Echo – lazy-loading HTML5 images with data-* attributes via JavaScript

Echo  is quite handy for web developers.  On those pages that feature a lot of images, things can get slow and the server might get too much of an abuse (with more traffic thrown at it).  One way to work around this is to only load those images that are in the visible part of the screen.  Here is a demo of how it works.  Just keep scrolling down and notice how by default you have a blank.gif image shown, with a standard loading indicator and a split second later you see the actual image which was supposed to be in there.

Simple, easy, elegant – and that’s how I like it.

HTML5 splits into two standards

xkcd standards

Just when web developers got a little bit of hope, Slashdot reports on the bad news.

Until now the two standards bodies working on HTML5 (WHATWG and W3C ) have cooperated. An announcement by WHATWG makes it clear that this is no longer true. WHATWG is going to work on a living standard for HTML which will continue to evolve as more technologies are added. W3C is going the traditional and much more time consuming route of creating a traditional standard which WHATWG refers to as a ‘snapshot’ of their living standard. Of course now being free of W3C’s slower methods WHATWG can accelerate the pace of introducing new technologies to HTML5. Whatever happens, the future has just become more complicated — now you have to ask yourself ‘Which HTML5?’

Even if it sounds good, it is actually really bad.  HTML5 is already complicated enough, and all major browsers support a different subset of it, and even those things which are supported do differ in the way of how.  Splitting the standard just complicated things further.  The fact that this is not exactly new, doesn’t really matter.  Saying that it won’t be harmful, is silly.  As is the whole point of a “living standard”.  Like a few people mentioned in Slashdot comments, “living standard” is an oxymoron. The whole point of standard is to provide a static point of reference.  Splitting is not a solution to the problem.  It’s quite the opposite.  Consider this xkcd comics for illustration, which is nothing but the truth.

Parallax scrolling showcase

A colleague sent me this link to a collection of parallax scrolling website designs. Some of them are really awesome, especially considering the fact that they are implemented in HTML5 – no flash or other proprietary plugin required. I particularly liked how the car assembles and disassembles on the Smart USA website and how the glass of beer empties and refills on the Smokey Bones website. Unbelievable, creative, and inspirational!