support posts

Goodbye Dreamhost, hello Digital Ocean

My server, and with it my blog, a client site, and other web properties, was down for four days. I put in a support ticket and didn’t get a response until the fourth day. I’ve been with Dreamhost since 2009, and using DreamCompute since 2017, but I don’t think the product gets nearly the focus that their shared / managed stuff does. I use Digital Ocean at work, and it has been a much more polished and solid product for unmanaged VPS. That is where my site is now hosted.

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DreamCompute disruption incident

My server and site were down for about 16 hours from Tuesday evening (β‰ˆ18:08) to Wednesday morning (β‰ˆ10:36). This was due to a significant problem that occurred due to an upgrade to the Ceph system running Dreamcompute. Numerous people were affected, based on Twitter posts, and we still have little information about what happened.

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CSS: checking support for selectors

@supports is a good way to apply an entire block of styles only if (modern) browsers support a particular property-value combo. There is no similar block-level mechanism for selector support. Selectors are automatically ignored if their values or syntax aren’t recognized by the browser, so they basically already do this at the ruleset level.

Except, sometimes you want to apply styles to other elements that don’t use the selector, but only if the browser supports the selector.

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Supporting HTTP 0.9

I recently added support for HTTP 0.9 to my site. I have access to no browsers that use that protocol, and it’s highly unlikely that anybody is visiting sites with one. Why support it then? It’s not that hard (for me), and it fits with the progressive enhancement related concept that all browsers should be able to use the most basic functionality of a website that they are capable of.

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Line Mode Browser, or progressive enhancement all the way back

Progressive enhancement is a development strategy meant to provide older and / or less capable browsers with a working website while providing the more capable with a rich, full experience. It is often presented as a set of layers of support, with HTML at its base, then CSS added to that for styles, then JavaScript for advanced behavior. With this, it’s often posited that a well-crafted HTML experience can be used by any browser. However, for really old browsers from the early web, the new web provides many things that can make pages difficult to read, functionality unusable, or even entire sites inaccessible.

Today, I’m going to go back as far as I reasonably can in terms of browser support, to the second web browser ever made, and the first widely supported one, Line Mode Browser. I can’t look at the first, WorldWideWeb, because it was only made for NextStep and, as far as I can tell, isn’t accessible for me to test with. Line Mode is though. It was open-source by the w3c and kept available. I was able to get it with MacPorts with the ‘libwww’ package (run as www on the command line).

Line Mode was based on WorldWideWeb, and in fact was less featured, so it is likely to have any issues WorldWideWeb has and more. I will look at some issues that Line Mode has with modern web pages, and provide some solutions that will improve the abilities of even the oldest browsers to use a page.

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