Archives For html5

LinkedIn’s New Mobile App

August 22, 2011

Yogesh, I believe, sent me a link to this interesting article about LinkedIn’s new mobile app. I haven’t personally used the app (although I am on LinkedIn), but the article paints an intriguing picture. Although the app was not written in HTML5, it does make use of HTML5 for better performance. They’ve also minimized the amount of data that must be transmitted back and forth between the app and the server, which is better not just for the end users (especially the international ones) but also for the server. Speaking of which, the LinkedIn mobile team swapped out the Ruby on Rails-based server-side for one using the increasingly-popular Node.js (server-side JavaScript). If I read the article correctly, these changes allowed them to cut down from 15 servers with 15 virtual machines on each, to just four virtual machines.

My thanks to Yogesh for passing this along to me!

I’m doing a final round of research before I begin writing my forthcoming JavaScript book and I came across some pretty good resources that I thought I’d share. (Actually, this is more of a half-truth, because I’ve already started writing the book and I’ll no doubt continue doing research while writing the book, but this is my last “have I forgotten anything that I should cover?” review.)

I’ve been targeting JavaScript information, so it’s no surprise that Mozilla, keepers of the JavaScript flame, would have wonderful information about the language on their site. This includes the JavaScript reference materials (i.e., all the objects, methods, etc.), a JavaScript primer, and some good articles. But Mozilla’s developers pages also do a great job of discussing HTML and CSS. The Mozilla “Learn How To Make Websites” section is particularly useful, especially for beginning Web developers.

One of the links at Mozilla’s pages took me to the developer’s section of the Opera Web browser’s site. I would recommend reading Opera’s WebPlatform Docs, a series of 51 articles on Web development, from design, to HTML, to Accessibility, on through CSS, and JavaScript. Another 11 articles have been added covering HTML5.

If Mozilla and Opera have good developer resources, it seems only logical that other browsers would, too. What I’ve found, though, at Apple’s (Safari) and Microsoft’s (Internet Explorer) Web sites isn’t on the same level as what Mozilla and Opera offer. In short, the resources at Apple and Microsoft tend to be more specific to their browsers. But check out the references mentioned above, you’ll have more than enough reading to do for some time!

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HTML5 and CSS3 add useful and cool new features, but, as always, browser support is still an issue. If you want to develop sites using cutting edge options, while still being backwards-compatible, a great tool to use is Modernizr. The concept is simple (and brilliant): Modernizr identifies what features the user’s browser supports and adds corresponding classes to the opening HTML tag. In your CSS, you can then add styling to just those classes. The result is that browsers that support, say, @font-face or canvas, will get the stylized version, and browsers that don’t, won’t. Modernizr also creates a JavaScript object that represents the browser’s capabilities. This object could be used to customize your JavaScript accordingly, too. And Modernizr has IE-specific tools, that add HTML5-like functionality to that browser.

For good, quick introductions, see the Modernizr site, this article at A List Apart, and this article at Web Designer Notebook. Modernizr just came out in version 2 and is open source.

I just read an interesting article at the Chicago Tribune’s Web site (my home town paper) about using HTML5 for mobile app development. The Financial Times and ESPN just released new applications for mobile devices, but instead of creating standalone apps, they used HTML5 to make Web apps. HTML5 provides all the functionality the apps needed, such as content storage for offline reading, video support, and the ability to respond to touch and gestures. By creating a Web app, one application can reliably work on all the platforms, and the proceeds from the app do not have to be split with Apple or the Android store. The jury is still out as to whether it’s prudent to use HTML5 for a Web site, because of the ever-present issue of browser support, but mobile devices have current browsers built-in by default.

In no way am I suggesting that HTML5 is the only smart way to create mobile apps—there’s still plenty HTML5 can’t do, but this is an interesting turn of events that I, for one, didn’t see coming.