As would be expected from a former manager of the Web Standards Project, Aaron Gustafson is passionate about web standards and accessibility. He has been working on the Web for two decades now and is a web standards advocate at Microsoft, working closely with their browser team. He writes about whatever’s on his mind at aaron-gustafson.com.
Douglas Crockford famously declared browsers to be "the most hostile software engineering environment imaginable," and that wasn't hyperbole. Ensuring that our websites work across a myriad of different devices, screen sizes and browsers our users depend on to access the web is a tall order, but it's necessary.
If our websites don't enable users to accomplish the key tasks they come to do, we've failed them. We should do everything in our power to ensure our websites function under even the harshest of scenarios, but at the same, we can't expect our users to have the exact same experience in every browser, on every device.
I’ve been thinking a lot about speech for the last few years. In fact, it’s been a major focus in several of my talks of late, including my well-received Smashing Conference talk “Designing the Conversation.” As such, I’ve been keenly interested in the development of the Web Speech API.
I’m sure you’ve heard the proverb, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” probably many times. Its written origin dates back to the 18th century, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was much, much older. And though the work we do has little to do with actual chains, this proverb is every bit as relevant to us.
Remember when Azer Koçulu unpublished more than 250 of his modules from npm (Node Package Manager)? If that name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps this function name will: left-pad. In case you’re still scratching your head wondering what the heck I’m talking about, Azer removed a bunch of functions from the canonical library of reusable Node.js code and, in doing so, brought thousands of projects to their knees, including high-profile ones like Babel and React.