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New York Times - Chrome version (nytimes.com)
104 points by Uncle_Sam on Dec 8, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments

I'm just really uncomfortable with a "chrome version" of the New York Times. How many of us would be freaking out if it was "The New York Times: Internet Explorer Version"

I don't want versions of the web. That's the whole point of the web.

Completely agree, but to play devil's advocate: maybe they're catering to the OS (in which case it's closer to a "The New York Times: iPad Edition" than your IE example).

Nothing is stopping you from just going to www.newyorktimes.com in the browser of your choosing.

HTML5 is still very much the wild west. Browser specific versions of a site have been common ever since there was more than one browser.

Unless you want everyone to just code their UI to the lowest common denominator, in which case, the whole web would look like geocities circa 1998.

They stated numerous times during the announcement that these apps will work on all modern browsers, the web store is there to help discovery and monetization.

The Chrome label on this NYT app is merely promotional as they were launch partners.

There are -webkit- prefixes everywhere in the CSS. This isn't a cross-browser site.

I just tried it in Firefox, and it works fine. AFAICT, it's identical to what you see in Chrome... except it has -moz- prefixes everywhere in the CSS. :-p

They use -webkit- to ensure that, when the relevant standards are finalized, the namespace isn't polluted by experimental and development mistakes.

Ever heard of graceful degradation?

Gracefull degradation is for making sites work on older browsers. What about making sites work on modern browsers which are other than your favourite one?

Using just -webkit prefixes everywhere will make sure it just plays nicely with webkit, and not with IE, Opera or Firefox.

It detects your rendering engine when you connect to the server and only serves up the relevent stylesheet. This way you don't get -moz, -o, or IE fixes if you're not on IE, Mozilla, or Opera.

Save bandwidth, load time.

I would rather like to see it named as "HTML5 version". Oh, and please use CSS transforms/transitions instead of Javascript animations. Otherwise, nice work.

while I like CSS transforms/transitions, they don't support the complexity needed for an app like this as far as I can tell. Maybe I'm missing something, mind illustrating further?

thanks, that's a great show of what can be done with transitions, but it's not nearly as complex as the newpaper site. especially when clicking on settings.

does not work in Firefox / Safari. I wonder what "Chrome" features does it use.

huh? it's working on safari for me (5.03 on OS X 10.6)

... working in Firefox 4b7 for me

NYTimes likes to sleep around. They've developed quite a few frontends: a WPF/Silverlight version, an AIR version, and now a "Chrome" HTML5 version. Next will be an Oracle version in JavaFX.

I think I remember a lean-back version. Are any of these still around?


To scroll I have to go to the bottom of the page and click on the little arrow. Go to the other side if I want to go back.

The mouse solved that problem last millenia with the scroll wheel. Anywhere on the page, if I decide to scroll, it will scroll, right there, without moving the pointer or my eyes. Simple huh?.

If I want to scroll, just let me scroll. Don't impose restrictions on me.

You can hit the right/left arrow keys, and up/down to navigate between sections and articles. I hadn't actually discovered this before reading your comment. Whether it's better or not than horiz/vertical scrolling is a debatable issue.

Sure, but how hard is it to implement onmousewheel/dommousescroll if we are showing off an html5 app?

I think that this is more marketed towards netbooks, as the entire interface is much easier to navigate by keyboard.

up/down -- Change section left/right -- go to next page tab -- cycle through articles

Actually, now that I try using the keyboard, it's a lot faster than the mouse.

Looks a lot like the Editor's Choice iPad app adapted for a browser. Very nice and clean.

That said, I'm not sure how sustainable it is, unless they're planning on turning it into a paid thing. Any significant number of users is going to put a damper on their bottom line because no ads means no ad revenue.

I love how de-cluttered it is. I have a sinking feeling, though, that when a homepage gets into production, feature creep has to happen because of all the different departments within the company -- everyone wants a link to their specific subsite for the traffic.

Looks like some of the features aren't quite on the level of the Skimmer:


But it's a good start.

One notable difference is that the chrome version reworks the article pages, the skimmer appears to just frame them

TimesSkimmer was very good when it came out. But gradually, it has become very slow and somewhat unusable. I definitely think the Chrome version is much far ahead of the Skimmer. Skimmer used to open the article in an iFrame, which spoils the entire motive of decluttering. There were also needless animations that made it a bit slow. Plus the lack of any social functionality that made sharing articles difficult. I really like that they took care of all of these issues in the Chrome version!

By the URLs of some resources it looks like this is Skimmer 2.0 or something like that (e.g. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/webapps/skimmer/2.0/build/app-s...)

the skimmer seems to not work at all for me in FF4beta, whereas the chrome one is 100%. Any idea if they changed the approach to the layout?

Resizing the window messes up the layout. Then it hangs saying it used too much memory.

Safari became completely unresponsive when I tried to resize the window, all its window chrome disappeared and the whole system got so bogged down that it took me at least three minutes to force quit Safari.

Resizing was the first thing I tried because that's what borks my app sometimes.

Mostly works in Mobile Safari on my iPad, after a prompt from the browser to allow 10MB of offline storage (which in turn appears to be an iOS 4.2 feature, since older versions simply silently disabled offline storage when any page's cached resources totaled >5MB).

Performance isn't awesome, but then again, the flagship NYTimes iOS app hasn't worked for me in weeks (crashes on startup, fails to refresh articles when no other app has connectivity problems, etc.) so I might just give it a shot as a Times UI for a while.

It's not just for the chrome browser because it's built on HTML5 and JavaScript and can be used on any modern browser. I'm currently using firefox to view this "app" which is just a regular site, well it's actually a very clean & impressive design and great UI features. Some of the so-called apps in the chrome store are merely bookmarked links that go directly to the page, for instance the gmail "app". I'm having a really hard time to accept these as "apps"

Does any know whether "Chrome" signifies the browser or the OS? Everyone here seems to assume the browser, but my first thought was that it referred to the new OS since I was reading just yesterday that you will be able to read the NY Times offline on there. Also, when I opened the link in Opera it asked me if I wanted to let the site store 10mb of data, which I assumed related to that feature.

I wish that more news sites had such a clear interface; they're usually so cluttered. Though I'm not sure why this interface is specific to chrome.

Looks fuzzy.

On OS X Safari, the articles are in Georgia 13, but the subpixel rendering is disabled. The result is ghastly. The type appears randomly weighted and poorly kerned.

If you copy a paragraph and paste it into TextEdit you can see the same text still in Georgia 13 without broken rendering.

You can use the assistive zoom to see clearly what is going on. (Hold control and "two finger up" on the trackpad, or scroll wheel up if you are that sort.) The color fringe at the edges of the zoomed letters is the subpixel rendering.

Can you explain why the aa gets disabled in Safari but not Chrome? Seems strange considering they're both running Webkit.

I wish I could. I looked with the inspector for -webkit-* trickery in the CSS and didn't see any on the element.

Antialiasing is still on. The pixels go through shades of gray at the edges, it is just the subpixel that is off.

Really interesting bug. If you turn on GPU Accelerated Compositing in about:flags in chrome it becomes blurry. Turn it off and it looks fine.

EDIT: bug here http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=46790

For me, only the main page is fuzzy. If I go to an article, the fonts are fine.

Yup. Terrible rendering. I will not use that version again any time soon.

Ah, updated Chrome to latest Dev version. Much better.

The variety of UI options they give in the "customize" tab shows that NYT knew they had a problem and didn’t solve it.

I really want the New York Times website to look like a newspaper. Changing it to a non-descript anybody site throws away the richness of its heritage. I know the richness is in the content but warm fuzzy feelings help you digest the brain matter.

What exactly has been done here that couldn't have been done with every other browser?

Nothing, which is kind of the point of the Chrome Store: It's just a new distribution channel for modern web applications. The upside is the discoverability, along with the assurance that your end users have a modern browser.

Well technically you don't have that assurance right? Since anyone can hit your app's "store" URL from any browser.

It's great -- but the navigation really belongs on the left side, right-aligned text.

It absolutely doesn't, because if you look at it as a touch screen app for a tablet then the highest portion of users will hold the tablet steady with their left hand while gesturing with their right hand. If you put the nav on the left you make people reach across the screen (covering it with their arm).

You raise a good point. As a lefty, I don't want to be left out. :-)

Interesting point.

Is there any possibility that they'd start redirecting to this based on User-Agent?

Hopefully anyone checking this out will get the same top headline I got, "For Obama, Tax Deal Is a Back-Door Stimulus Plan" wow... just wow.

Also, is 'chrome' here referring to Chrome OS or the browser?

Both. Chrome OS is Chrome the browser in a delectable OS form.

It works very well on iPad. It’s responsive to touch gestures.

Clunky in Chrome browser, broken on Firefox.

Meh. Clean, yes, but:

-- Back button doesn't work. Must click tiny "close" box.

-- Rather than simply scrolling, must paginate with tiny "next" arrow.

Usability loses.

You can also hit escape, but I agree, the back button not working is annoying.

Esc key closes an article, right and left arrow keys flip pages.

They should highlight this to new viewers, I was about to complain about the lack of scrolling.

A bit clunky in Chrome beta... Barely works in Canary build. Maybe I should stick to stable.

Seems to work just fine in Firefox.

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