Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who's the scary man?

.. and why is he touching me?

Hang in there girl! He will go away soon.

I know, it can never be soon enough.

Yes, he is gone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Trying to understand what the fuss is all about

.. and trying to understand

Yesterday a small storm was started by two articles:

Hundreds of comments have erupted and I am guilty as charged.

X-UA-Compatible provides a switch for IE to know what the developer wants: does the developer want the old wild west behavior, or a more standards-based behavior?
Now, what is it about?

Slowly and surely I begin to understand what this all about. It takes some time. You have to let the dust settle a bit. Then you can see more clearly again. And think clearly.

The fuss is about a special meta-tag proposed by Microsoft that you can put in a web page to make IE8+ understand which IE version rendering the page requires. It's, for now at least, only applicable to IE8+. Other browsers can ignore it.

When the tag is not present IE8+ will render default in IE7 fashion.

So, what is it really about?

When you are a web developer, like I am, and are really into using web standards, like I am, is this threatening? Not really, I think.

Consider this: you have created a web site using web standards and displays good in all browsers you think it should: Firefox, IE6 and 7, Safari, Opera and the like. Now when Microsoft brings out IE8 your site will display in IE7 fashion and you already have it tested against that. It should not give you any extra work.

Maybe, you have used some really clever stuff, like generated content, that doesn't work in IE7. Without the appropriate tag this will not work in IE8. But if you would like this to work in IE8, you could set the value for the X-UA-Compatible meta tag to "edge" any version of IE8+ will try its utmost and use its newest (and hopefully best) rendering engine. So, you have a good chance that your generated content will show up. However, some other stuff may break, because you may have coded against an IE7 rendering quirk.

Using the "edge" setting, has some advantages, but also some uncertainties and you may not want to be confronted with these by a client on a Friday afternoon when your buddies wait at the door to go to the pub.

So, again, what is it really about?

The fuss seems like a huge storm and people should me think it over for some time. Wait until after the weekend.

To me it says that when IE8 is upon us and I create another website and I want to use the newer, better IE8 rendering engine I need to put in that X-UA-Compatible meta tag. Meaning I will have to test my site against IE8, IE7 and possible IE6 and all the other browsers I mentioned before. In all other situations I can just leave out the tag and test thoroughly against IE7 and only superficially in IE8, just to see if Microsoft lives up to its promise.

So, where do I stand?

At this moment I think that there will be very limited occasions where I would want to use the X-UA-Compatible meta tag. It also feels a bit too non-standard, too alien. In some very special situations one would want to use, but these will be extremely rare. As far as I can see now.

Let's get back to the work that's in my to do list.

And now Håkon Wium Lie (CTO of Opera Software) has tossed his dime into the discussion.

Be sure to read the comments on this post. I hope that it shows clearly that I am not happy with the default behaviour of IE when the X-UA-Compatible meta tag is omitted. But it also explains that I expect never to use the blistering tag anyhow!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Food for thought

.. and lots of disucussions

Today A List Apart published issue 251 which contains two articles that already shock the readers. According to the comments.

Aaron Gustafson and Eric Meyer bring on a new look at browsers and how they should handle sites now and in the future. It's a whole new approach and one that has me still in state of "What?!" and I know I will have to read these articles again and yet again to maybe understand their impact.

Head on over there!

Read the articles again and again. This could be important. No, this is important. One way or the other.

It could be very important day today and then again maybe not.


I couldn't resist and have submitted a comment on A List Apart. Someone said: "it seems a sad day for web development". Well, I don't know abou that, but "it is a confusing day for web development"

it is a confusing day for web development

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fear mongering?

.. or the future?

Having been involved in information security in the past and in the present I have looked at things hackers (or rather crackers) can do to systems, this cames as no real surprise.

Hackers to Blame for Power Outages

This is nothing new in that it is only just possible to do these kind of things. It was something that was bound to happen some time. All public services or institutions should be aware that they can be a target for these types of criminals. If your services can be disrupted and that would harm you or your customers (and they will seek compensation from you!), then it is interesting for a cracker to blackmail you. When that time comes you better be prepared for that.

Banks and most financial institutions are already aware of this risk and have all kinds of security measures in place. Not just digital (firewalls and the like), but also physical (good locks and entrance badges) and more importantly they propagate awareness amongst their staff: the weakest link of the security chain. Social engineering almost always does the trick.

But not only the financial sector should have a defense in place: all utility firms should be ready. Apparently that is not the case.

But is the situation really that bad

However, I have my doubts about the press release. There is no real information. No specific events are mentioned. It creates fear amongst people, without real evidence.

Does the CIA want more money? That is the feeling I get from this news.

But then again, I do feel that there is a real risk for utility companies and that they really should prepare. They should put security measures in place. Or learn the hard way. If you don't build it, they will come!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Back again!

.. but I wish I wasn't!

Three weeks in the States was fun and relaxing. And now, already, I wish I was back there. Again at work, doing stuff that is not always that interesting and satisfying. It is hard. Life sucks.

Well, that is a bit too hard. Still, I am already making plans for returning to Indiana. Some pictures of the trip.

So what's up?

Well, you can now find some aggregated personal info on Spock. Yes and I do Twitter! And have a look at my shared news feeds / items in Google Reader.

Well, that's it for now.

And then this

If anyone cares to give me a spare Apple MacBook Air, I would not mind at all!