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Endeca is a search and business intelligence company whose focus is business on the web. When they wanted a new blog that would focus on trends and insights for eBusiness, the team at Oomph decided it was time to use CSS3′s @media declarations for responsive template designs to optimize the site for multiple mobile and desktop devices.
The result was a super flexible theme, built on WordPress, that scales according to the user’s device size. One set of templates displays content in a few different ways, optimized for the iPhone, Android, iPad and desktop monitors of all sizes. Visit the site, grab the window corner to resize it, and watch what happens. Just one catch: current versions of Internet Explorer don’t yet support CSS3 (version 9, which is right around the corner, does add support).
For the developers out there, read on for a quick run down of what we did and how it works.
Author’s Note: This is the first post in what we hope to make series: “Ask a Web Strategist”. These are intended to be relatively short, public answers to questions web technology and strategy we receive. Do you have a question? E-mail us!
Question: I’m all bent out of shape about the Flash vs. HTML 5 debate. I’m interested to hear your opinion about it. Will Adobe Flash still have a place on the web in 5 years?
Answer: Generally, trying to predict where any technology in a field susceptible to rapid change will be in 5 years is a losing game. Flash will probably be around for many years to come, but we’d bet on a much smaller place.
Ask any front end web developer to describe common challenges involved in converting (or “cutting”) a design. Ask a designer who’s savvy about front end web technology what the biggest creative limitation of the web “canvas” is. In both instances, you’d likely hear an earful about fonts.
Fonts have long been a classic example. A storyboard designer can use any font they have installed on their own computer to make a beautiful design, but hacks aside, web browsers have only been able to render text with fonts installed on the visitors’ computers. Since there are only a handful of fonts that are more or less guaranteed to be on all modern computers (think Arial and Times New Roman), websites have been limited to a handful of uninteresting choices.
On September 23, Google released Chrome Frame, an add-on for Internet Explorer (IE) 6-8. Chrome Frame allows websites to request that IE visitors use the rendering engine behind Google’s speedy Chrome web browser instead of IE’s native engine. A TechCrunch synopsis and the Chrome Frame page provide further explanation. This article offers strategic insight into why Google is aggressively pushing their own browser technology, whether Chrome Frame will succeed, and how Chrome Frame should be seen by web development clients.
Ask any web developer what they think of Internet Explorer 6 and you’ll hear an earful. The 8 year old web browser still commands nearly 20% of the browser market and is woefully inadequate at supporting modern standards, incurring millions of dollars for legacy support every year. IE 7 and 8 were big improvements, but as we’ve opined on before, even IE8 fails to support forward looking techniques supported by the competition.
Internet Explorer 8 is out, and a lot of people – technically sophisticated and otherwise – are wondering what, if anything, this means for the web. As professional web developers, our view is that while Internet Explorer 8 is an incremental improvement over its predecessor, we’re mostly disappointed by its lack of progress.
Having read a variety of takes on IE8, we were inspired to write this article for two audiences. First, there’s little in the way of concrete examples and clear explanations for a large swatch of the business technology decision makers (that many of our clients represent) who are often savvy about technology, but look to organizations like us for a deeper understanding of the strategic, cost, and technical significance. Second, reading the comments on tech savvy websites like Neowin, Digg, and the Winsupersite have me concerned that there’s a growing and false notion that IE8 is just great, and its rendering problems are the result of web developers writing non-standard code optimized for IE7.
To understand why IE8 is a legitimate disappointment, we need to start by providing background on how different browsers impact web development, both from a cost and design standpoint. If you think you already have a handle on this, you can skip ahead to our 3 straightforward examples of IE8 disappointments.