Wanting to serve different size images to different size screens is nothing new but at last the web has a practical solution for responsive images and art direction. Thanks to a lot of hard work by a lot of people, the Responsive Images Community Group has achieved the goal of seeing its API becoming a valuable building block of the web.
The <picture> element and its related srcset and other attributes are already being incorporated in Blink, Gecko and WebKit, have been included in the HTML5 validator and are part of the WHATWG HTML5 spec. A triumph of common sense and cooperation — hurrah!
To celebrate this, I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Stanley Dards, the wise old man of the web, to get his unique insight on the topic.
At last, the existence of vendor prefixes, one of my pet peeves, is under the spotlight. Also at last, the fact that not all modern browsers are WebKit (shock!) is getting some attention.
I (personally) believe vendor prefixes cause more harm than the problem they were designed to solve, namely how to elegantly introduce experimental features in browsers. My belief is that a non-browser-specific prefix such as -beta- has fewer obstacles to overcome than other proposals. Having said that, there’s clearly no easy, one-size-fits-all answer but hopefully more awareness and public discussion will lead to a more plausible solution.
So far, there have been great contributions to the discussion from all sides. A selection of ones I’ve found valuable, but may not necessarily agree with, are listed here: