[webkit-dev] The SrcN responsive images proposal

Yoav Weiss yoav at yoav.ws
Wed Nov 6 15:24:26 PST 2013

On Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 11:33 PM, Benjamin Poulain <benjamin at webkit.org>wrote:

> On 11/6/13, 10:53 AM, John Mellor wrote:
>> On Sun, Oct 20, 2013 at 2:00 AM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com
>> <mailto:mjs at apple.com>> wrote:
>>  >
>>  > My initial impression is that it seems a bit overengineered.
>> I sympathize. The issue of srcN appearing to be a complex solution to a
>> seemingly simple problem came up again on IRC chatting to rniwa, so I
>> thought I'd try to explain this briefly.
>> Unfortunately, responsive images is a deceptively complex problem. There
>> are 3 main use cases:
>> 1. dpr-switching: fixed-width image resolution based on devicePixelRatio.
>> 2. viewport-switching: flexible-width image resolution based on viewport
>> width and devicePixelRatio.
>> 3. art direction: same as #1 or #2, except additionally, must serve
>> completely different images based on viewport width.
> How important and common are each of those use cases?
> Handling every imaginable use case by the Engine is a non-goal.

> There has been a lot of demand for dpr-switching since the first iPad
> Retina. This has caused some very ugly hacks on the Web. It is very
> important to address that issue.
> Viewport switching is usually done to adapt images for mobile device VS
> large/huge display devices. It is a valid concern but it is not easily
> addressed. Srcset can/should likely be improved regarding this.
> I believe (feel free to prove me wrong) dynamic viewport adaptation and
> what you call "art direction" is not as common.

On a survey ran at the last Mobilism conference (and on Twitter) 41% of
respondents said they're already using some hack to get their responsive
image "art-directed".
A manual responsive site
that 23% of the sites "art-direct" their images, and 58% do that when
(subjectively) the design requires it.
So it might not be as common as viewport switching (which is practically
everywhere), but it is pretty common.

I have the feeling those corner cases may be better addressed with
> JavaScript.

I don't think art-direction qualifies as a corner case.

> In my opinion WebKit should not support srcN in its current form. We are
> here to make the web a better/friendlier platform. The srcN proposal does
> not do that, it is a catch all that makes the important use cases more
> difficult.
> Benjamin
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