Mozilla Web Development

Pinch Hitting For CSS… SVG

I was thinking the other day about CSS shortcomings. CSS is good intentioned, and usable, but it’s also very unintuitive. It’s far from friendly to designers, and makes some simple tasks rather complicated (such as multi-column layouts, and vertical positioning). Of course CSS3 is coming, but is there some other way?


Gbrowser Redux

An interesting post on an allegedly new Googlebot. I’ve got no clue about the truth or accuracy of it, but the article thinks Googlebot is no longer a lynx like browser, but based on Mozilla. It would make sense, so Google can take better advantage of things like CSS, JavaScript. Perhaps it’s using <canvas/> to create screenshots for thumbnails?

Again, no clue regarding accuracy, but it’s an interesting read.

Personal Programming

Really Busy

I’ve been really busy lately, hence posting is a bit light. I plan to pickup soon. I’ve been working on many things.

On a side note, switching programming languages (Visual Basic .NET, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, PHP, Perl) all in one day can be very confusing at times. I’ve been finding myself mixing up syntax quite a bit in the past few days. Yuck. For those wondering, Visual Basic is by far my least favorite.


Opera 9.0 Tech Preview 2

For those interested (if you’re into browsers, you should be): Opera 9.0 Tech Preview 2 is out. The widgets look rather good. Very Apple like in quality, I’ve only looked a the ones by Opera. I assume we’ll see more soon. I really hope XULRunner will be used for such a purpose soon. With the new Cairo backend, <canvas/> and SVG it would be very cool to see what people could come up with.

There’s lots of interesting fixes/features to obsess over, not sure what my favorite would be. (though CSS 3 opacity is eye catching).

Curious how hard it would be to port Apple Widgets, or Yahoo Widgets. Hopefully that will all be somewhat standard one day, and you can use a widget with any platform you want (I hope Apple, Yahoo, and Opera all realize that would be to their advantage as well, granted rendering engines would cause some platform specific things).

Could it be a better time for the web? So many choices, great products all around.

Mozilla Web Development

CSS Hero

Stuff like this, and potentially this make me very eager to get a copy of CaScadeS II. Those are some very welcome features, that would save a ton of time. Especially if they can be done within Firefox.

One of the biggest caveats of CSS is that it’s such a pain to develop with. A good development tool doesn’t fix the problems CSS, nor the implementations (or the differences in implementations), but does make it a little easier. Now if it had some magical way of helping you with layout (something like layout-o-matic but better), it would be a WMD in the CSS arena. Something to help create various popular CSS layouts, [#] column [fluid/fixed] layouts, with options for header, footer. Likely wouldn’t be to hard. What would be make it tough is making it flexible, while keeping a user interface that someone without a PhD. could understand.

For those wondering, I have tried TopStyle, and yes, it’s not a bad CSS editor, but I don’t think it really saves me any time, your mileage may vary. Though I haven’t tried the pro version.

Web Development

CSS Image Maps

Would be cool to see something like this in my favorite image management software. Very useful.

[Hat Tip Scoble]

Programming Web Development

Zen of CSS Design

Zen of CSS Design is out. I think I’ve got to pickup a copy of that book. For now just added to the wishlist. Looks rather good. David Shea is rather brilliant. I’m curious if anyone has seen it yet (and what they think of it).

Web Development

Why Does CSS have to suck

I’m going out on an edge here to say this, knowing a few people will bite my head off for even suggesting this. But I must ask: Why does CSS have to suck? At what point did the CSS WG come up with that decision? Ok, now let me explain where this is coming from:

I’m a strong believer in web standards. They are a great idea, and using CSS is right, and I do support that. What I don’t support is what CSS actually is like.

CSS has been around for some time, but why wasn’t there CSS Columns for example since the beginning? A very basic part of most page designs. CSS is extremely awkward when it comes to layout. Text manipulation is easy. It’s layout that’s painful. Then of course add in browser support.

I think this may be a tiny little reason why web standards aren’t prevalent on the net as of yet. Because CSS has a steep learning curve.

I’m going to really take a chance when I say this: But perhaps CSS3 should rework it from the ground up? Focus on layout and actually make things easier?

Look how easy I can design a site with tables. I can position fairly well, align stuff, etc. etc. Now try with CSS.

I’m working on a project right now that I’m trying to adhere to web standards. But what’s my problem? I’m spending way to much time on layout, and not enough time on the backend. That’s really not good. If anything, designing should become easier.

Most corporate websites are designed by designers, not web developers. Web Developers get handed a page, and integrate it into the CMS. Now how many designers do you think are ever going to sit down and do CSS? Their mind is in design, not code.

Again, I agree CSS is a great theory, keep design and content separate. But the CSS implementation just plain sucks. And until it improves, I can’t see penetration being very high.

Especially after languages like HTML being so easy, you’d think they’d have the perfect complement with CSS.

CSS layout is just wrong. It’s awkward, tough, and not friendly.



Everyone’s lost their mind

The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking Firefox 1.0 is very ambitious. It’s a worthwhile goal, but I think it’s being rushed slightly. Leading to people being very loose with the knives and willing to cut things out. So far victims include the ever so popular offline mode, and now everyone’s favorite (and as Daniel Glazman points out required) CSS switcher. Those spared from the knife have been the JS console and the Mozilla Lizards Gonads (the gonads is rumored from good sources, but so far the bug is set as a protected bug so we can’t view it).

Mozilla needs offline mode. It’s crucial to laptop users. It’s an extremely popular thing, especially in the workplace. If we are going to expect businesses to adopt Mozilla for more security (than IE), and deploy it to all their users. We need to parity the popular features. Offline Mode being one of them. This is used all the time by office workers with laptops. This will block corporate adoption of 1.0 by most potential converts.

Then we have the CSS switcher. An extremely popular tool. Something many bloggers (who are a big contributor to promoting Firefox) have been raving about, since it lets them theme their site. Now we are pulling that out from under them, right before we really need everyone to kick up the effort to promote Firefox. Then of course it’s mandatory in CSS2.

I’m not questioning the Mozilla Foundation as much as the timeline itself. If such popular and necessary features are removed from 1.0, is it really worth calling it a production worthy release? Or should we have another development cycle, then do a beta, public beta, and release. I’m personally of the opinion the extra time would do better than the premature release. I’ve mentioned this before when I first saw this problem manifest. I’m fearing a Netscape 6 style release.

Firefox is a great product, and very worthy of trying if you haven’t yet.

But I’d question calling it 1.0, and telling people it’s a production worthy product prematurely.

It’s tough to make a good first impression the second time around.


Bugzilla Beauty

Is it just me, or does RedHat’s Bugzilla Install put Mozilla’s to shame? The theme is real nice and easy on the eyes. Really, really like it.

Hopefully Mozilla’s next bugzilla upgrade will include some theming. Would be real nice.

It’s just great looking. Really really like it.