Last year, I wrote 8 Guidelines and 1 Rule for Responsive Images based on some consulting work we had done for a client with over 800,000 images on their site.
In preparation for An Event Apart Austin, I decided to revisit the guidelines and see if they still applied in light of browsers implementing the picture specification.
In particular, I was curious how much caution we should take when implementing solutions for responsive images. Last year, I wrote:
The one and only rule for responsive images: Plan for the fact that whatever you implement will be deprecated
Is that rule dated with the browsers standardizing on the picture specification?
I asked for some feedback from the responsive images community group on the risk of the specification changing and how much we should be hedging out bets.
It is also normal that the first shipping implementations are not perfectly compliant with the spec. For instance they might have implemented a slightly out of date algorithm and missed that something was changed, or simply have bugs. Then it is fixed in a future version and that might break your code if you only tested in one implementation.
This is no different from any other feature that is shipped on the Web. To avoid issues, test in multiple implementations and validate.
| Should we still be hedging our bets a little?
No, that’s not necessary.
Now, a couple of people on the list responded that they have a large set of images on the sites they manage and centralizing image handling and markup still made sense. So perhaps it isn’t a rule, but still an idea that you should consider based on the scope of the site and the number of images involved.
I’ll leave the final word on the matter to Marcos Cáceres who played a critical role on the picture specification and works for Firefox, reassured me with these words:
Once it gets into the wild and people start using it, it can’t change. Thems is the golden rule of the Web.
Spec is stable and the browsers are coming this month – go forth and <picture> all the things! Make the web beautiful again 🙂
As Marcos says, go forth and <picture> all the things!