Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Friday 12 September 2008

Auckland Web Meetup Summary

A quick summary of tonight's meeting, before I forget...

The Microsoft program manager went first. There was projector trouble at the start, which was unfortunate because it led to his talk running over time which meant he didn't get to demo probably the best IE8 features, per-tab crash recovery and the privacy features.

The first part of his talk was about standards and CSS 2.1, but this part was short. I think that's mainly because this is just not his personal focus area, although part of the problem is that IE8's not doing a lot of exciting new stuff here. It's certainly great if they can improve the interop situation, but that doesn't create excitement in a talk.

Most of the talk was about UI improvements. He spent a lot of time on the Accelerators feature, which to be quite blunt is no big deal. Web Slices looks a bit more interesting. The Visual Search or whatever they call it --- per-site incremental searches showing results in a dropdown as you type --- looked cool.

There was a short demo of their new developer tool. It's incredible how much it looks like Firebug. Frankly I was surprised they haven't done more here --- they haven't even matched Firebug yet, it seems. But we still need to invest more here to maintain our lead and for the sake of the platform.

Our talk seemed to go pretty well, although it's always hard for me to tell when I'm speaking. The demos looked good --- we used a trunk build with just the addition of John Daggett's CSS downloaded fonts patch, so Acid3 was visually correct, and I demoed SVG effects for HTML which landed today (more about that another time). People sounded impressed, but it's always kind of embarrassing to show demos I designed myself to a gang of Web designers, since my graphic design skills are ... limited.

Our talk was far lower-level and more technical than the IE talk and we didn't talk at all about UI work. In fact, when I started showing actual CSS rules I suddenly got a feeling we might have pitched it wrong. However during the demos people asked to see the source, so I guess we were OK :-). (That also let me say "at Mozilla we like to show you the source", which I'm proud of coming up with off-the-cuff!)

Chris Double talked about JS performance, which was perhaps the trickiest part of our talk. We had a slide comparing Sunspider performance for the latest available browser builds. He talked about how performance is rapidly improving in most cases and politely ignored the "anomaly", although the audience obviously picked it up.

Chris finished by showing off his 8080 video game emulator in Javascript and <canvas>. It's a great way to end since it combines HTML5 features with fast JS performance to show what Web apps can do now. It will be even better when some <audio> bugs are fixed on trunk so the sound effects work.

Overall I was pleased. As I'd expected, this encounter was fairly easy since we have a strong story, especially for Web developers.

Update I've uploaded my slides and made some of the demos available: (which I hereby place in the public domain)

They should all work in trunk Firefox builds. (The more complex SVG effects demos now also work on trunk: clipPath, mask, filter.) I've added -webkit and -o rules for the CSS3 bling and border-image demos, but I haven't tested them in those browsers.


roc, what is bug # of John Daggett's CSS downloaded fonts patch ? thanks
Alex Bishop
tonikitoo, I believe you want bug 70132:
Robert, flick me an email - I'm sure myself or some of the team would jump at the chance of working with you to create demos :)