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Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Posted Feb 18, 2013 13:28 UTC (Mon) by alankila (guest, #47141)
In reply to: Opera moves to WebKit and V8 by alankila
Parent article: Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Before you have time to reply: of course you are right. I'm largely just parodying an extreme version of the "software must work here and now with what we got, and can you have it delivered yesterday"-mindset that a lot of us run into in a commercial setting.

My message is this: implementations dominate. And I have fully resigned to updating the code whenever some new popular browser or new screen dimension comes that causes stuff to not work optimally. It's just fact of life and the alternatives of trying to spend a lot of effort trying to guess where you are 5 years from now are probably going to go wrong anyway.

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Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Posted Feb 18, 2013 14:26 UTC (Mon) by epa (subscriber, #39769) [Link]

Analogizing web design to C programming, there are two ways I can think of it. If you asked: would you prefer to build a program to run on a dozen different Unix variants, then I'd unhesitatingly reply that a world of just Linux would be ideal. But on the other hand, testing with different C compilers (including extra-strict ones like is useful to find cases where you have made unwarranted assumptions or relied on implementation-specific behaviour.

It seems to me that Javascript is like the Unix-variants question: much better to have a single implementation. But pure HTML and CSS is more like the choice of compilers. CSS is declarative anyway and you don't expect to get pixel-identical results (not if you are wise), and there is such a large diversity of different screens (not to mention print and screen readers) that you are not building a fixed artefact so much as giving some general instructions which you hope that somebody will interpret in the way you intended. Given that you want to make sure that there are no hidden ambiguities or assumptions in the instructions you have written.

Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Posted Feb 18, 2013 16:16 UTC (Mon) by alankila (guest, #47141) [Link]

I do think CSS is meant to be pixel exact positioning tool, at least if you use pixel metrics. (Of course, anything that has images is pretty much forced to use pixel metrics because browsers suck at image scaling.)

CSS was also meant to solve the multidevice presentation problem by allowing overriding of the instructions based on screen type (somehow), so the pixel reign can probably be extended even to devices shaped like a david's star in due course. But as with all abstractions, you can spend a lot of effort doing something that probably ends up being a very small benefit. The only really good use case I've come across for @media is the ability to remove elements from page when printing, so far. Not very glorious.

All this CSS stuff is very complicated, and historically most of it didn't work reliably. Today it might work, but I don't care. As I admitted from early on, my attitude is best summarized in the word "apathy".

Opera moves to WebKit and V8

Posted Mar 12, 2013 6:12 UTC (Tue) by Duncan (guest, #6647) [Link]

> I do think CSS is meant to be pixel exact positioning tool, at least if you use pixel metrics.

Perhaps it was meant to be at one point...

As someone in another recent discussion pointed out, even pixels are relative, these days. Even if on first visit there's a 1:1 mapping of physical to logical pixels (and for all I know a browser accounts for the window size and possible average zoom on previous sites and does an initial zoom even on first render), the first thing many people do the first time they hit a site is zoom it to a comfortable size. I know firefox (and I presume all modern browsers) remember the zoom-state, so from there on out, every time a user comes back, the browser automatically zooms to whatever the user preferred, and any page-specified pixel sizes are relative to that.

So even pixel metrics are relative, these days...

(Of course, that's not even considering user controlled rewriting proxies such as privoxy, or technologies such as greasemonkey. I long ago taught my instance of privoxy to replace font px with pt, along with a number of related replacements like ms sans serif with just sans serif. From my filter file (JED are my initials, nice convenient way to avoid namespace pollution; many of these were from when I was using konqueror as my default browser; I could probably revisit some of them now, but if they're not causing issues...):

FILTER: JED-Font Kill various font attributes

# Kill MSSansSerif, as the default replacement for it
# here is virtually unreadable

s+ms sans serif(,?)+m\$ sans serif($1)+isg

# Kill clean, as it's single-sized tiny


# Kill dynamic-loaded font-faces as they're
# crashing konqueror (2011.0426)


# Replace Lucida Console

s+lucida\sconsole+luxi mono+isg

# Replace pixels with points (style)


# Kill sub-100% font sizes



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