Contributions by Mat Marquis
Media queries have been the go-to tool in building responsive sites, allowing us to resize and recombine modules to suit multiple contexts, layouts, and viewports. But relying on fixed viewport sizes can quickly twist stylesheets into Gordian knots. We still need a future-friendly way to manage responsive CSS. Mat Marquis explores the problem and the progress toward the solution—and issues a rallying call.
A decade ago here in A List Apart, we published a radical article by Peter-Paul Koch arguing for custom attributes in markup. Today, Mat Marquis takes a look back at how times have changed, and shows how PPK’s idea has worked its way into the web.
Ready for something new? We’re excited to announce ALA: On Air, community-focused events where our readers can get to know our authors, staff, and others who are shaking up our industry. Mat Marquis shares all the details, and has specifics on our first event, Designing for Performance, coming up on February 26.
Building enormous websites means us shifting the burden of our mistakes onto every single user that visits our site. It’s us saying that we’re willing to build something that isn’t for some users, because that’s most comfortable for us—no different from “best viewed in Internet Explorer 5.5” or “best viewed at 600x800,” but much more costly.
At long last, the native
pictureelement isn’t just coming: it’s here. The
pictureelement has landed in Canary—Google’s “beta” channel for upcoming Chrome releases—and we can try it out for ourselves right now. Now, we need to test it out, look for bugs, and file issues.
After almost three years in pursuit of a standardized solution to the problem of responsive images, the Responsive Images Community Group is excited to announce that the
pictureelement is officially coming to a browser near you. Once it lands, we’ll see the trend toward massive, bandwidth-heavy responsive websites begin to slow—and hopefully, reverse—over time.
The revival of the
pictureelement—the responsive images proposal that has seen the most support from the developer community—is exciting news, but there are still some outstanding questions about how the element will really work. Marcos Caceres and Yoav Weiss have put countless hours into the Responsive Images Community Group’s efforts, and are now working toward
pictureimplementations in Firefox and Chrome, respectively. Mat Marquis asked them some questions.
A List Apart gets back to its roots: building community, giving a platform to new voices, and getting people excited about the web. We’re making changes to the way we work—starting with our decision to open-source the code that powers alistapart.com itself—and we want you to participate. Our Mat Marquis invites you to contribute code and concepts via GitHub, get to know our acquisition scouts, and use ALA and its editors to share your ideas and insights with the whole web design and development community.
The dust has begun to settle after Google’s announcement that Chrome would soon be using their own divergent fork of WebKit as a rendering engine. Now that things have calmed down a bit, I’ve asked Paul Irish to share some of the Chrome team’s plans for the near future.
Just like tweets, you can now embed ALA comments anywhere you like. This is one of those features that we’ve been wanting for our own purposes, and then we figured: as long as we’re building it, let’s give everyone the ability to embed comments.
This morning’s announcement that Opera intends to abandon its Presto rendering engine has left designers and developers with a number of questions. I sent a few over to Opera’s Bruce Lawson to shed a little light on the situation.
With a mobile-first responsive design approach, if any part of the process breaks down, your user can still receive a representative image and avoid an unnecessarily large request on a device that may have limited bandwidth. But with several newer browsers implementing an “image prefetching” feature that allows images to be fetched before parsing the document’s body, some of the web’s brightest developers are abandoning responsive images in favor of user agent detection, at least as a temporary solution. For us standardistas, UA detection leaves a bad taste in the mouth. More importantly, as the number and kinds of devices continue to grow, UA detection will quickly become untenable—just as browser detection did back in the bad old days before web standards. What’s really needed, argues Mat Marquis, is a new markup element that works the way the HTML5 video element works. Sound crazy? So crazy it just might work.