Future of the Web 20100521

“Future of the Web”

Given the amount of very cool things happening on a daily basis in the world of HTML5, CSS, SVG, and the web in general, it would be cool to have a place to share thoughts, ideas, and cool links. (Idea largely stolen from Sören‘s “Chuckellania”.) I always like to watch for cool developments, and since beginning work at Ayogo Games, Inc. as a co-op student, I’m seeing cool links on an almost daily basis.

  • Support for CSS’s @font-face construct is surprisingly widespread, support in some form or another by all major browsers. Of course, the font formats that are supported vary widly from platform to platform. IE supports only the strange EOT format, while everyone else supports TTF and OTF. Firefox prefers WOFF, which is also supported by Webkit and IE9.
    Google is now offering “web fonts” of the future, hosted CSS files that contain the @font-face definitions. They also have an entire webfonts API to control font loading.
    It is great to see fonts like Droid on there (which is an entirely free font, used by my blog and my Ubuntu theme). However, a quick look at their CSS seems to indicate that the fonts are in TTF format only, which might limit their use on IE.
  • I played around with the IE9 Preview 2, mostly in IETester so that I wasn’t restricted to example pages. I was highly surprised that the rendered output was on par with that of older Firefox builds, but with much smoother text. Seems that the switch to DirectWrite was worth it. Of the CSS features I had in my test, the only thing IE9 was noticeably missing was text-shadow, which is rather minor. Now we just hope for speedy adoption, which might be an issue given the lack of support for Windows XP.
  • On the subject of IE9’s standards compliance, it currently handles HTML5’s <svg> tag better than Webkit. Firefox 4 will support is with the HTML5 rendering engine, but Webkit browsers only support inline SVG content when the page is served at XHTML. The bugzilla issue doesn’t seem to have caught anyone’s attention yet.
  • HTML5 video is starting to take off, with IE9 announcing that they will support H.264 encoded video playback. As much as I would like to see a fully open codec used, with Apple, Microsoft, and Google (via YouTube) putting support behind H.264, I think the battle is over before it really began. It would be nice to see some sort of official agreement made that would allow an open-source H.264 codec to be shipped in all browsers without worrying about patent issues. Opera seems to be planning to use existing backends such as GStreamer for its video implementation, leaving Firefox as the only browser without a way to view H.264 content. On the flip side, IE9 could be the only browser without a way to view OGG Theora content. Safari uses QuickTime for video, so even it can play Theora files after installing a codec.
  • Ending on a complaint… It is 2010. IE9 is in a preview stage with very good support for HTML5. All other browsers have equal or better support. But I still have to hack around transparent PNG images because of IE6. It is 2010. It is time stop dealing with IE6’s flaws. I don’t mean simply showing messages warning users about upgrades, I mean an actual refusal to deal with those browser issues. When that happens, we can start the same treatment for IE7.

Pidgin 2.7.0 with prpl-uruki

Apologies, I’m not going to do much more than list a series of command here… These are intended for Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx), and will compile prpl-uruki so that you can view who is online. No chat at this point.

$ sudo apt-get install libssl-dev libjpeg62-dev zlib1g-dev
$ hg clone http://dev.zrax.net/hg/libhsplasma
$ cd ./libhsplasma
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr --no-python --with-pkgconfig
$ make
$ sudo make install-dev
$ cd ..
$ hg clone http://dev.zrax.net/hg/prpl-uruki
$ cd ./prpl-uruki
$ ./autogen.sh
$ ./configure --prefix=/usr
$ make
$ sudo make install

If you reload Pidgin, you should have the option to add an “Uru KI Network” account. When(/if) it connects, your buddy list will be displayed.

Known Issues:

  • Chatting is not implemented. Chatting does not work. There is no chat. There is no chat.
  • If the connection fails, Pidgin will hang forever waiting on a thread condition. If I see a lot of complaints, this might be rewritten.
  • You can add buddies, but cannot remove them (through Pidgin)
  • Did I mention that chatting does not work? Do not give me bug reports about it :P

Bugs can be submitted at prpl-uruki on Google Code.