What’s the best way to develop for a Web gone wild? That’s easy. Simply scrap the rules you’ve relied on all these years and embrace uncertainty as a core tenet of design. In this practical book, veteran developer Rob Larsen outlines the principles out what he calls The Uncertain Web, and shows you techniques necessary to successfully make the transition.
By combining web standards, progressive enhancement, an iterative approach to design and development, and a desire to question the status quo, your team can create sites and applications that will perform well in a wide range of present and future devices. This guide points the way.
Navigating thousands of browser/device/OS combinations
Focusing on optimal, not absolute solutions
Feature detection, Modernizr, and polyfills
RWD, mobile first, and progressive enhancement
UIs that work with multiple user input modes
Image optimization, SVG, and server-side options
The horribly complex world of web video
The Web we want to see in the future
Chapter 1Embracing Uncertainty
From Microsoft’s Monoculture to Today’s Healthy Chaos
Where We Are Right Now
Chapter 2Navigating the Uncertain Web
Don’t Blame the Web for Being the Web
Identify and Embrace Your Audience
Test and Pray for the Best
Focus on Optimal, Not Absolute Solutions
Lose Your Technology Biases
Lose Your Stack Biases
Keep at Least One Eye on the Cutting Edge
Spread Your Wings (and Question Your Assumptions)
Chapter 3Lay a Foundation for the Future with Feature Detection and Polyfills
“Frontend Development Done Right”
Chapter 4Selecting Responsive Design or Another Mobile Experience
Boston Globe’s RWD Redesign
Really? RWD for Every Site?
Mobile First, RESS, and the Rest of the Mobile Development Universe
Choosing a Development Path
Redirects Should Resolve Logically
Always Offer an Escape from the Mobile Version
Be Fluid and Design for Your Design
“Accepting the Ebb and Flow of Things”
Chapter 5Working with User Input
The State of User Input on the Web
What It Means to Get It Wrong
Design for a Spectrum of Potential User Inputs
Working with the Full User Input Spectrum
Assume Nothing and Accommodate Everyone
Chapter 6The Surprisingly Complex World of Images on the Web
While We Weren’t Paying Attention, Images Got Complicated
Optimizing Images for the Web
On the Server Side
A Practical Developers Guide to All of This Complexity
Chapter 7The Horribly Complex World of Web Video
The Core Technology
Letting the Pros Handle It
Make the Best of a Complicated Situation
Chapter 8The Web We Want
Things Can Get Better (But They Do Occasionally Get Worse)
The animal on the cover of The Uncertain Web is the Oriental flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis). This bottom-dwelling saltwater fish takes its name from the Old French word “gurnard,” meaning to grunt; this refers to a distinctive croaking sound it makes when taken out of the water, produced by a muscle that thumps against its swim bladder. Other names include sea robin and helmet gurnard, an allusion to its wide, square head.
Found in the Indo-Pacific region, from East Africa to Polynesia, Australia, and New Zealand, flying gurnard typically inhabit shallow waters, including estuaries, coastal bays, and sandy areas. Most measure between 20 and 40 centimeters (8 and 16 inches) in length, with a brownish-colored body that tapers from head to tail.
Its most remarkable feature is its massive rounded pectoral fins, which resemble wings. They are usually held against the body, but when threatened, the fish spreads them out to the side, causing it to appear much larger to its enemies. The fins are tinged with bright blue markings and sport dark spots that resemble eyes, which serve to further confuse potential predators such as sea breams and mackerel.
In spite of its name, the flying gurnard is not actually capable of flying. Rather, it uses its pelvic fins to “walk” along the ocean floor in search of food. Its diet includes bivalves, crustaceans, and small, bony fish.