Mozilla Hacks Weekly, December 8th 2011

Thursday is here, and just like every week when that day comes, we at Mozilla want to share some good reading with you.

Weekly links December 8th 2011

If there is anything you think we should read or know about, don’t hesitate to post a comment, contact us on Twitter or through any other mean.
The picks this week are:

Christian Heilmann

The 3D CSS Tester is a small tool I put together yesterday to make it easier to understand 3D transforms in CSS3.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Christian, he’s available on Twitter as @codepo8.

Eric “Sheppy” Shepherd

Linux developers should look at switching to clang for building Firefox. Check out ehsan’s blog post on how to do this.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Eric, he’s available on Twitter as @sheppy.

Havi Hoffman

The New Game Conference for HTML5 game developers took place in San Francisco early last month. Now you can watch key presentations on the NewGameConference Youtube channel, including a talk about Paladin, Mozilla’s 3D gaming framework.

Havi can be found on Twitter as @freshelectrons

Jay Patel

As more mobile devices become “HTML5 enabled”, with a forecast of 1 billion by 2013, the future of apps built on Web technologies is looking bright.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Jay, he’s available on Twitter as @jaybhai

Jean-Yves Perrier

Learn about the practical problems of @font-face and how to solve them thanks to this well-written article by Ryan DeBeasi: How to bulletproof @font-face web fonts?

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Jean-Yves, he’s available on Twitter as @teoli2003.

Jeff Griffiths

csg.js, enabling even guys like me to make cool webgl cubes and spheres with simple JS code.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Jeff, he’s available on Twitter as @canuckistani.

Rob Hawkes

The creator’s of Canabalt talk about how open-sourcing the game while it’s still popular has been a win-win situation for them. It’s nice to hear success stories about open game development rather than the (usually unfounded) fears about IP and easily-accessible code.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Rob, he’s available on Twitter as @robhawkes.

Robert Nyman

Jake Archibald’s article on Adaptive Images for Responsive Design is quite interesting from a hacking perspective, but also very important in displaying the lack of options in web browsers today when it comes to building more versatile designs.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Robert, he’s available on Twitter as @robertnyman.

Tristan Nitot

As the Web is becoming the platform of choice for mobile development, it needs to be able to do things that were not possible in the past, such as accessing the battery charge, the vibrator and send text messages. Let’s see the recently landed Web APIs for Firefox.

If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with Tristan, he’s available on Twitter as @nitot.

About Robert Nyman [Editor emeritus]

Technical Evangelist & Editor of Mozilla Hacks. Gives talks & blogs about HTML5, JavaScript & the Open Web. Robert is a strong believer in HTML5 and the Open Web and has been working since 1999 with Front End development for the web - in Sweden and in New York City. He regularly also blogs at and loves to travel and meet people.

More articles by Robert Nyman [Editor emeritus]…


  1. AndersH

    Could you stop adding the “A picture of …” alt-attribute to the images. It is annoying in the rss-feed, and blind users (or any others) probably do not have any use for it.

    Also the “If you want to read more tips or discuss the web with …, he’s available on Twitter as @…” is quite repetitive to listen to in a screen reader. If you just put the twitter handle, people will probably know what to do with it.

    December 8th, 2011 at 10:41

    1. Robert Nyman

      I understand that the alt-attribute could be annoying, but at the same time I don’t think an empty alt attribute is something good either. Do you have any suggestions?

      Regarding that text, albeit repetitive, IMHO makes the tone a lot more friendly than just a Twitter handle.

      December 8th, 2011 at 11:18

      1. AndersH

        Who is the alt-attribute supposed to help and with what? When you have the name right above in the header, I would suggest to leave the alt-attribute blank since it just repeats the header.

        To me the text seems like boilerplate-text. As friendly as a form-letter :) I’m just more interested in the content. You could put the twitter-link around the name in the headline, if the link needs to be there.

        Anyway, thanks for the quick reply. Just nice to have gotten that off my chest, since it annoyed me for a while.

        December 8th, 2011 at 12:42

        1. Robert Nyman

          On the alt-attribute, I understand and can leave it empty. I was mostly curious whether there was something more descriptive that you have preferred. I’ve now changed this post to have empty values in the alt attributes.

          It might seem like boilerplate-text, but I believe it is more friendly than just a linked Twitter name. And I don’t want to link the names of the people automatically to Twitter, because they are more than their Twitter handles and I also don’t think it’s that intuitive.

          Hope you enjoy the links!

          December 9th, 2011 at 02:37

  2. seriously

    how about mozilla and google collaborate on a documentary where you visit blind people who are computer experts and get their thoughts on the best way to use the alt attribute?

    December 8th, 2011 at 16:41

    1. Robert Nyman

      That would be great, I’d love to do that!
      I hope there will be time and opportunity to do that one day.

      December 9th, 2011 at 02:38

  3. Ken Saunders
    “Using null alt text and no title attribute on img elements for images that AT should ignore”

    “The purpose of this technique is to show how images can be marked so that they can be ignored by Assistive Technology.
    If no title attribute is used, and the alt text is set to null (i.e. alt=””) it indicates to assistive technology that the image can be safely ignored.

    Note: Although alt=” ” is also valid, alt=”” is recommended.
    Note: Have a “null” alt attribute is not the same as having no alt attribute. ”

    AndersH, If you’re a Firefox user who uses a screen reader, it would be nice to chat.
    KenSaunders @

    seriously, As long as they follow W3C’s guidelines, they should be fine.
    Consulting with blind users on techniques isn’t a bad idea at all, but Mozilla’s accessibility lead is blind so anyone at Mozilla or elsewhere (I’m sure) could talk to him.

    Robert Nyman, kudos for taking the extra time to write descriptive alt text. There are far two many that don’t bother writing anything at all.

    By the way, I always enjoy the links and learn something new. Thanks

    December 9th, 2011 at 09:31

    1. Robert Nyman

      Thanks for the feedback!
      Also, glad to hear that you like the links. :-)

      December 12th, 2011 at 07:25

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