Tom Maslen: Cutting the Mustard

Orde Saunders' avatarUpdated: Published: by Orde Saunders

Tom Maslen was speaking about browser support at Responsive Conf, these are my notes from his talk.

BBC support standard - out of date by several years but objectives are still very relavent. Must support licence fee payers, best possible expericnce for the largest number of people - some of whom don't have a choice of browser.

Uses a classic three level strategy. Premium -> not rubbish -> not supported.

No longer viable due to the sheer number of devices and browsers. We can run away because it's hard or we can embrace it because it can be done.

Stop thinking about devices and think about browsers. Still keep collecting devices but focus on the number of browsers - just like we used to do with PCs.

  1. Build a simple webpage that links out to the content end points. Very simple and has a simple DOM and basic CSS2. Fast and light.
  2. Load in a JS application. This modifies the page to make it more complex with a rich UI. Only given to browsers that are modern and has good native feaures: querySelector ,localStorage and addEventListner
  3. Add lots of CSS. Only browsers that have passed step 2 will get this so you know there will be good support and good performance.

This is progressive enhancement - not graceful degradation. You can't provide a premium experience for all users. We can't keep polyfilling, we need to keep future friendly.

Responsive design is a final admission by our industry that we never had control over the experience.

Sample code for the 'cutting the mustard' test is:

if('querySelector' in document && 'localStorage' in window  && 'addEventListener' in window) {
  // bootstrap the javascript application