Simon Willison’s Weblog

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Happy Run Some Old Web Browsers Day! jwz has recreated home.mcom.com, the original home of the Mosaic Communications Corporation, using a snapshot from 21st October 1994 and a domain borrowed from current owner AOL. Also includes instructions on running 1994 Mosaic Netscape binaries under a modern Linux distro. # 31st March 2008, 5:54 pm

Ian’s Acid 3, unlike its predecessors, is not about establishing a baseline of useful web capabilities. It’s quite explicitly about making browser developers jump—Ian specifically sought out tests that were broken in WebKit, Opera, and Gecko, perhaps out of a twisted attempt at fairness. But the Acid tests shouldn’t be fair to browsers, they should be fair to the web; they should be based on how good the web will be as a platform if all browsers conform, not about how far any given browser has to stretch to get there.

Mike Shaver # 27th March 2008, 1:35 pm

Opera and the Acid3 Test. Screenshot shows 100/100 (live code or it didn’t happen!)—Opera’s codebase must be in extremely good shape to fix so many issues so quickly. # 26th March 2008, 10:47 pm

IE8 speeds things up. Steve Souders notes that IE8 downloads script files in parallel before executing them sequentially, giving it a significant speed boost over other browsers that download sequentially. # 11th March 2008, 5:42 am

Sunsetting Quirks Mode. Apparently proper standards support in IE (or at least the IE8 renderer) will be triggered by the HTML5 doctype, providing an alternative to those who don’t wish to pollute their markup with an IE-specific meta tag. # 23rd January 2008, 2:56 pm

Legacy. James Bennett has what I think is the most interesting analysis of the X-UA-Compatible header to date. # 23rd January 2008, 2:14 pm

If Web authors actually use this feature, and if IE doesn’t keep losing market share, then eventually this will cause serious problems for IE’s competitors — instead of just having to contend with reverse-engineering IE’s quirks mode and making the specs compatible with IE’s standards mode, the other browser vendors are going to have to reverse engineer every major IE browser version, and end up implementing these same bug modes themselves.

Ian Hickson # 23rd January 2008, 10:07 am

<META HTTP-EQUIV=“X-BALL-CHAIN”>. Mozilla hacker Robert O’Callahan discusses the technical implications of freezing copies of older rendering engines, including the increased footprint and the terrifying prospect of documents in different rendering modes communicating through iframes and the DOM. # 22nd January 2008, 6:55 pm

The versioning switch is not a browser detect. PPK: “In other words, the versioning switch does not have any of the negative effects of a browser detect.” # 22nd January 2008, 4:34 pm

Like DOCTYPE switching did in 2000, version targeting negates the vendor argument that existing behaviors can’t be changed for fear of breaking web sites. If IE8 botches its implementation of some CSS property or DOM method, the mistake can be fixed in IE9 without breaking sites developed in the IE8 era. This actually makes browser vendors more susceptible to pressure to fix their bugs, and less fearful of doing so.

Eric Meyer # 22nd January 2008, 2:24 pm

Beyond DOCTYPE: Web Standards, Forward Compatibility, and IE8. This has huge implications for client-side web developers: IE 8 will include the ability to mark a page as “tested and compatible with the IE7 rendering engine” using an X-UA-Compatible HTTP header or http-equiv meta element. It’s already attracting a heated debate in the attached discussion. # 22nd January 2008, 12:40 pm

Safari CSS Reference. Official documentation covering the CSS properties supported by Safari, including the -webkit proprietary extensions. # 22nd November 2007, 11:51 pm

CSS3 and the death of Handheld Stylesheets. I hadn’t looked at CSS 3 media queries before (which let you apply different styles based on media features such as screen width, height and colour availability)—they seem like a much smarter solution that handheld stylesheets and also appear to be preferred by device vendors. # 16th November 2007, 9:53 am

CSS Transforms. WebKit can now do transforms (scale, rotate, translate and skew) in CSS via a new -webkit-transform property. Transforms behave like position relative in that they don’t affect the layout of the page. You can also provide a full affine transform matrix as a shortcut. # 26th October 2007, 9:45 pm

Tabula Fracta. Mozilla hacker Robert O’Callahan offers advice for anyone aiming to create a new rendering engine from scratch. The WHATWG’s work on specifying real-world browser behaviour and error models gets a well deserved mention. # 9th October 2007, 1:20 am

Native DOMContentLoaded is coming to Safari. I filed this bug over two years ago. They’ve just committed the resulting patch to trunk. # 8th October 2007, 1:07 am

Seeking market share, Microsoft removes WGA anti-piracy check from IE7. Hopefully this will accelerate the rise of IE7 over IE6. # 5th October 2007, 11:55 pm

Multi-Safari. Lets you run multiple versions of Safari on the same Mac. As with the multi-IE hacks, all versions use the same underlying HTTP libraries (which belong to the OS) so the simulation isn’t entirely accurate. # 5th October 2007, 11:51 pm

WebRunner 0.7—New and Improved. A simple application for running a site-specific browser for a service (e.g. Twitter, Gmail etc). This is a great idea: it isolates your other browser windows from crashes and also isolates your cookies, helping guard against CSRF attacks. # 27th September 2007, 1:55 pm

Opera 9.5 alpha, Kestrel, released. “With history search, Opera creates a full-text index of each and every page you visit, and when you go to the address bar, you can simply start entering words you know have been on pages you’ve visited before, and items matching your search show up.” I just tried this; it’s magic. I’m switching back to Opera from Camino. # 16th September 2007, 8:34 pm

Opera 9.5 (Kestrel). The latest Opera alpha includes a bunch of CSS3 features (including an almost full implementation of CSS3 Selectors) as well as the ability to use SVG for scalable background images. # 4th September 2007, 10:49 am

WebCore Rendering I—The Basics. Dave Hyatt has started a series of posts explaining the internals of WebCore’s rendering system. # 10th August 2007, 3:21 pm

Enabling the debug menu on Safari for Windows. “Turn off site-specific hacks” is one of the menu options. # 12th June 2007, 1:18 pm

Timing and Synchronization in JavaScript. Comprehensive overview of how browsers (Opera in particular) load scripts and queue events, with suggestions for best practices. # 30th April 2007, 2:24 pm

Camino 1.1 Beta. Camino now has session saving. I simply won’t use a browser that doesn’t have this feature. # 25th February 2007, 1:16 am

Live DOM Viewer (via) Neat tool from Hixie that provides an insight in to what browsers are actually thinking. # 6th February 2007, 1:12 am

How to enable session saving in the new Camino 1.1a2 (via) I’ve stopped spending time in any browser that doesn’t have session saving built in—sorry Safari! # 15th January 2007, 1:49 am

Sticking with Opera 9

It’s been a month and a half since I started using Opera 9, with a promise to report back later. I’m still using it, although some of the things I liked initially have faded while others have emerged.

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Two revolutionary features in Opera 9

Wow, if I’m not careful this is going to turn in to a promotional blog for Opera.

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Opera Mini 2.0

Just as I was getting thoroughly sick of the whole X-2.0 trend along comes a product I can really get excited about. Opera Mini 2.0 is a truly lovely piece of software. It’s a free web browser for your phone, accompanied by a free proxy:

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