Dear web developers,



  • @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline I would think it'd be obvious that a site called Northern Railway would want to know your location in order to display info about your nearest station served by Northern Railway. And indeed, it uses your location to auto-fill the departure station.

    Sure, auto-filling a destination/start as your current location is something a transport website might want to do, but you're making an assumption about how sophisticated I expect web development to be. For one thing, users still use IE in favour of downloading a web browser, so I've no idea what counts as "obvious".



  • @Shoreline said in Dear web developers,:

    @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline I would think it'd be obvious that a site called Northern Railway would want to know your location in order to display info about your nearest station served by Northern Railway. And indeed, it uses your location to auto-fill the departure station.

    Sure, auto-filling a destination/start as your current location is something a transport website might want to do, but you're making an assumption about how sophisticated I expect web development to be. For one thing, users still use IE in favour of downloading a web browser, so I've no idea what counts as "obvious".

    "Downloading a web browser" falls into the "circular" group of activities.

    Where do I download a web browser? From the web. How do I get there? Using a web browser. But that means that to download a web browser I have to already have a web browser so why would I bother downloading one? (Consider how "you should use your web browser to download a web browser" sounds to a not-IT-skilled person.)


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @Shoreline said in Dear web developers,:

    users still use IE

    Actually, users still click on the blue "e" icon, which, thank $DIETY, launches Edge instead of IE on Win10


  • SockDev

    @cark said in Dear web developers,:

    launches Edge instead of IE

    I'm not convinced that's an improvement


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @RaceProUK See this https://kangax.github.io/compat-table/es6/#ie11 and compare it to the Edge14/15 columns


  • SockDev

    @cark I'm sure the 99% of users who never write a line of JS in their lives are ecstatic about Edge's ES6 support, so much so it makes up for all the missing basic features every other browser has.


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @RaceProUK They are going to care when they whinge at me about a site not working in IE, and I tell them to go **** themselves in the ****hole for using an ancient browser


  • kills Dumbledore

    @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    I'm not convinced that's an improvement

    True, modern IE is pretty decent so Edge doesn't add all that much


  • SockDev

    @cark At which point they won't switch browser, they'll go to a competitor who doesn't treat them like rancid faeces.



  • @JazzyJosh said in Dear web developers,:

    nearly all the domestic carriers

    Is Domestic anywhere near Foreign?


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @RaceProUK I tell them to go love themselves in the lovehole because I need more time to work on the backwards compatibility. Everyone loves to love themselves in the lovehole, what's wrong with that?



  • @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    stupid bugs like randomly switching to north heading

    I've never had this with Waze, but I did have an experience a few years ago with some absolutely horrible offline GPS app where, while sitting at a red light, it decided to turn me around, then recalculate and tell me to do a big detour to get myself back on track. All without my car moving an inch.



  • @coldandtired said in Dear web developers,:

    @JazzyJosh said in Dear web developers,:

    nearly all the domestic carriers

    Is Domestic anywhere near Foreign?

    It shares a border with International.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline said in Dear web developers,:

    @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline I would think it'd be obvious that a site called Northern Railway would want to know your location in order to display info about your nearest station served by Northern Railway. And indeed, it uses your location to auto-fill the departure station.

    Sure, auto-filling a destination/start as your current location is something a transport website might want to do, but you're making an assumption about how sophisticated I expect web development to be. For one thing, users still use IE in favour of downloading a web browser, so I've no idea what counts as "obvious".

    "Downloading a web browser" falls into the "circular" group of activities.

    Where do I download a web browser? From the web. How do I get there? Using a web browser. But that means that to download a web browser I have to already have a web browser so why would I bother downloading one? (Consider how "you should use your web browser to download a web browser" sounds to a not-IT-skilled person.)
    I just download it using my package manager. Why would you use a web-browser to download software? It's much easier to use a single package that provides a singular user experience.



  • @martijntje said in Dear web developers,:

    I just download it using my package manager. Why would you use a web-browser to download software? It's much easier to use a single package that provides a singular user experience.

    Because Chrome and FireFox etc. aren't available in the Windows Store.



  • @martijntje said in Dear web developers,:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline said in Dear web developers,:

    @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    @Shoreline I would think it'd be obvious that a site called Northern Railway would want to know your location in order to display info about your nearest station served by Northern Railway. And indeed, it uses your location to auto-fill the departure station.

    Sure, auto-filling a destination/start as your current location is something a transport website might want to do, but you're making an assumption about how sophisticated I expect web development to be. For one thing, users still use IE in favour of downloading a web browser, so I've no idea what counts as "obvious".

    "Downloading a web browser" falls into the "circular" group of activities.

    Where do I download a web browser? From the web. How do I get there? Using a web browser. But that means that to download a web browser I have to already have a web browser so why would I bother downloading one? (Consider how "you should use your web browser to download a web browser" sounds to a not-IT-skilled person.)

    I just download it using my package manager. Why would you use a web-browser to download software? It's much easier to use a single package that provides a singular user experience.

    Fixed your quote usage. (Always on this fine and perfect forum thing, put at least one blank line after the quoted text, otherwise it thinks that what you typed is part of the quoted text. (undefined))

    Because I'm talking about Joe Public, who knows that the big blue E goes to the Internet, but isn't quite sure why it's an E, since E is not the first letter of Internet, nor of Web. You might be able to persuade him that the E is a web browser, but as soon as you do that, he'll be mystified about why you are telling him to use a web browser to download a web browser.



  • @Jaloopa said in Dear web developers,:

    @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    I'm not convinced that's an improvement

    True, modern IE is pretty decent so Edge doesn't add all that much

    Sure it does. It adds "Every now and then[1] I'll forget you've ever launched me and start up as if you are running me for the first time, and I'll forget what favourites you have and I'll forget how you configured the startup page and everything, except that I'll remember some of your cookies but not all of them and generally confuse you." I don't think that's a plus.

    [1] the interval is variable, usually weeks or occasionally days. There's usually a clue that it's about to happen, in that Explorer forgets which icons should be always-visible in the systray and Edge has difficulty even starting.[2]

    [2] Which is leading me to the conclusion that perhaps it's going to be better in the long term to abandon it in favour of IE. Wait! Did I just say that? Eeek!


  • kills Dumbledore

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    I don't think that's a plus.

    Neither would I if it had ever happened to me in a year or so of daily Edge use. Sounds like you have a corrupt Windows installation that forgets its defaults or something



  • @Jaloopa said in Dear web developers,:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    I don't think that's a plus.

    Neither would I if it had ever happened to me in a year or so of daily Edge use. Sounds like you have a corrupt Windows installation that forgets its defaults or something

    7 upgraded to 10 then upgraded to Anniversary and then Creators. Six years old, so it's entirely possible that there's an excessive amount of cruft in there. (More specifically, the wrong kind of cruft, obviously.) And it's a phenomenon I've seen other people complaining about, and nobody seems to know how to fix it.(1)

    (1) Aside from nuking it from orbit, obviously. The machine's overdue for a hardware change, anyway, and I'm inclined to do that by building a new one and reinstalling it from scratch, then copying my data over.



  • @hungrier said in Dear web developers,:

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    stupid bugs like randomly switching to north heading

    I've never had this with Waze, but I did have an experience a few years ago with some absolutely horrible offline GPS app where, while sitting at a red light, it decided to turn me around, then recalculate and tell me to do a big detour to get myself back on track. All without my car moving an inch.

    Sounds like shifting accuracy flooflah which meant it thought you moved even though you didn't. In the days of Selective Availability, this was normal, and lead to the development of differential GPS, where a relatively short range ground-side transmitter would broadcast the difference between what SA-tainted GPS said its position was and what it knew its position was.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic Car navigations did not exist before SA was turned off in 2000.



  • @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    @Steve_The_Cynic Car navigations did not exist before SA was turned off in 2000.

    I'll quote just ONE line from The Unreliable Source, with added emphasis:
    1990: Mazda Eunos Cosmo became the first car with built-in GPS-navigation system[6]

    I said it's like what happened in the days of SA. Not that it is that.

    The accuracy of GPS is never in the millimetre range, but always at least a few metres (that's all you need for a car navigation GPS), and it varies a little over time. Specifically, the vector from the true position to the calculated position will change direction and magnitude. In the days of SA, that happened as well, but the error circle was much bigger, on the order of a hundred metres.

    If the error vector shifts in a way that seems like the car is now going backwards, and it shifts more than the tolerance built in to the satnav, it will behave as if you just did a U-turn.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    @hungrier said in Dear web developers,:

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    stupid bugs like randomly switching to north heading

    I've never had this with Waze, but I did have an experience a few years ago with some absolutely horrible offline GPS app where, while sitting at a red light, it decided to turn me around, then recalculate and tell me to do a big detour to get myself back on track. All without my car moving an inch.

    Sounds like shifting accuracy flooflah which meant it thought you moved even though you didn't. In the days of Selective Availability, this was normal, and lead to the development of differential GPS, where a relatively short range ground-side transmitter would broadcast the difference between what SA-tainted GPS said its position was and what it knew its position was.

    If its inertial sensors clearly indicate that it hasn't moved, then it should really take the GPS "shifting accuracy flooflah" with a grain of salt.

    But actually, it's not that. It's just that the GPS fix isn't an exact fix, and it can move around. But still, the inertial sensors should be a pretty good clue telling you that the GPS saying you moved 15 meters to the left is probably just an echo that's bouncing off a building and it's trying to get an accurate fix.

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in Dear web developers,:

    If the error vector shifts in a way that seems like the car is now going backwards, and it shifts more than the tolerance built in to the satnav, it will behave as if you just did a U-turn.

    The GPS fix should have a built-in accuracy value. It should probably at least try to use that to decide how much tolerance to allow...



  • flooflah

    Whatever the cause, it wasn't the only problem with that GPS app. Once I got where I was going (which had wifi), I found another offline GPS app that was much better and not at all a huge pile of shit like the first one I tried.

    I was considering writing up a post about it, but I don't remember enough specifics about it now, or even what the apps were. Looking through my Google Play history, I think maps.me is the shitty one and MapFactor the good one.



  • @anotherusername said in Dear web developers,:

    If its inertial sensors clearly indicate

    While it would be nice if the navigations did use the accelerometers, but I seriously doubt any of them does.

    The built-in ones should use the tachometer data though. At least the one I worked on 10 years ago actually did.

    @anotherusername said in Dear web developers,:

    The GPS fix should have a built-in accuracy value.

    Guess what, it does NOT.

    It does have a “HDP”, but that only indicates how good the constellation is. But no estimate for the other errors. So normally everybody just takes some basic precision considered typical of the cellphone GPS chips (something like 5 or 6 m) and multiplies it by the HDP and call it a day.

    That is the situation with NMEA183, the “native” protocol of GPS chips. The “cooked” interface in systems like Android does have “accuracy” value, but since the chips don't actually provide it, it's in most cases exactly as described above (except the maker knowsshould know (but rarely cares to find) a better ballpark value for what they've put in).



  • @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    Guess what, it does NOT.

    It does have a “HDP”, but that only indicates how good the constellation is. But no estimate for the other errors. So normally everybody just takes some basic precision considered typical of the cellphone GPS chips (something like 5 or 6 m) and multiplies it by the HDP and call it a day.

    The estimate works well enough that if apps actually used it they shouldn't have glitches like the one that @hungrier described. Basically what I'm saying is that any GPS-enabled device should have an API that allows apps to get some reasonably decent estimate of the accuracy of its GPS position, and any navigation apps should use it.

    The HTML5 geolocation API actually requires GPS coordinates to include an accuracy component:

    0_1497021987808_d69d5a2b-87e1-4a15-a24f-9567eb38f815-image.png

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    While it would be nice if the navigations did use the accelerometers, but I seriously doubt any of them does.

    I know that Google Maps uses the compass; I see no reason to think that it wouldn't use the phone's inertial sensors, if they were available, and provided useful data that Google Maps' designers felt like they needed. Plus, based on what I'm reading, the newer Broadcom GPS receiver chips are designed to utilize that data, so the apps themselves wouldn't need to do anything extra...

    0_1497023477648_87fa43de-24a5-45dc-a01a-6f8f3538e638-image.png


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @anotherusername Why would a portable media player need an accurate location fix? (I can see the point for the other devices listed…)



  • @hungrier said in Dear web developers,:

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    stupid bugs like randomly switching to north heading

    I've never had this with Waze, but I did have an experience a few years ago with some absolutely horrible offline GPS app where, while sitting at a red light, it decided to turn me around, then recalculate and tell me to do a big detour to get myself back on track. All without my car moving an inch.

    I sometimes have fun on a highway nearby where there's a small country road running parallel to it for about two kilometers. Sometimes the navigation software thinks I've magically warped from the highway to the country road.


  • And then the murders began.

    @dkf said in Dear web developers,:

    @anotherusername Why would a portable media player need an accurate location fix? (I can see the point for the other devices listed…)

    If it's an Android or iOS device (like the iPod Touch), to support existing apps that demand those hardware features.



  • @Unperverted-Vixen said in Dear web developers,:

    @dkf said in Dear web developers,:

    @anotherusername Why would a portable media player need an accurate location fix? (I can see the point for the other devices listed…)

    If it's an Android or iOS device (like the iPod Touch), to support existing apps that demand those hardware features.


  • SockDev

    @dkf so that when you've gone jogging, you can track your route/distance run/getting home once you get yourself lost, depending on device.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Arantor said in Dear web developers,:

    when you've gone jogging

    Wouldn't people just use a phone? Like that, if they had other problems, they'd have a full service device with them…


  • SockDev

    @dkf you'd think, but maybe their phone has limited capacity and they have a huge playlist.

    Or maybe they're just common people. Salt of the earth.

    You know... morons. With too much money.



  • @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    @WernerCD said in Dear web developers,:

    Wait... WTF IS WAZE CANDY! How the hell can you leave me hanging like that! FUCK YOU USERONBOARD!!!
    but seriously... I love Waze.

    Seriously, Waze sucks. Big time. The guidance is not worst only because Google Maps are absolutely atrocious. And almost every other navigation is able to at least move the pointer gradually to the end of the tunnel or next manoeuvre rather than to hell when it loses GPS (not to mention that modern phones should be able to do quite good dead-reckoning when vehicle-mounted). And it can't search POI by categroy and it does seem to have shortcut for finding next gas station and/or restaurant along road. And then there are stupid bugs like randomly switching to north heading if you ever used it.

    Yet the incident and traffic reporting make it the most useful navigation out there, simply because it is the only one where these things actually work.

    Yup. I use it to get from point A to point B. I don't have tunnels and don't lose GPS where I go, non-issue for me. POI by Category, I find my interests outside of Waze, another non-issue. Occasionally pointing north when you come to a stop or when just starting, another non-issue... for me.

    The ONE thing i wish I could do is block certain roads/road-segments from my path. There are two toll roads I can normally traverse... one saves ~15 minutes of my time and the other saves ~1. I normally take backroads on the second toll - which means Waze is either telling me I need to go back to the second toll road (Ignore Toll Roads: Off) or I need to ignore the first toll road (Ignore Toll Roads: On).

    BOTH options have me ignoring the guidance at points which negates the whole use of Waze.

    That's my only beef... that and the "Always On" portion.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic 7 upgraded to 10 are the only Windows 10 installs I've heard of that forget how to run UWP programs (they close as soon as you start them). Since this includes such minor things as the Start menu, Control Panel, and Cortana/Desktop Search...

    Weird thing is, it isn't Windows itself that bugs out, but the individual user account... unless you try one of the original fixes for the problem, in which case it breaks UWP applications permanently if you have the Windows 10 1511 update (or newer) installed, released in November 2015.



  • @Arantor said in Dear web developers,:

    @dkf so that when you've gone jogging, you can track your route/distance run/getting home once you get yourself lost, depending on device.

    That would also make it a "portable navigation device", then. It said "portable media players and portable navigation devices", not "portable media players which are also portable navigation devices", implying that they might need GPS independently of their use as a navigation device.

    I get that they're probably talking about combination devices (media device which is also a navigation device which is also a phone and can access the web and run other apps), but if that's the case, why even mention "portable media devices" as if they'd need GPS independently of those other functions?

    And, hell, they didn't even mention cameras; putting GPS in those actually makes sense! Wearable fitness tech doesn't really seem to fit in any of the categories they mentioned, either. A wearable device whose primary function is tracking steps, heart rate, etc., might also allow you to download your route and plot it on the map, even if it doesn't have the capability to help you navigate or display a map while you're running.



  • @anotherusername said in Dear web developers,:

    The HTML5 geolocation API actually requires GPS coordinates to include an accuracy component

    So does the Android API. But, depending on what chip and driver the device has, it might still be just a HDOP times suitable fudge factor, because the simple chips don't go through all the trouble to estimate variable delays (which requires extra tuner for L2 and/or L4) and detect multipathing and such. So the number ends up being very rough estimate on which you can't rely too much. The navigation should use it, but it needs to use other aspects as well like continuity of the path on the map—which is actually how it should avoid recalculating if the position moves back a bit.

    Note: I've been there. I worked on navigation for many years (until last year) and have seen various phones return crappy position and accuracy pretending it's fine.

    @anotherusername said in Dear web developers,:

    I know that Google Maps uses the compass; I see no reason to think that it wouldn't use the phone's inertial sensors, if they were available, and provided useful data that Google Maps' designers felt like they needed.

    Compass is pretty trivial to use. It gives you some number of degrees and you rotate the map by that. Accelerometer is different. To make use of the accelerometers, you have to correlate the phone axis to the vehicle axis by correlating the accelerometer reading with the estimate from GPS. And you don't have gyros to detect turns, only the laggy compass that is mostly useless for the purpose and the 1 second resolution of the GPS is not exactly good for this either. So I doubt the navigation programmers do that.

    @anotherusername said in Dear web developers,:

    Plus, based on what I'm reading, the newer Broadcom GPS receiver chips are designed to utilize that data, so the apps themselves wouldn't need to do anything extra...

    Sounds good. Especially since it also has gyros—with gyros, it can realistically cover couple of minutes without GPS even if hand-held (when the phone does not have constant orientation relative to direction of motion).

    Is it already actually used in phones?


  • area_deu

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    And you don't have gyros to detect turns,

    I thought most phones with an accelerometer nowadays have gyros as well... I still agree with what you said though, doubt most navigation programmers would use them ^^


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    Especially since it also has gyros

    Stop making me hungry.


  • kills Dumbledore

    @Rhywden said in Dear web developers,:

    I sometimes have fun on a highway nearby where there's a small country road running parallel to it for about two kilometers. Sometimes the navigation software thinks I've magically warped from the highway to the country road.

    There were cases a while ago when people had those black box telemetry recorders for their insurance think they'd been speeding on a 30 mph residential road when they were actually driving on the dual carriageway running parallel.



  • @RaceProUK said in Dear web developers,:

    @cark I'm sure the 99% of users who never write a line of JS in their lives are ecstatic about Edge's ES6 support, so much so it makes up for all the missing basic features every other browser has.

    Quite. Modern transpilers are pretty quick basic features like "sticking to the standards" are pretty fucking basic.



  • @Bulb said in Dear web developers,:

    Sounds good. Especially since it also has gyros—with gyros, it can realistically cover couple of minutes without GPS even if hand-held (when the phone does not have constant orientation relative to direction of motion).

    Is it already actually used in phones?

    I found some teardowns on the Galaxy S4 which said that it has it.



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