SitePoint Podcast #163: Man Down

Episode 163 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of 3 of our 4 our regular hosts, Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy), Kevin Dees (@kevindees) and Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves).

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Episode Summary

The panel discuss Google’s Chrome briefly taking the number one browser spot, Youtube’s 7th birthday, the thoughts on different possible responsive image standards HTML5 could use and more.

Here are the main topics covered in this episode:

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/163.

Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Patrick: Hello and welcome to another edition of the SitePoint Podcast, my name is Patrick O’Keefe and I am filling in today for our usual lead host, Louis Simoneau; kind of an impromptu, unplanned role change as we just found out that Louis was in a bit of a car accident. He was hit by a car on a bicycle of some kind and he fractured both of his arms; he’s alright, but yeah, it’s a little bad news there, and I’m just going to read tweets I received literally minutes ago because he said he fractured both arms and I asked him, I said I’m looking at tweets, I said it looks like you got hit by a car, were you on a bike? And he said, “Yeah, bleep driver wanted that parking spot too badly to bother checking his mirrors and blind spot; fell off and landed on my hands, wrists fine, WTF, but small fractures near my elbow, so they’re pretty much immobilized.” So, Louis is on the mend, and yeah, we hope he heals quickly.

Stephan: Yeah, get better soon, Louis.

Patrick: Yeah, and if you want to wish Louis well you can leave a comment in the comments at sitepoint.com/podcast, or hit him on Twitter @rssaddict. He seems even with his arms immobilized he’s able to tweet a little bit, so I’m sure he’d appreciate the well wishes.

Other than that, news, which is terrible news, how are you guys doing?

Kevin: I’m doing well, my arms are fine (laughter).

Patrick: Your arms are fine. You know it’s those things you don’t fully appreciate until you break them.

Kevin: Right.

Patrick: And I’ve been lucky I haven’t broken any bones in my life.

Kevin: Knock on wood, Patrick, quickly.

Patrick: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So, yeah, even with Louis out the show, well, I guess it must go on, so we’re going to talk about some news stories and have our usual back and forth. Stephan why don’t you get us started.

Stephan: Okay, well, the first story is on The Verge, theverge.com, it is about Chrome overtaking Internet Explorer as the most popular browser in the world. Now I know a bunch of people, a bunch of listeners, are going woo-hoo! in their cars or wherever they’re listening to this, but the truth of the matter is it was only for a week, and looking at the Statcounter graphs it is back to IE being on top this week so far. So it was for the week of May14th through 20th, and Chrome as a worldwide average overtook Internet Explorer as the most used browser, but that wasn’t necessarily the case in the United States, North America I should say; Internet Explorer still had a large lead, and in Europe it’s really where Chrome has taken off. So it’s kind of an interesting story, as we keep going, as people keep getting used to the idea of Chrome as a browser I think we’re going to see this graph change even more, maybe over the next six months we’ll start seeing even more of a change; what do you guys think?

Patrick: Yeah, I mean this is massive but it’s not massive for any reason that I care about, like I’m not rooting against IE or for Chrome; I own stock in Microsoft, not that IE is a big deal to me or whatever, I don’t really care, but it’s massive because of how long IE has held the mantle, right, even in decline over a period of years it’s still number one. And I actually pulled up the Wikipedia page for usage share of web browser, and there are some kind of sketchy numbers prior to Statcounter and some others, and it’s based on obviously a lot of the counter sites, but the first emergence that they have on this page of IE taking the lead is fourth quarter of 1998. The record is EWS web server at UIUC, and that sounds like a school, I didn’t look it up, but at that point Internet Explorer finally surged ahead of Netscape Navigator to take 50.43% of the market with Netscape Navigator having 46.87. Prior to that, for a couple years prior to that, the first recorded date on here is ’96, Netscape Navigator was in the lead, and as far as I can tell from that point, from the fourth quarter of 1998 give or take, IE never relinquished the crown of being the number one most used browser in the world. So that’s 1998, we’re in 2012, that’s almost 14 years, about thirteen and a half years have passed with IE at the lead. First of all that’s a big accomplishment, right, everyone has to fall eventually, but still, to have any kind of shift of the guard at the number one spot is news.

Kevin: Yeah.

Stephan: And look at the graph, you know, IE has kind of been on a steady decline while Chrome has been on this steady uphill slope, and so while the others kind of stay, all the other browsers, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and the general category other, have all kind of stayed flat I would say. So I think it’s interesting, those two are crossing paths and the others are kind of staying — not doing much, they’re not growing, they’re not shrinking, they’re just kind of staying there.

Patrick: Yeah. Go ahead Kevin.

Kevin: I was going to say it would be interesting to see which version of Internet Explorer is dying out because when I look at the sites I work on and I see Internet Explorer 9 kind of creeping up past 8 now, and so it would be nice to see those stats because people using 8, if they’re using XP, right, can upgrade to 9, so perhaps that’s where Chrome’s kind of taking the chunk out is in the old-school Windows users.

Stephan: Yeah, could be, yeah, it would be nice to see a breakdown.

Patrick: Yeah. You know, you mentioned that IE peaked back up this week, they picked up to a 32.59% with Chrome falling to 31.96, so that was only for a week but, again, something changed. And one of the stories here for me — oh, before I mention that I did want to mention that in North America, as mentioned by The Verge here, IE still has a pretty good lead. So a lot of Chrome’s, you know, where they made their biggest mark percentage point-wise has been outside of the U.S., outside of North America in Europe, and so forth.

But one of the stories that pops to mind when I see this is that Firefox was not the one to do it, where there was a time when a lot of people would be saying, well, IE is going to fall and Mozilla, Firefox, they are going to be the ones to do it, they are going to be the ones that slay IE and take that number one spot. But they never could get close enough, and when Google launched Chrome it was just — it’s kind of amazing how fast Chrome has grown and how steadily they’ve grown; with a few exceptions here and there it’s a steady rise just up and up and up, and they’ve done something that since 1998 no one has been able to do, and they haven’t even been trying all that long compared to some others.

Kevin: Yeah, I think really one of the only things Chrome really has going for it is the install of Chrome on the Google homepage. I’m not saying that has everything to do with it, but I imagine that has a lot to do with this number.

Patrick: That’s a big deal. Yeah, and I’m looking at the Chrome Wikipedia page, and it launched in beta on September 2, 2008, and the first public stable release was December 11, 2008, so it’s taken from beta about three years and eight or nine months or so; so that’s not a weekend certainly, but like I said, it’s been a really steady rise for them, so I guess Google they have to be ecstatic over there, and also it shows it doesn’t matter who you are, when Google gets in your space, if you’re Microsoft, it’s not a good thing.

Kevin: So would you really say that Microsoft’s space is the Web though?

Patrick: Well, I’m talking about browser, right, not necessarily the Web, but the web browser, so that’s kind of my — that’s kind of what I’m going for.

Kevin: The software side of things.

Patrick: Yeah, and to look at it from just as long as the Statcounter global stats can go; they start in July of 2008, so the latest month one is May of 2012, so at the end of May Chrome hadn’t taken the lead I don’t believe. But when it started, July 2008, IE had 6.57%, okay, Firefox had 26.24, Opera had 1.78, Safari had 3.3, you know, Chrome did not exist at that point, right. Chrome launched in September, we have the number here, September Chrome had 1% in September of 2008 right away. And ever since then they have gone from 1% up to the end of — at the end of 2009 they had 5.45, end of 2010 they had 14.85, so they gained 10% in a year, and then they even went bigger than that the next year, 2011 they gained 13% to go to 27.27%, and now at 32.28. Meanwhile in that same time span IE’s fallen from 68.57 all the way down to 32.44, so their percentage has been more than halved from what they had in 2008.

And as you kind of mentioned, everyone else in that time has kind of stayed the same; Firefox was 26.14, they got as high as about 32%, now they’re down to 25.38, lower than they were about four years ago. Opera is at almost the same exact level it was four years ago, I don’t know what that says for Opera. Safari has gained 3.3 to 7.13, so they’ve actually gained about a little under 4%, but it’s clear that Google has just eaten at everybody except for Safari, Safari’s gained, but other than that Google Chrome has eaten at everybody else’s market share.

Kevin: Yeah, so it’s interesting to see the browsers like have this battle, and then on the other side of that, right, you have the spec that they have to implement and how that’s kind of played into those numbers, right, because obviously as more browser specs support more standard specifications they’re going to get more share because developers and IT people are going to push that platform.

And one of the things that happens in all of this mix is new standards that come out, and I know this is really a terrible segue, trying to make something out of nothing, but I want to talk today about the responsive design side of images. And there has been this really big like push in figuring out how to get images to fit the platform that you’re using, so if you’re using a desktop platform how to get an appropriate image on that because of, say, better bandwidth on a desktop than on a mobile phone. And also when you think about the retina display, right, you have twice the pixel density, so there needs to be a good way of pushing the right image to the right platform, and there really hasn’t been a great solution for that. You’ve seen things like server side scripts and maybe some JavaScript caching that will figure all that stuff out for you, but at the end of the day that’s not the best solution, you really need something that’d be implemented in the spec that can end up in these browsers to really help developers create better websites, specifically on the responsive side of things.

And so there has been a few proposed recommendations, and this comes from Jeremy Keith’s blog, and he kind of goes in and talks about the current situation on that front. And there have basically been two suggestion, or implementations, that have been recommended and people have talked about, one of them being a new element called picture, and the other being a new attribute for the image tag called source set. Source set basically allows you to add comma delimited paths and kind of like a media query dimension in like specific sets, so you can say if your image is 800 pixels wide then give this image, if it’s 600 pixels wide give this image, and you always have the fallback image which is the normal source, so you’re not replacing the standard image tag.

Now there’s been some debate, right, over this whole situation because if you think to video, you have the video tag which can encapsulate an object like a YouTube video, so you can kind of just find your sources and then if you don’t support the video tag you get the standard video object, and so that was the first recommendation that a bunch of people had talked about using. However, there’s been some miscommunication on where this all ended up and how it got here, and so Jeremy really breaks down in pretty good detail some of the misconceptions and rumors around it, and kind of his own thoughts on it.

Now the picture tag doesn’t look like it’s going to be coming through, so I want to focus in on the source set. So what’s source set? And the issue really behind that that you need to be aware of is that it doesn’t really let you define whether you want to use min or max width or height, or whatever it is, and it’s not really straightforward like how you would implement that because of that, right, so with min width you’re going to be implementing a mobile first approach, but if you want to use max width you’d be going for the desktop first approach. And currently, from what I understand from this article, is that it’s set at max width, right, so this kind of disables you from creating a mobile first and using a mobile first approach in your development process with this new recommendation. So you can see how the controversy around this is kind of boiling up.

So if you zip on over to the article you can read more on it, but it just goes to show that things are moving forward on the image front, and hopefully something good will come out of this, some way of maybe defining min/max width; I’d like to see something tangible come out of this because it’s been a real pain point when creating responsive sites because you have to deal with the different bandwidth and the different sizes.

Do you guys have any opinions on this subject?

Stephan: No real opinions, I think the politics behind it are kind of interesting in what people want. I really wonder do you think there’s a solution that’s going to appease everybody or is it just going to be something that people are going to have to suck up and just go with what they’re given?

Kevin: Yeah, I don’t know, it’s going to be an interesting situation, right, because if you think about the WebKit thing going on right now where Opera’s using WebKit prefixes, right, so that was sort of a browser implemented something and then people just went with that because it was available, and so I think the same thing is going to happen with this is somebody’s going to come down to it and just say hey we’re just going to do one of these, and people are going to say hey it’s not the best solution but it works and it gets us through today so we’re going to use it, and then you’re going to kind of see that tumble into all the other browsers. At least that’s what I see, like the current situation of how standards are being run right now in the craziness that is the Web, I mean that’s not very encouraging I know, but it’s kind of like the state of things and how things are playing out. I think it’ll have a little bit of refinement, I mean it’s still the draft stuff, so it’s not like it’s the recommendation, I mean that stuff takes a while. But, you know, if you don’t think this is a good thing, I mean go talk to somebody, they have groups that you can go and join and talk about it, so.

Patrick: Support groups.

Kevin: Right, yeah.

Patrick: Web standards anonymous.

Kevin: Yep, you can go cry on somebody’s shoulder in the room, you know.

Patrick: My name is Kevin Dees and I am a web standardist, no.

Kevin: A web standardista. Anyway, so yeah, I’m happy to see there is some movement on the front, right, because it would be terrible if they just kind of say, oh, responsive images, who cares about that, you know. So anyways, it’s an interesting thing and something to keep your eye on.

Patrick: Well, uh, changing gears completely, I have a blog post from YouTube, youtube-global-blogspot.com is the blog, and YouTube celebrated seven years on the Web, happy birthday YouTube, this was May 20th on Sunday. And on this birthday they revealed that at this point the YouTube community is uploading 72 hours of video every single minute, so every single minute three days worth of video is uploaded into YouTube. And to put this in context, last year on their birthday they hit 48 hours of video every minute, two days, so in a period of a year they added a whole extra day of video every single minute. And back in November of 2010 they were at 35 hours a minute, so in about a year and six months they doubled that, more than doubled it, to 72 hours a minute. And to me it’s not fathomable to think about the amount of content that is on YouTube, it’s crazy.

Kevin: Yeah, I know, it’s like how can you store — I mean because at some point you’re going to run out of storage space at that kind of rate.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean I don’t have 72 hours of video on my hard drive right now probably if I totaled it all up, like I don’t have that much video content, including my speaking engagements and other things, on my hard drive, yet they get it every minute.

Stephan: It’s crazy.

Kevin: Yeah, I know, it’s like how do you monetize something like that, right, because the cost would be so high I don’t even see how they do what they do, I mean it’s definitely a valuable asset, but man, that’s just crazy.

Patrick: Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing Google owns it (laughter), because if there are any server wizards out there it’s probably good that you are with Google for this sort of extremely high bandwidth thing. And I mean they tackle — it must be interesting to tackle the challenges they have to tackle over there, you know, servers and infrastructure and bandwidth, and also optimizing their own website, and optimizing the video player. And if they get this little bit better performance you scale it across 80, eleventy billion infinite number of videos, and how much that saves them to optimize just a little bit.

Kevin: I know.

Patrick: It’s pretty crazy.

Kevin: It is; like even if you just save a second of like out of every minute processing time, I mean for every — I mean these are just minutes uploaded, too, right, so this isn’t like played, is it?

Patrick: No, this is content uploaded, played is, yeah, I don’t even know what that’s going to be; that’s going to be like seven years in one minute.

Kevin: It really is unfathomable, I mean when you think about that; I feel sorry for the server admins on that side of things. You’d think at some point they’d have to start deleting content.

Patrick: Well, they do, it’s called the DMCA program, no (laughs), I’m just kidding.

Kevin: Flag videos unnecessarily just so they can delete it.

Patrick: Well, when they need to find it they just go to content ID and say, oh, well these obviously all have Beastie Boys songs, so click, click, no.

Kevin: So have you ever contributed to the YouTube?

Patrick: Yes and no. I mean I’ve uploaded a few videos here and there, I have a page for my speaking engagements, I have a page for Bad Boy Blog, the blog where I write about Bad Boy Records, we have some interviews up there and some other content. I actually want to do some video stuff this summer, but I’m not too, too heavy into it at this time. But I was going to say part of it is — part of what they can do and how they can make money from it is in that archive content too, though, right, because it’s those especially the most popular videos, and consequentially the videos that are probably costing the most money are the ones that get watched the most. But those are the ones that are also making the most money through advertising and through other means, and you know the most popular YouTubers and their videos, you know, everything from Charlie Bit My Finger is a famous video that got passed around, to just all the different videos, and a lot of them originate from YouTube, and in a way some would consider it’s sort of their history of using the Web, right, over the past seven years, and how many things, how many memorable things that they consumed that came out of YouTube, so keeping that stuff online is a part of what I think what makes them a sustainable operation long-term.

Stephan: Ah, happy birthday YouTube.

Patrick: One last newsy sort of story I found on Smashing Magazine, and it is the free Zocial button set, I’m guessing that’s how it’s supposed to be pronounced, it’s with a Z, z-o-c-i-a-l, so social with a z instead of an s. and these are social CSS3 buttons, so this is a button set that is 100% Vector CSS3, right, they have 72 services that are supported by it, icon versions, button versions, so I mean it sounds a little complicated. The simple way is the social media button that we see on other websites, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, all that stuff. You know, you get all of these different graphics that can be different sizes its tough to match them up, and of course they’re all images; this is all in CSS3. It looks very uniform, very clean, very neat; you can add text to it, you can customize the text, and again it has the benefit of being completely Vector CSS3, and with graceful degradation to older browsers, according to this blog post.

And if you look at the preview for it these buttons are I think — I don’t know what word Stephan used, it wasn’t ‘beautiful’ but they’re definitely attractive.

Stephan: They’re pretty awesome.

Patrick: Yeah, and maybe we can talk a little bit about what we talked about it before the show.

Stephan: I was just looking at the source for this thing and it’s just cool to see the CSS source for it. I’m not a big CSS guy, but going in and looking at this it is impressive just the code that was written to get the gradients and things, and to line them up correctly and make them look like real buttons is pretty darn cool.

Kevin: Yeah, I have to agree, like just looking this source I think you can take so much away from it. I see it looks like they have some base 64 going on in here, I don’t know if that’s what some of the code generates or if they actually base 64 and coded some of the icons, but like when you look at the source there really aren’t any images.

Stephan: Yeah, it’s crazy!

Patrick: It’s mind-blowing.

Kevin: The things you have to do, right, the things you used to have to do just to get rounded corners, right, so if you want an ever-expanding box you had to have like four images, or you had to know like how to make a really, really, really big image and make it a really small amount of like bytes so you could expand it, just for rounded corners, right. And now we have the Android icon as code, like, no images, like what is this?

Patrick: Yeah, and they’ve hit all of the icons, not all, right, because you’d never get all, but like it’s hard to think of a popular one that they don’t have in here; all the ones that you’d think of they already have created. And, yeah, you can have words, you can have simple buttons, it’s just very, very slick, and if someone creates a WordPress plugin, if they haven’t already, that integrates these as a social button, I might be tempted to, uh —

Kevin: Yeah, I don’t know if these are going to work in Internet Explorer, but nobody expects anything to work in Internet Explorer, so.

Patrick: I have Internet Explorer; I can just check it right now.

Kevin: I guess it doesn’t really matter if icons work in Internet Explorer, right, because you just say graceful degradation.

Patrick: Yeah, they work good in Internet Explorer. One thing they don’t have, at least in Internet Explorer 9, they don’t have the little mouse-over effect and that little shiny thing that happens when you mouse-over it in say Firefox that I was in, it’s just the buttons and they’re just kind of the flat versions of the button; they still look great but they just don’t have that mouse-over effect.

Stephan: I’m going to try to use a couple of these tonight, I got a site that I can use some of these on, so we shall see how that goes.

Patrick: Yeah, these are very cool, and they were created or at least hosted by Sam Collins @smcllns on Twitter, so great job Sam.

Kevin: Very cool, it’s a great find Patrick.

Patrick: Thank you, sir. And what that said, I think we should go around the table and do our host spotlights; who’d like to go first?

Kevin: I can go first. So my host spotlight is called WorkFu, if you don’t know what it is you need to check it out, it’s about finding talent, it’s kind of a job board but it integrates Twitter and LinkedIn and a few other things, and you can really put things together. And basically if you know what Clout is this reminds me of Clout except it’s for finding talent and finding the job that fits you; it’s sort of like the LinkedIn for web people right now, so it’s pretty cool. And I imagine this is going to be more than just web people, but obviously that’s kind of the space that takes off first in a lot of these social network-like things.

Patrick: Very cool. Yeah, I just connected my Twitter account, and you know what, the username Patrick is available so I might just have to lock that down; whenever you can find your first name it’s a good deal.

Stephan, what do you got?

Stephan: So I just was reading through Twitter today and came across the preview page for Coda2 which is the editor/FTP client/whatever you want to call it from the Panic Group, and it is going to be coming out May 24th, so that is —

Kevin: Yay.

Stephan: — the podcast is released on Friday probably, or Saturday, after it’s released, and it looks pretty awesome, they have a video tour and a couple of features, it’s got code folding which is they say ‘finally’ on their website and I agree with them 100%. And they have this thing where you can browse the folder that you’re in, or if you’re on a file you can browse the folders that are around that file to see other files related to it, just some really neat features. And it’s got a built-in MySQL letter that’s just getting better, so I think it’s going to be a paid upgrade for current users.

Kevin: Definitely.

Stephan: And I think they said on the 24th they’re going to have a 50% off code for 24 hours, I don’t know if the show will be out in time.

Kevin: Looks cool.

Patrick: Awesome. And my spotlight is Points Hoarder, the new travel awards theme podcast co-hosted by our friend Stephan Segraves who is a — you may know him as a web kind of techie guy, but he’s an expert traveler. And I routinely give him a little plus on a Cloud for travel and for airlines and for whatever else is in his profile, because whenever I have a question about that sort of stuff I always ask him and then he tells me to do something and I try to do it. So, yeah, I checked out Points Hoarder, that’s pointshoarder.com, and listened to a good chunk of the first episode, and I thought it was a really interesting show, and there’s good opportunity there for people who do travel, maybe not as much as Stephan but more like myself, travel and would like to take advantage of the best things they can, the best rewards they can get, and there’s a lot to learn there, and also people who do want to step up and travel a lot more and use rewards points. I don’t know anyone who knows more, so there’s a lot of good information being exchanged.

The show is hosted beyond Stephan by Faz Mahmood, and Seth Miller, so yeah, I mean if you have any interest in travel you have to check that out, and Stephan, stay faithful to us, okay (laughter).

Stephan: Oh, definitely. If you think I travel a lot, the other two co-hosts make me look like a newbie.

Patrick: Oh, I can only wonder what I am to them. I’m the guy who carries the bag (laughter) on the jet way. Cool.

Stephan: Thanks a lot.

Patrick: Congratulations. And let’s go around the table.

Kevin: I’m Kevin Dees and you can find me @kevindees on Twitter and at kevindees.cc.

Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves, you can find me on Twitter @ssegraves and I blog at badice.com.

Patrick: I am Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy Network, I blog at managingcommunities.com, on Twitter @ifroggy, and you can follow our usual though currently injured co-host, Louis Simoneau, @rssaddict; and you can follow SitePoint @sitepointdotcom. You can visit us at sitepoint.com/podcast to leave comments on this show and to subscribe to receive every show automatically. And don’t forget to leave some well wishes for Louis as well. You can email podcast@sitepoint.com as well with your questions for us, we’d love to read them out and give you our thoughts and opinions.

The SitePoint Podcast is produced by Karn Broad, thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

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  • Dan

    Louis, get well soon. Thanks to the crew for carrying on in Louis’ absence.

    • http://www.managingcommunities.com Patrick O’Keefe

      Thanks for listening, Dan. We appreciate it.

  • http://www.balancedi.com Brent

    Just listened to the podcast. Louis, sorry to hear about your accident. Hope you’re doing well.

  • web development

    This give me a lot of fun and knowledge . i We appreciate it.