A Craft CMS plugin to route requests to pages with a filtered, pre-loaded list of entries. Developed by us and spawned off during our IndiaBioscience project. The plugin now handles URL routing for the many varied filters on sections such as Jobs, Events, Grants (and more) on the IndiaBioscience website. Also listed on Straight Up Craft.
The beauty of the web is in its ubiquity. Its unparalleled reach isn’t a mere co-incidence — rather, a 26 year long journey of consciously embracing the principles of inclusiveness. The minimal hardware and software requirements have enabled most electronic devices today to connect to the web. At the forefront are mobiles which have surpassed their predecessors, laptops and desktops, quite emphatically.
Today, user experience on a mobile device affects way more people than any other device. With several low cost smartphones out in the market the web has been brought within reach of lower sections of the socio-economic pyramid — many for the very first time. In fact, for a large portion of the population, inexpensive mobiles connected to the internet over flaky mobile data connections are their only window to the web.
Mobiles are a hard problem — in many ways it’s like going back a few years in terms of device power and capabilities. Even though we – the web designers and developers – largely acknowledge that mobiles are omnipresent, the user experience challenge these devices pose is often conveniently reduced down to an afterthought. And as a result, the state of mobile browsing continues to be in a mess with endless examples of essential services like banks assuming that users have the privilege of accessing a desktop or a laptop over a fast and reliable connection.
We have ensured that key services are available to you on the mobile website. For other services, please continue to desktop login. — m.icicibank.com
At Meta Refresh 2015, I shared a peek into what constitutes today’s web eco-system. A check on the real world impact of poor mobile web experiences — something we perhaps underestimate. It’s a call out to the community to own up the unremarkable state of mobile web, make the right compromises going forward and refuse to budge even though it may sound unrealistic and drastic.
Dev Ops: Please bring back the bouffant. We know you can do it. pic.twitter.com/dkhupQDBoh— Rachel Nabors (@rachelnabors) August 7, 2015
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.
— Donald Rumsfeld
Earlier this year, in the month of February, I attended Meta Refresh in Bangalore where I emphasised the importance of progressive enhancement through a workshop and a talk at the conference. It is quite unfortunate that many web designers and developers continue to carry forth the old approach of designing websites for a known system configuration. Only later do they test their websites on alternate browsers / devices and patch issues that are detected. This practise is known as graceful degradation.
This site is best viewed in IE6, 800×600.
About a decade back there was very little variation in hardware and software and one could have got away with making assumptions about client systems – though that doesn’t really justify this practice even at that time. Over the years, the devices (and software) connected to the web have come a long way. New waves have swept across the ecosystem – frequently and unpredictably – bringing in newer hardware, device capabilities, screens, browsers and other software. Today it is hard to keep up with the speed at which things are changing. We don’t know what will storm the ecosystem next but something surely will. Assumptions about a system configuration, today, are far from safe.
At a time when technology is changing faster than what we can keep up with, it’s worth noting that the fundamental principles of the web have remained unchanged since its inception about 25 years ago. These principles have stood the test of time and can perhaps be described as strictly liberal. In many ways they have been responsible for letting the web evolve and improve over time without any major impediments. Even today the very first website on the internet works flawlessly across all standards compliant web browsers on every device.
Perhaps ironically the more backwards compatible your web site is, the more future friendly it is. #ffly— Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) December 29, 2011
The onus of embracing these principles lies on us. If we look closely, there are only a handful of knowns in a traditional web communication — the presence of a client and a server that talk over HTTP, and the fact that client is running a web browser that will understand a hypertext document. Everything else is either a known unknown or an unknown unknown.
Progressive enhancement is a fundamentally opposite approach to the widely adopted method of graceful degradation. It was introduced in the year 2003, by Steve Champeon and Nick Finck in a talk titled Inclusive Web Design for the Future. In short, start with healthy markup, add the styles around it, and finally layer the interactivity around it. How does that help? The outer layers do not interfere with the inner ones, and therefore basic systems can access the content in the markup layer and deliver a base experience to the user. More powerful systems can further take advantage of the outer layers to enhance the user experience. No one’s excluded.
Progressive enhancement is more about dealing with technology failing than technology not being supported. And you can quote me on that.— Andy Hume (@andyhume) June 3, 2013
Last year, all of a sudden, there was a revival of the progressive enhancement debate on the internet. Since then, it’s been regularly discussed at many reputed conferences around the world. Having to defend the values of the web (such as inclusiveness) 25 years after we began this journey by letting go of control, and becoming flexible is a tad disheartening. I wish the community rests this debate and upholds the spirit of the web. This talk is an effort to urge everyone to do just that.
We had a great time attending and speaking at Meta Refresh last year. Souvik has been given another opportunity and will be presenting once again at HasGeek’s annual web design conference. This year he is conducting a workshop that will revisit the spirit of the web to demonstrate what makes the web special, and show how to embrace the principle of progressive enhancement to build robust websites.
Here’s a short introduction:
If you design or build for the web, you should definitely try and attend. Come to the workshop and learn why and how to adopt this foundational philosophy of developing for the web, or participate in some of the other great workshops and talks on the roster. The most compelling reason to attend though is the chance to meet fellow peers in person — a rare privilege for us digital workers.
A new payment solution with a single-minded focus on their customers — the developers. Stripe looks like a refreshing glass of cold water in the desert land that is internet payment gateways. Everything about them defies the current market of payment solutions that developers have to put up with in-order to accept payments on the web: a clear and unambiguous offering, crisp communication, good documentation and all with a straightforward (and perhaps, quite friendly) pricing.
The best thing about Stripe, however, is their approach to the payments problem. Unlike most gateways, what Stripe offers is an API and not an interface which redirects back – and – forth. This gives app developers complete freedom to design and optimise the experience of accepting payments from their end-users.
Our only gripe? They’re U.S. only (for now). India can really do with some good payment solutions. We can’t wait to integrate Stripe (what with, hmm) as soon as they start paying out to Indian accounts.