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Re: [whatwg] Implementation complexity with elements vs an attribute (responsive images)

From: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2012 18:01:12 +0100
Message-ID: <CAEhSh3dBikX_fPKrib1yVtT9q8CWpOA7bgbVc8wPQC2cdWn+CQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Mathew Marquis <mat@matmarquis.com>
Cc: whatwg@lists.whatwg.org
On Sun, May 13, 2012 at 5:21 PM, Mathew Marquis <mat@matmarquis.com> wrote:
>> AND they have to update their sites and mediaqueries when we get
>> something new to optimize for. I don't think they will do that, based on
>> how extremely big the problem with -webkit-prefixes are.
>> I've seen enough of the web to be sceptical.
> The amount of “developers can never be trusted with this” sentiment I’ve heard from the members of this group is incredibly depressing.

That it depresses you does not mean that taking a more optimistic
viewpoint will produce specifications that will result in better
end-user experiences.

> When we get “something new to optimize for,” we start adding that thing going forward. The evolution of media queries—or, say, HTML5—hasn’t led to a need to constantly revisit every piece of client work a developer has ever produced.

In the case of webkit prefixes, authors have needed to update their
work, have failed to do so, and now user agents are having to support
webkit prefixes.

The key problem about designing a responsive images solution around
user agent characteristics not image characteristics is that authors
will inevitably make more false assumptions about what images match
what user agent characteristics than user agents will. As a result,
user agents may be forced to misinterpret media queries in order to
provide their users with better user experiences.

What authors _can_ do and user agents _cannot_ do is describe their
images. Such metadata never needs to be misinterpreted and allows user
agents to iterate and improve the end-user experience even when the
author either does not care about them, or has moved on, or is long
dead. Is authors not caring about user agents a real problem?
Certainly is - witness Opera's failed efforts to get authors to
support more than Webkit, witness the widespread inaccessibility of
web services, etc.

Depressing but true.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis
Received on Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:02:01 UTC

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