10 August 2015

The Notebook of Aaron Gustafson: “Ramblings on New Browser Features, Interoperability, Craft, and the Future of the Web”

The whole “polyfill it and move on” movement has him a little annoyed. I share his sentiment. I don’t think a JavaScript-based solution should be considered “good enough” for interop. JavaScript is not guaranteed. Moreover, JavaScript implementations are also never going to be as fast as a browser implementation. If browsers want to pick up a polyfill and implement it behind the scenes, that’s fine because it will run faster, but loading up our websites with potentially megabytes worth of polyfills in order to use new “standards” seems ludicrous.

As an industry, we are doing an awful lot of navel gazing. We are spending more time solving our own development problems (legitimate in some cases, fabricated in others) by throwing more and more code at the problem. As a consequence, our users are paying the price in slower sites, heavier web pages, poor performance, and bad experiences (or no experience). And, on top of that, we’re solving our problems not their problems.

Aaron Gustafson

I couldn’t agree more. Even if I’m involved with web design only as a hobby, maintaining my small blog, I sigh every time someone solves design problems with JavaScript, new shiny tools and, maybe worst of all, experimental features available only in one rendering engine. Where does a small site owner or business find the time to learn and implement new tools and features (hopefully correctly!) that will become obsolete in a couple of months? Where will they find resources to debug inevitable issues when specs change and browsers implement new versions, breaking older sites? It’s preferable to wait until features are stable enough to be available and consistent across recent browser versions – and even so, in most cases you need to ensure some compatibility with older browsers, depending on what your visitors use.

I can’t seem to find enough time to work on the modern look I have in mind

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