Is Blink the new IE6?

Bruce Lawson

Is Blink the new IE6?

Bruce Lawson

bruce in front of 'HTML' sign

The Big Question

We all loved IE6 which gave us web monoculture. Are we repeating the same mistakes again with Blink?
great big disclaimer
graph showing Opera is 3rd largest committer to Blink after Google and Samsung


don't be a sock-puppet! We do a ton of stupid stuff all the time and need constructive criticism for Blink to be more awesome for everyone involved. Bring it on!
painting of roman debating chamber

Ancient history

tomsbtone 'Netscape RIP murdered by Internet Explorer'
roman bust of bearded man

Evil sysadmins

roman soldier with large wooden catapult machine

Enterprise software vendors

huge crowd at anti-war demo in London
IE6 no screenshot

But actually …

netscape 4.5 splash screen

Market leader

An open letter from WaSP

TWO YEARS AGO, when your market share was still high as a kite, you pledged to fully support five key standards in the next version of your browser…

At last you are talking about shipping product by the end of the year. Sounds great – except that it’s the wrong year.

Continuing to periodically “upgrade” your old browser while failing to address its basic flaws has made it appear that you still consider Navigator 4 viable. It is not.

…keeping your 4.0 browser on the market has forced developers to continue writing bad code in order to support it.

If you fail now, the web will essentially belong to a single company. And for once, nobody will be able to blame them for “competing unfairly.”

So please, for your own good, and the good of the web, deliver on your promises while Netscape 6 still has the chance to make a difference.
For the Good of the Web: An Open Letter to Netscape 20/7/2000
cover of 'The Cheeky Girl's' single 'Boys and Girls'
Betalemania screaming girls with IE6 poster
sailor giving IE6 a kiss

The critics loved it!

Internet Explorer 6 beta shows great promise
Tech Republic
IE6 kissing Rose on Titanic
Microsoft Internet Explorer offers few quirks and many superb features... After introducing IE-only layout features such as scrolling marquees and colored table borders in earlier versions, Microsoft is now committed to the standards set by the World Wide Web Consortium.
IE6 kissing Rose on Titanic

WaSP loved it!

IE6 for Windows delivers fine support for HTML 4, CSS-1, and other important W3C standards.
IE6 kissing Rose on Titanic

Everybody loved it!

I Love This Browser! I have loved browsing the web since I started way back in the mid 90s, and I really love browsing with IE.
Scott Stearns
Test Manager, IE
IE6 kissing Rose on Titanic

We loved

Hell is other browsers

renaissance picture of hell

Dark matter/ energy developers

pie-chart: 4% atoms, 26% dark matter, 68% dark energy
sistine chapel hand of god clicking iPhone

We were in danger of getting a webkit monopoly

PPK survey, Xmas 2011

Poll: Do you hope that webkit will become the only rendering engine and the others will disappear? yes: 32%
Presto Change-o

Vendor Prefixes

Presto Change-o

Vendor Prefix spec

Keywords and property names beginning with -' or '_' are reserved for vendor-specific extensions. For example, if XYZ organization added a property to describe the color of the border on the East side of the display, they might call it -xyz-border-east-color.

VWe all read specs, right?

Authors should avoid vendor-specific extensions.
CSS 2.1 spec

WebKit's rationale

hober: if it's used on the web, it's hard to argue that we should remove it and make those pages render worse.
Deprecating (web-facing) features and vendor prefixing (2012 WebKit Contributors' Meeting)

I'm an English literature graduate

Vendor prefixes are like skidmarks on the underwear of web standards: sometimes unavoidable, but best washed and rinsed out as soon as possible.
Bruce "Shakespeare" Lawson
We're all acutely aware of what happened with IE and don't want to see that happen again. All the work on de-prefixing for example came out discussions on that issue and the feedback from Opera in particular.
Ian Ellison-Taylor (@ianet), Google's Director of Web Platform
Vendor Prefixes can be harmful to compatibility because web content comes to rely upon these vendor-prefixed names. Going forward, instead of enabling a feature by default with a vendor prefix, we will instead keep the (unprefixed) feature behind the “enable experimental web platform features” flag in about:flags until the feature is ready to be enabled by default.
Blink's Mission

Removed by @foolip

  • -webkit-transform-2d, -webkit-animation and -webkit-view-mode media
  • MessageEvent.webkitInitMessageEvent()
  • <iframe webkitallowfullscreen>
  • webkitConvertPointFromPageToNode()
  • webkitConvertPointFromNodeToPage()
  • WheelEvent.initWebKitWheelEvent()
  • Removal reverted: video-specific fullscreen API
  • webkitMatchesSelector

    For legacy vendor-prefixed features, we will continue to use the -webkit- prefix because renaming all these prefixes to something else would cause developers unnecessary pain. We've started looking into real world usage of HTML5 and CSS3 features and hope to use data like this to better inform how we can responsibly deprecate prefixed properties and APIs.

    The Mobile Web should just work for everyone

    In Windows Phone 8.1 Update, we added a mapping of popular webkit-prefixed APIs to the standards based support already part of IE11.
    IEBlog, 31 July 2014

    Google's Director of Web Platform

    I was the Engineering Manager for Client Platforms at Microsoft in the early 2000s and in large part responsible for most of the engineering resource being pulled from IE\Trident. Oops :/

    The issue for Microsoft back then was that a successful web actually went against their business goals, to the tune of many $B. That's definitely not the case for Google, indeed it's the opposite, as a company we benefit when more people use the web so there's absolutely no conflict of interest.

    it's clear Microsoft is now on a very different path than when I was there and investing heavily in web stuff. Indeed they've become more open in the last 6 months than they've been in more than a decade which is great to see!

    we [Google] know that the reason the web as a platform is successful (vs native alternatives) is *because* there is no one company in charge, it's a defining characteristic and something we're unequivocally committed to.

    Google: conflict of interest?

    The Google Play Store mobile app revenue will catch up to Apple’s App Store in 2018 July 2014

    Projected $9bn/ pa (2013: total Google revenue $55.5bn)

    Ian again:

    Play revenue has never come up with us and the guidance we've always gotten from Larry, from Sundar and every senior exec here is to just go make the web better. Perhaps it's because we make so much more money off search and ads? Dunno.

    Opera's perspective

    We have an App business but ultimately we want the web to win.

    We're the only browser maker that isn't trying to sell you a mobile OS or a locked-down device.

    Blink's 2014 goals

    Web usage continues to shift from desktop to mobile. Yet the mobile web remains far from reaching its potential -- in part because web engines (e.g. Blink) are not nearly as good on performance-constrained devices as they need to be. To be successful on mobile, Blink must exit 2014 much more mobile-awesome.
    Eric Seidel- Blink engineering lead
    celebration cake

    The webkit vs Blink analysis

    the Blink project has been more focused on next-gen webapps with a heavy focus on the compositor, scheduling, and style subsystems. The WebKit project has been more focused on documents and improving existing pages with faster line layout and style selection
    A high-profile fork: one year of Blink and Webkit

    CSS Regions

    CSS Regions

    I have come to understand that Regions both does not play well with existing performance optimizations [and] impedes ongoing simplification and optimization work to our core rendering code
    Eric Siedel


    CSS Regions Considered Harmful - Håkon Wium Lie

    From Opera's side we agree with the prioritization of performance optimizations in Blink, and we'd be happy to help identify issues and improve that aspect of the Regions code.
    Lars Erik Bolstad
    It's fair to say we kinda screwed up with the Regions work with Adobe. We do want Blink to be 'true' open source and indeed take major contributions from outside Google. The issue with Regions was that we were supportive of the feature in principle but once the patches started to land we realized how much it was going to conflict with other work going on in Blink. We had to mediate and unfortunately picked the mobile apps performance work over Regions.
    Hopefully Regions will land still but perhaps with a different, more complementary, implementation. Anyway, we learned an important lesson and since have tried to improve our processes to ensure that implementation conflicts don't happen with the whole "Intent to..." process… I think it's fair to say we're still learning here though and would encourage more feedback on how we can be more open.

    My initial hopes for Blink

    I also hope that it’s easier for smaller players and even individuals to contribute to the new rendering engine, with a more transparent gatekeeping process: “Our goal is for anyone to be able to participate, regardless of organizational affiliation.”
    Hello Blink 3 April 2013

    8 Dec 2011: my strawman

    <picture alt="angry pirate">
    <source src=hires.png media="min-width:800px">
    <source src=midres.png media="network-speed:3g">
    <source src=lores.png>
       <!-- fallback for browsers without support -->
       <img src=midres.png alt="angry pirate"> 

    <picture> element

    the RICG’s main contribution to the web platform wasn’t picture, srcset, or sizes… To get them done we had to punch a hole through the thick technical, cultural, and institutional walls that separate the people who make browsers from the people who make websites.

    Crowd FUNding

    Bridging gaps is, of course, significantly easier when you’re able to crowdfund a Renaissance-man like Yoav [Weiss] who can contribute meaningfully at every level.
    Matt Marquis (@wilto)

    Why <picture> not <pic> ?

    Robin says 'it's only 8 bytes extta'. Batman slaps him sayig 'Perf matters!'
    6 pitchers of beer on a bar

    Is Blink the new IE6?

    Is monopoly bad?

    only 12.2% of the Fortune 500 companies in 1955 were still on the list … in 2014, and almost 88% of the companies from 1955 have either gone bankrupt, merged, or still exist but have fallen from the top Fortune 500 companies… Most of the companies on the list in 1955 are unrecognizable, forgotten companies today.
    American Enterprise Institute

    Is Google a monopoly?

    Google is bent on establishing platform domination unlike anything we've ever seen, even from late-1990s Microsoft. Google controls Android, which is winning; Chrome, which is winning; and key Web properties in Search, Youtube, Gmail and Docs, which are all winning.
    Choose Firefox Now, Or Later You Won't Get A Choice - Robert O'Callahan (Mozilla hacker)

    Is Blink a monopoly?

    The existential threat

    For HTML5, it was Rich Internet Applications:

    A lot of the work started because we were really scared of Silverlight.
    Ian Hickson, 25 Sept 2008

    Today, it's native apps.

    July 2011-12: US Mobile Web users up 82% from 52,435,000 to 95,176,000

    Numbers from Nielsen State of the Media: the social media report 2012.

    July 2011-12: US Mobile App users up 85% from 55,001,000 to 101,802,000

    July 2011-12: Time spent using Mobile Web up 22% .

    (PC use up 4%, although number of unique users down 4% from 213,253,000 to 204,721,000.

    July 2011-12: Time spent using Mobile Apps up 120% .

    It's an App World.
    The Web Just Lives in It

    Today, the U.S. consumer spends an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes per day on smartphones and tablets. 80% of that time (2 hours and 7 minutes) is spent inside apps and 20% (31 minutes) is spent on the mobile web. April, 2013
    breakdown of time spent: 80% apps, 20% browser (Safari 12%, Android 4%, Opera Mini 2%)
    2013: 80% to 20% split between apps and web; 2014: 86% to 14%
    mind the gap
    Page not found error message page
    Service Workers

    Service Workers CheatSheet

    cutaway diagram of Apollo lunar module
    cartoon walrus in front of lunar module
    cartoon leg with lampshade on top, next to walrus and lunar module
      ("/*", "/assets/v1/ctrl.js").then(
        function(serviceWorker) {
    		  // call window.location.reload()
    	  function(why) {
    	    console.error("failed!:", why);
    browser shows nothing when not connected to web
    browser shows site when connected to web worker, even though not connected to web

    There's an app API for that

    phonegap diagram and picture of Brian LeRoux

    App store discoverability

    Device APIs not so much anymore, now that many/most of what is needed is now there or soon to be. (Especially so with WebRTC.)

    App Stores for discovery is big.

    Brian "Bobbles Bon-Bon" LeRoux, PhoneGap


    I don't buy the monetization story, because if I did, that means I endorse $1 business models based on manufactured scarcity. ;P
    Bobbles Bon-Bon

    …but for Web Payments see


    Push Notifications for the engagement part of the story.
    "Bobbles Bon-Bon"
    mind the gap


    User Experience Stack Exchange: Any Research on User Experience Perceptions of Native Apps vs Web or Hybrid Apps?

    Scott Jenson

    screeshot of in Chrome for Android with Chrome for Android's menu exposed
    ... scroll down the menu and see 'Add to homescreen' option
    Android home screen with icon on it
    Choosing icon starts with no browser chrome

    Bookmarking = installing

    <meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes"> (see Chrome docs)

    <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes"> (Apple docs)

    Web Manifest - Mozilla's Marvellous Mr Marcos' magical manifest


    W3C: Enabling new types of web user experiences

    W3C Widgets

    a packaging format and metadata for … full-fledged client-side applications that are authored using technologies such as HTML and then packaged for distribution. Examples range from simple clocks … to complex applications that pull data from multiple sources
    W3C Widgets spec
    old woodcut of woman throwing baby out with bathwater
    photo of scary Stephen King clown staring out from a postbox slot

    Attwood's Law

    Any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript.
    The Principle of Least Power - Jeff Attwood

    Lawson's Law

    Just because you can vomit a DOM out of JavaScript doesn't mean you have to.
    Me, yesterday

    Holy Grail App

    we've launched our first Holy Grail app into production! … It looks exactly the same as the app it replaced, however initial pageload feels drastically quicker because we serve up real HTML instead of waiting for the client to download JavaScript before rendering.

    Holy Grail App #2

    Plus, it is fully crawlable by search engines. … It feels 5x faster.
    screenshot of

    Stop emulating failure

    advert: photo of phone with QR code and text 'scan to download timetables in PDF format

    What the web needs


    Image acknowledgments