Archive for December, 2007

Adobe Media Player – Live on Labs

It’s not just a glimmer on the horizon anymore, the Adobe Media Player prerelease is now available on Labs. A fine way to navigate your favorite video assets and streaming channels with style in a well-done AIR application. As expected, it’s hardware-accelerated and down with the H.264-izzle. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to use AMP myself and bog down a bit ‘o broadband at the homestead.

IE8 – Credit where Credit’s Due

After a week of highly polarized reactions to the recent Opera complaint against Microsoft, you’ve got to give some long overdue props to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer team for pushing forward and finally announcing that internal builds of IE 8 have finally passed the Acid2 test, even if just internally for now. You can read the news from Dean Hachamovitch here, and Molly Holzschlag’s report from the trenches here. Here’s hoping IE8 gets out into the wild quickly.

Spry and the 2007 Ajax Survey

It’s been a big year for the Spry framework– with tons of feedback from the standards and best practices community helping us get version 1.6 out the door that addressed darn near all the immediate concerns with the framework. Recently I blogged about the 2007 Ajax Survey, an annual census of framework usage across the Ajax development community, and urged interested parties to write in Spry, as it was not part of the survey- well, at least not at first.

The survey results are in- and although it didn’t crack the top 10 (among some heavyweight contenders), apparently Spry was the #1 write-in framework, to the degree that the surveyors added it as an official choice in the survey a day or two later. The excerpt of interest from Richard Monson-Haefel’s weblog post announcing the results:

“Spry is growing quickly and may be in the top 10 next year. Spry was left out of the survey for the first day or so and then added in as it was the most popular write in toolkit. It may have faired better if it was an option from the start.”

Great to hear. Now again- Spry wasn’t one of the top 10 frameworks, but for a designer-focused framework to make such a splash in such an application developer-heavy community this year can only be a positive sign that things are headed in the right direction (at least I’d hope so!), and we’re of course going to keep pushing forward on Spry to make it even better for next year. No resting on laurels here, that’s for sure.

Thanks to everyone who wrote Spry in on the survey! And if you haven’t checked out Spry 1.6 and all the new treats within, now would be a great time to do so. Make sure to drop comments and suggestions in on the Spry forums, too- the team’s always listening.

Opera Takes Aim at Internet Explorer

Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera Software, has leveled a blast directly at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as of today in the form of a formal antitrust complaint– calling them to task for both not adequately supporting web standards, as well as the direct ties between IE and the Windows operating system. You can get more context on this complaint directly from the open letter on his weblog, as well.

One of the key tenets of the complaint is IE’s failure to pass the Acid2 test, the most prominent test case to date for determining a user agent’s adherance to the W3C HTML/CSS 2 specs. All other significant modern browsers have successfully passed the Acid2 test case (Gecko-based browsers expected to fall in line with the current 1.9 spec, to be implemented in Firefox 3 among others), however the IE team has publicly noted they do not consider Acid2 a true test of standards compliance, but a ‘wish list of features’. That characterization is one I’ve never quite agreed with. Acid2 is a lot more than just a laundry list of ‘nice-to-have’ features, in my opinion- and more a list of ‘need-to-have’ features.

That being said, I do feel that Internet Explorer has come a long way with version 7 (despite still receiving the brunt of browser-based designers/developers’ ire for it’s remaining shortcomings), and have hopes that the recently-hinted-at IE 8 will come even closer to compliance, but would also hope that passing the Acid2 test becomes a reality with that release.

Now although I would hope to see ALL browser vendors (including IE) recognize Acid2 as at least a common target for verifying baseline standards-compliance (and was personally a bit bummed to see it dismissed by the IE team specifically during the IE 7 cycle), I’m not sure I can get entirely behind Hakon’s argument that IE’s existence alone is limiting choice for the Windows community, as both Opera and Firefox have no problems on that platform- at least as far as I can tell. I’ve chosen to use Firefox on Windows myself, and had no issues in doing so.

Microsoft’s Chris Wilson was pretty straightforward (over 2 years ago, in fact) as to why IE 7 did not consider Acid2 compliance a top priority for that release, to be fair. And I know that there’s always a balance to be struck between strict adherance to specs and the top issues your customers face – we develop software here at Adobe too, and compromises are always involved – but an antitrust complaint suggests the strategy is more one of the oft-cited ’embrace, extend, destroy’ practice Microsoft has been called on in the past, notably during the Netscape/IE dogfighting during the mid-to-late 90’s. I’m not sure I totally agree here, either. Both Chris and Molly have been effecting quite a bit of positive change in Internet Explorer and I’d like to keep a positive attitude about where things are headed. However, even Molly has recently taken Bill Gates to task on the degree of transparency the IE team has been exhibiting lately, so maybe there’s something to Opera’s argument beside saber-rattling. Couldn’t say, personally. But I will be paying a lot closer attention now.

Is Opera’s formal complaint against IE simply an aggressive plea for consistency among the browser developers, or the first warning shots across the bow before Browser Wars 2008 kick in? Will other vendors join into the fray? Interesting developments in the standards community these days, to say the least.

What do you think?

Ajax Survey III @Ajaxian

If you’re doing any rich interface development and/or Ajax work, you should definitely participate in the recently-announced Ajax survey created by Richard Monson-Haefel of the Burton Group. It’s a simple, 3 question survey, and should only take a minute of your time.

Note that Spry is *NOT* included in the list of frameworks (heresy!), but I strongly recommend putting it in as a write-in vote if you’re down with the Spry framework. Perhaps even if you aren’t. ;-)

(Link courtesy of Ajaxian)