Make Smarter: Polyfills, Cross-browser IE Testing, jQuery Mobile

First up in this month’s Make Smarter is a great slide show by Addy Osmani called Polyfilling the HTML5 Gaps with JavaScript. Polyfills is a catch-all term to describe libraries that help browsers (usually old versions of Internet Explorer) use newer features like media queries, websockets, HTML5 video, and WebGL. If you can’t implant a Google Chrome Frame egg in old IE’s chest, polyfills are the way to go.

Next up is an article on Smashing Magazine called Reliable Cross-Browser Testing, Part 1: Internet Explorer. It explores in detail all of the various ways to test that most belligerent of browsers, Internet Explorer. It covers IETester (my favorite), but it concludes that the only 100% sure way to test the various versions of IE is the VM route. Chris Coyers at CSS Tricks also covers BrowserStack, a cloud service that lets you run IE VM’s through your browser.

TED has a great talk by Louis von Ahn on Massive-scale online collaboration. I had no idea filling out CAPTCHAs was performing a public service and not just the price you pay to grab something off rapidshare.

Computerworld UK has a great article called Open Source Total Cost of Ownership 2.0. It covers the methodology and conclusions of the UK Cabinet Office’s Total Cost of Ownership of Open Source Software. It’s a nuanced, detailed, and well thought out white paper. If you are interested in TCO and open source software it merits a read.

And finally, jQuery Mobile, a “unified, HTML5-based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms, built on the rock-solid jQuery and jQuery UI foundation”, has had its 1.0 release. mobiletuts+ has a good tutorial to get you up and running. If you want to make a mobile-only HTML5 site, jQuery Mobile is a great way to go.