Instead of springing some wild new design out of nowhere I’m posting and giving fair warning first. Well I do want to do that, but there’s a decent chance I’m going to break the design somehow in the process. There are a few reasons:

I have no clue what the hell I’m doing

I know some things, but not enough. I’ve read a bunch of things about what I want to do, but mostly just skimming and seeing why the internet sucks. Most of this has to do with Internet Explorer, but the iPhone is a problem here too.

The internet sucks

Just expanding on above. I want to replace the cufón stuff (Javascript) with a pure CSS solution (@font-face). IE has supported it, for a long time even…but only with some format no one else supports (of course). The rest of the major browsers support standard TrueType fonts…except the iPhone. At least there’s a solution there, Scalable Vector Graphics. To make this work everywhere I need Embedded OpenType for IE, TrueType for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, and SVG for the iPhone1.

Not everyone uses WebKit

Firefox is close enough that I usually don’t have to worry about it, but stuff happens so I generally check it out just in case. IE is just a mess, I don’t really check it for compatibility as much as I do for the laughs. Opera is insignificant enough that I don’t really care, but I figure they develop fast enough that they’ll fix any issues on their own. It’s the plucky browser that sticks around cause it fills a niche, but it’s no iCab2.

At this point I could point out the benefits of Flash, how it’s a nearly universal platform3 for content and renders consistently, but I won’t. It runs like ass on a Mac, I and many others actively block it, it can pose stability issues and is a vector for malware4. Other than stuff it’s not too bad, it’s more that it’s overused.

It was understandable for video (that is changing faster than I had expected5), and I expect it to still be in use for a while for complex stuff like games and a bunch of…interactive things. A whole bunch of crap is possible with pure HTML/CSS/JS, there’s just no development environment for that particular content that’s equivalent to Flash. Sure would be nice if Adobe had a web design app that could do all that, but it’s not like they have the talent to do incredible insanely complex stuff automagically. Nothing like Flash to pure web standard code or anything. That’d be as crazy as converting Flash to native iPhone code!

Too bad they’re clutching onto Flash for dear life. The Macromedia purchase from oh so long ago was the best yet worst thing they’ve ever done. Adobe apps generally used to be pretty good, while Macromedia kind of sucked ass. It feels like they let everything go to hell while successfully pushing Flash as it’s own platform (it’s universal!…as long as Adobe chooses to be there!), luckily the mobile space and Apple appear to have put a bit of a kink in that plan. Even the old stalwart Microsoft, who tends to be the problem in designing for the web, is doing something about it. Silverlight kind of screws things up in terms of ubiquity of course (which demonstrates how proprietary plugins are bad I guess), but other than that they have joined the HTML5 video camp (which is it’s own war6) for the upcoming IE9.

I’m hoping Creative Suite 57 is a sign that Adobe is getting back to being cool again. If all goes well in the next few years Flash will lose enough support to the point that Adobe realizes they can capitalize big time on web authoring, well more so than they do now that is. If they don’t do it eventually someone will beat them to the punch, and if they’re good, Adobe may finally realize that they’ve been a big screwup.

Then they’ll just buy the app or company. Maybe even start on a cycle to getting non sucky!

So what I meant to say, before I got on the Flash derail is this:

Everything should use WebKit, the hell with anything else

Am I saying this as an obviously biased Apple fanboy? Partially, but not entirely. Anyone can use WebKit, everyone can use WebKit8. It’s not some Apple only thing (like FairPlay DRM), it’s open for all to use and contribute to. Google uses it for Chrome. Most anything mobile with a decent browsing experience is using it. Even IE can use it with the help of Chrome Frame. Even iCab uses it!

Web standards are great…if the browsers support them. If you could standardize on a renderer that got them right it would be a huge deal. If everyone could contribute (including the many talented people working at Mozilla, MS, and Opera, among others) to the same project…isn’t that what the open source nerds want? All these minds working together towards a single goal, code open for all to contribute to and see, beneficial for all. I guess I’m not really saying it as a biased fanboy after all.

Well I’m not saying it as an altruistic person or anything either, I just want web designing and consuming to not suck.

I had planned to write about some other stuff, but I guess I can keep a few surprises up my sleeve still. One more bitch about CSS @font-face though, I’ll probably lose the nice subtle gradient that was possible with cufón.

Except in WebKit possibly.
See? It is the best!

  1. Credit to this place for the info…hopefully it’s all correct and up to date.
  2. It’s still around! At the same address, they even have an iPhone app!
  3. Nearly universal…on the desktop. Unless you’re on Linux, then you’re somewhat boned I guess.
  4. Everything is a possible vector of course, the problem with Flash is that only Adobe can fix it. This has led to workarounds by the other software vendors like plugin sandboxing. They want hardware access for acceleration…but I wouldn’t trust Adobe with that stuff these days.
  5. Brightcove rocks, and a lot of video sites have had HTML5 video for a while now.
  6. And by war I mean a slaughter, Ogg Theora is dead in the water. Give up on it Mozilla, no one will give a damn about random media files on Wikipedia if they can’t see stupid crap on YouTube. If people cared about open formats we’d have been using Oggs instead of MP3s…and yeah I’m sure there are still some nerds that don’t buy iPods because it won’t play their Ogg collection. All two of them.
  7. Preemptive link to CS5 on Amazon. It’ll show up when it shows up, it’s just showing CS4 stuff for now.
  8. Well Mozilla too probably, but that crap is probably the kludgiest kludge that ever kludged. Apple stayed away for a reason.