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Community & Business Groups

The State of the Picture Specification

First, a little housekeeping: while the community group is site is great for ongoing discussion, it doesn’t offer anything in the way of tracking specific goals and issues. Up to this point we’ve been using a GitHub repo on my account.

It’s working great for us so far, if I may say so, and it feels good to be working on familiar turf — but it’s still tied to my admittedly nonsensical nickname. This is an effort led by the developer community, and it should be reflected as such.

I’m pleased to announce that the RICG now has a formal home on GitHub. We’ll be tracking issues and publishing drafts through this organization and its repos, while the CG site and mailing list will continue to be used for broader conversation. I hope to see you all there!

We’ve put out a call on the mailing list for anyone willing to contribute an hour or two per week to helping us triage issues and review changes — let us know if you’re willing to pitch in!

The Extension Specification

Politics aren’t my strong suit, so the current state of our proposal is a weight off my shoulders.

Both our proposal and the srcset proposal are being handled as “extension specifications,” and they’re currently being developed independent of the overall HTML spec. We’re actively working with proponents of the srcset extension specification to ensure that the two complement each other, and both our extension spec and use case documentation reflects that.

No single decision maker or group has the final word in this, as Marcos explained on the mailing list earlier today. When and if it leads to functional native implementations, it will be merged into a snapshot of the HTML spec.

The picture specification, though still in progress, is eligible for real-world implementations as we speak. We’re continuing to reach out to browser representatives to collaborate on the proposal and discussing where the picture element would fit on their development roadmaps. I’m calling on all of you to do the same. In the end, demand is the deciding factor when it comes to new features — there’s no shortage of demand for picture; we’re proof of that. Let’s make sure the browsers vendors hear from us.

A Native Implementation

We’ve reached the point in hammering out the extension specification where we’re focusing on more specific issues we’d be likely to run into in a native implementation.

It’s difficult — if not impossible — to hash out the potential issues with a real-world implementation in a vacuum. As a result, Yoav Weiss has begun prototyping a native picture element in a fork of Chromium. We’re addressing the questions that arise as a result in the issue tracker for the extension specification.

I know, for my part, it was exciting to finally see that picture’s source pattern can and will work with Chrome’s image prefetching with my own eyes. It’s one thing to talk about it on a mailing list—it’s another to see it working.

Twitter Account

As my Twitter followers know all too well: I am largely unbearable. For the sake of anyone that wants to keep tabs on ongoing developments without being subjected to dog photos and complaints about the Boston subway system, we’ve started up an RICG Twitter account: @respimg.


I want to personally thank Marcos Caceres. Marcos has been putting a tremendous amount of time and effort into the extension specification, and into organizing the efforts of the RICG.

I also want to thank all of you, once again. We’re not only making steady progress on a long overdue solution to a very real problem, but we’re bringing about changes to the way the web is built. Our community group is being held up as a shining example of how developers can get directly involved in web standards, and we’re working with members of the W3C to find ways of smoothing out the rough edges on the process we’ve carved out. It hasn’t been especially easy or chaos-free, but we’re making things that much easier for the next group of developers that comes along with a good idea.

Blue Beanie Day is coming up. When you put one on, know that you’re not just supporting web standards — you’re taking an active role in moving standards, and the web itself, forward.

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