • img { object-fit: contain; }
    • object-position
    • Allows you to produce adjustments to an image with scaling
    • There is a bit of overlap with responsive images, but best practice will emerge with time
    • Don't have to use background-image for smart images anymore, putting images back in <img>
  • Viewport percentage units
    • vw, vh, vmax, vmin
    • Viewport-relative lengths

Browsers at play - Ruth John

All demos available on

  • VJing - creating the visuals to go along with music
  • Pretty great support for CSS animations now
  • Things you can do with the web
    • Control volume
    • Create filters
    • Create sound
    • Analyse sound
  • Although we can't use a direct sound file or line in, we can get microphone from the Web Audio API
    • Not bad support for getUserMedia
  • Mixing He-man with Thundercats
  • Voice API gives us Speech Recognition and Speech Synthesis
    • Not very well supported (lots of Skeletor)
  • Gamepad API lets you control your browser using a Gamepad

Network connectivity: optional - Jake Archibald

Slides on speakerdeck

  • Take a look at your phone's home screen, ask yourself why you can't use the browser for that?
    • Push notifications
    • New content even while offline
    • Syncing in the background later
    • Performance
  • .requestAutocomplete to make web forms much easier
  • We've dropped the 300ms tap-delay! :D (FastClick for browsers that haven't)
  • A lot of the features we need require running code either in the background or before the page loads
  • ServiceWorker
    • It's is on the way!
    • "[AppCache] is a big ugly goon and I want to squash his face"
    • ServiceWorker give us back control of caching resources and requests for offline
    • Nice async handling with Promises
  • Offline First - the next level of progressive enhancement, treating a persistent connection as an enhancement
  • There are already specifications for Background Synchronization and Push
  • Contribute to ServiceWorker on GitHub

High-performance web platform - Martin Beeby

Presentation on PowerPoint Online

  • Demos on @tobint's website
  • Bandwidth isn't the performance issue, latency is
  • Perceived performance
    • Paint early and give at least some interaction
  • Performance improvement areas you might not have thought of
    • Memory efficiency
    • Power consumption
    • We need to consider these more
  • New Developer Tools
    • UI Responsiveness (under F12)
    • Windows Performance Toolkit
  • Average payload has 55 images, often not correctly sized
  • Reduce number of frameworks - know what ones you have and be carefully selective about them
  • Any changes shouldn't be tied to the event firing, but instead to the refresh rate of the screen. Using requestAnimationFrame to do the pain instead of with the scroll / gesture
  • Smoothing with CSS animation instead of JavaScript can have some key performance benefits
  • Use .jpeg over .png
    • Memory management tool (under F12)
      • compare different snapshots of states of your website for memory efficiency
    • jpeg can be a lot more memory efficient than png
    • Memory usage for an image is typically height * width * 4
    • The memory has to be copied from the CPU to the GPU, that can cause a long latency
  • When developing, always think about low end devices first

Brace yourselves: responsive images are coming - Yoav Weiss

Slides available on

  • srcset has been implemented, picture element is coming
  • IndieGoGo campaign for implementing the picture element
  • A lot of argument over the best solution for responsive images
  • Responsive Images Community Group was born
  • Picture vs srcset
  • srcset got implemented and now we are working on Picture
  • Picture 2.0
    • load high-res images only on high-res devices
    • srcset="image.jpg 1x, image-2x.jpg 2x" both onimgandpicture > source`
    • Use-cases for picture
      • Primary: art-direction
      • Secondary: MIME type fallback
    • Sizes + srcset 'w' descriptor
      • images that aren't fixed width but have a variable width
      • tells the browser what size the image will be at different breakpoints
      • all the logic is offloaded to the browser
  • Firefox are actively implementing the picture element with srcset
  • Blink (Chrome & Opera) srcset is implemented, picture is in active development
  • Internet Explorer showing interest in the picture element
  • WebKit partial srcset implementation, likely they will end up implementing it
  • Caveats
    • be careful of Intrinsic sizing, if you don't set the size, it will calculate by dividing by the pixel-density
    • Using @viewport should be inlined with a <style> tag so the browser can get the right image as soon as possible without wasting time or bandwidth
    • don't mix 'x' and 'w'
    • If you have 'w' present then 'src' will not be considered as an image candidate
    • The old 'w' syntax is very similar, but very different
    • "Picture is a magical span, nothing more" - Tab Atkins - style it like a span around your image tag
  • Picturefill is the official polyfill - there is a 2.0b release
  • Feature detection
    • HTMLImageElement.sizes & HTMLImageElement

What it means to be flexible? - Dan Donald

  • Break The Page
  • RWD - It's open to interpretation
  • Breakpoints help us to describe change
  • Are we designing for content or devices?
  • Just because your designs are aimed at these 'lines-in-the-sand' it doesn't mean that everything has to change there
  • Content-oriented breakpoints - neither right or wrong, just choices
  • It's not the code that's important, but understanding the choices we have
  • Mobile first is important, but that's not the same as saying narrow view-port is a mobile, and you shouldn't assume that it is
  • It's not "How do you" but "Why do you need to know what the device is?"
  • We work in a world of assumptions
    • Does mobile mean just the device, or an assumption about the way it is used?
  • What can this device and / or browser do? - When do we know it?
  • Element queries
  • Question your defaults, don't just do what you've always done, always think what's best for the situation

Open web apps: going beyond the desktop - Chris Heilmann

  • We are coming together now - Browser opinions are complimenting each other instead of arguing
  • Open Web Apps - a manifest file what says "this site is an app"
  • What makes a good app?
    • focused: fullscreen with a simple interface
    • mobile: works offline
    • contained: deleting the icon deletes the app
    • integrates: works well with OS and has hardware access
    • responsive and faster: runs smooth, can be killed
    • summary: do one thing, and one thing well
  • Can we make "apps" with HTML5 and the open web?
  • The menu is never about the needs of the end user, but about the hierarchy of the company
  • App Types
    • Web content - no special permissions
    • Installed Web App - Asks for everything you can get with a one time request to the browser
    • Privileged Web App - Access to extra device capabilities a browser doesn't have
    • Certified Web App - certified by one of the vendors
  • While 60FPS is important, there are a lot of things that happen before that
  • Go as low as you can when testing, slow things right down
  • We're here today because of the open web. You made your first page for free, and put it somewhere for free

Discussion panel - Moderated by Daniel Appelquist

Thoughts on http2 / spdy

  • best practices will become bad practices
    • don't combine everything into one file, let them cache it in fragments
    • sprite-ing will no longer be the best practice, send what you need, when you need
    • splitting up the resources will allow splitting up the parsing
  • Will be a lot of new security with the web enforcing https
  • Most of us use a build process as it is, hopefully it will be simple enough to change just that process when we move towards http2

How can we create a web industry where women don't feel alienated?

  • Martin: "I try not to be a dick"
  • Social perception is not necessarily about gender, it's about discrimination, we need to re-evaluate the social perception
  • Change the environment around you, don't fuel the social click-bait - it doesn't help
  • The Science of Sexism - podcast by the royal institute

###"The Web Platform" - what is the platform, and why would we want the web to be one?

  • A platform is an opportunity to share something with the world
  • The idea of making the web a software platform is something we've been doing for a while now - Chris
  • "Platform" is just a matter of naming, not long ago we were saying "web standards" or "web stack" or use "HTML5" to encompass everything - Andreas
  • It's a word we use for this "thing" we share between a lot of different companies - Borja

WebGL and how can we make the web more open for game developers

  • The web wasn't necessarily built as a platform for gaming, use something for not quite what it was intended for and maybe then we'll see these things developing
  • There is a lot of interest from game developers in WebGL, but it will be a long while before gaming on the web is "serious"
  • As a web developer, we don't really understand the world of game developers
  • They are two different worlds really, people have their own tool sets and they use them. That's why some of the earlier unreal engines were ported to HTML5
  • Interestingly WebGL gave us faster canvas an pixel manipulation. Gaming is almost the benchmark and speed test of the web

How will webcomponents change the way we make apps

  • Chris: Webcomponents are an amazing opportunity to write proper widgets for the web.
    • Whatever element you were missing, you can write, and publish
    • You become part of the browser
    • But you will have the danger of lots of variations of the same thing
    • "It's very simple to build a widget, but very hard to build a good widget"
  • Webcomponents will do away with JavaScript UI component-libraries such as jQuery UI
  • As a developer, you will no longer be second class to how the webpage works
  • Yoav: concerned about the render-blocking implications of the HTML imports

What's the future state of deep-linking from / to web apps on a mobile device

  • The flow from app to app feels very familiar
  • We can't lose access to the URL - stop putting words in Jake's mouth!
  • What we're doing now is only the very first step
  • Andreas: We need to make sure that if we can turn the web into an app, we can still turn an app back into the web
  • Jake: We don't want to ask for access to all features upfront but keep the web's model of asking for the permission the first time you need it - it also gives the action context

Can you discuss the security implications around service worker

  • Jake
    • Yes, you can hijack a request, which sounds scary, but the only person you can shoot in the foot, is yourself
    • ServiceWorker will only work over https, because of the amount of power it has
    • You can already register a service worker with the browser... and then you can unregister it