2005.07.18

DOM Scripting Task Force - WaSP

Once again the fine folks at the Web Standards Project are helping us all move the industry forward, this time with the launch of their DOM Scripting Task Force as announced in their buzz archive today.

"The skillset of a front end programmer is a three-legged stool: structure (XHTML) is the first leg, presentation (CSS) the second, and behavior (DOM Scripting) the third," said Peter-Paul Koch, a prominent scripting expert and one of the founders of the task force. "These three legs should be equal, but at the moment the behavior leg is the shortest, least-valued and least-understood of the three, even though the DOM has been a W3C specification for seven years and enjoys relatively solid browser support."

They have a press release, a manifesto, and of course a website.

These topics aren't anything new necessarily, but it's good to see more and more developers picking up the torch. For more reading on this/these topics, check out these other posts from my blog: The Behavior Layer, Unobtrusively, and Semantic Markup - Create, Support and Extract.

If you eat and breath these topics, I'd love to hear from you and your resume.

Posted by Nate Koechley on July 18, 2005 at 05:17 PM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Engineering, Layered Semantic Markup, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DOM Scripting Task Force - WaSP

Once again the fine folks at the Web Standards Project are helping us all move the industry forward, this time with the launch of their DOM Scripting Task Force as announced in their buzz archive today.

"The skillset of a front end programmer is a three-legged stool: structure (XHTML) is the first leg, presentation (CSS) the second, and behavior (DOM Scripting) the third," said Peter-Paul Koch, a prominent scripting expert and one of the founders of the task force. "These three legs should be equal, but at the moment the behavior leg is the shortest, least-valued and least-understood of the three, even though the DOM has been a W3C specification for seven years and enjoys relatively solid browser support."

They have a press release, a manifesto, and of course a website.

These topics aren't anything new necessarily, but it's good to see more and more developers picking up the torch. For more reading on this/these topics, check out these other posts from my blog: The Behavior Layer, Unobtrusively, and Semantic Markup - Create, Support and Extract.

If you eat and breath these topics, please send me your resume.

Posted by Nate Koechley on July 18, 2005 at 12:25 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Design, Engineering, Layered Semantic Markup, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.06.27

Rendering CSS Efficiently - Insider Tips from Safari

I just came drown from altitude in the Himalayas, so I'm admittedly pretty far behind in my technology reading, email maintenance and blogging. That said, in beginning to catch up I came across this complex and interesting post from David Hyatt on his Surfin' Safari blog. For those of you that have been paying attention, Hyatt is a leading browser developer, having worked on Gecko at AOL, and in his current position largely responsible for the magic in Safari and Web Core.

His post deals with the challenges of rendering CSS:

One of the most interesting problems (to me at least) in browser layout engines is how to implement a style system that can determine the style information for elements on a page efficiently.

Hyatt has created a new, more efficient algorithm for doing this (and a few other related things). For the algorithm to work, it checks ten features of each DOM node. I'm blogging this because it presents a new optimization opportunity for web developers. By being mindful of these 10 items, and not needlessly failing the 10 tests, we'll take advantage of these new rending efficiencies in Safari. These aren't revolutionary steps, but there are situations where they will certainly be the tie-breaker between alternate approaches.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order for this sharing to be possible:

  1. The elements must be in the same mouse state (e.g., one can't be in :hover while the other isn't)
  2. Neither element should have an id
  3. The tag names should match
  4. The class attributes should match
  5. The set of mapped attributes must be identical
  6. The link states must match
  7. The focus states must match
  8. Neither element should be affected by attribute selectors, where affected is defined as having any selector match that uses an attribute selector in any position within the selector at all
  9. There must be no inline style attribute on the elements
  10. There must be no sibling selectors in use at all. WebCore simply throws a global switch when any sibling selector is encountered and disables style sharing for the entire document when they are present. This includes the + selector and selectors like :first-child and :last-child.

In web development there are often 6 different similar ways to do the same thing. What makes a good web developer is continually choosing the best of nearly-indistinguishable paths. These insider tips from Hyatt give us a more complete understanding of the guts of the browsers, and will help us choose the best methods.

Read about it in his own words here: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt/archives/2005_05.html#007507

Posted by Nate Koechley on June 27, 2005 at 12:42 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Layered Semantic Markup, Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.03.30

Yahoo! 360 Launch, with Overview and Thoughts

Yahoo! 360 launched and began its invitation-only beta period today. Yahoo! 360 is a new product that allows you to easily share stuff with the circles of people in your life. It's a social site, letting your connect with family, friends, friends-of-friends, and new people with whom you share interests.

Eric has a nice post up called Why 360 is not a Blog, and Jason has some good comments on target audience complete with a plea to invite your mom. Troutgirl wrote a thoughtful piece too that's well worth reading.

So far I've been very impressed. I guess I'm what Jason has called a capital-W Weblogger of sorts, but I recognize that this service is for a different part of my online life. Not necessarily a place to build my career, forward the Debate, or even publish my complex travelog, it's instead a great place to spend time, share things frivolous and intimate with friends and family, and benefit from my off-line connection online.

I can only imagine that this will spread its reach and therefor its value. Already you can share quick blast messages and longer blog (or journal) entries, as well as personal messaging. Photo sharing is integrated, as well as your music from Yahoo! Music LaunchCast station. Groups are there, and definitely some other things I'm forgetting about right now.

One of my early favorites though is over in Yahoo! Local (the web's best yellow pages and location based search). Here you can see your relationship to the authors of user reviews for things including restaurants, parks, dentists and mechanics. If you look around the Yahoo! network it's easy to see many sites where Y~360 may add significant value. As I said in the comments on Troutgirl's entry, I can definitely imagine sending a message to a friend (or friend-of-a-friend) that's written a review to ask follow-up questions on restaurants, dentists and mechanics.

All and all, I offer an unqualified congratulations to the entire 360 team: Well done.

(And it's LSM too! With Progressive Enhancement and Unobtrusive Javascript!)

Let me know if you're interested in an Invite, I still have a few left.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 30, 2005 at 12:31 AM in Blogging, RSS, Layered Semantic Markup, Photos, Social Networking and Community, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

2005.03.16

Yahoo! Research Labs Buzz Game

Yahoo! Research Labs and O'Reilly Media Collaborate to Introduce Tech Buzz Game, Inviting Participants to Predict Future Technology Trends Based on Popularity of Yahoo! Search Terms

The Tech Buzz Game is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. As a player, your goal is to predict how popular various technologies will be in the future. Popularity or buzz is measured by Yahoo! Search frequency over time. Predictions are made by buying virtual stock in the products or technologies you believe will succeed, and selling stock in the technologies you think will flop. In other words, you "put your play money where your mouth is.

At the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference today, Yahoo's principal scientist Dr Gary Flake announced, among other things, the Tech Buzz Game, which "leverages search query volume and frequency on Yahoo! Search" and puts that "buzz" in play in a stock market model. Using the 10,000 in play money that you get with a free game username, you can buy and sell shares of technology concepts like "bittorrent", "podcasting", "Macintosh Tiger", "yahoo photos" and other things. Things terms are broken down into markets, which as each zero-sum-game distinct markets "Browser Wars", "Mobile Development Environments ", and "Rumor Mill".

Check out this and more at the new Yahoo Research Labs site that launched in conjunction with the ETech conference. You can also read up on this year's ETech Conference, or read the Tech Buzz Game's press release.

(By the way, as of this writing I'm in 9th place on the game's leaderboard - out of 697 currently. We'll see if my beginner's luck holds out.)

buzz-game-2005031601-9th

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 16, 2005 at 01:24 AM in Blogging, RSS, Events, Layered Semantic Markup, Pop Culture, Sandbox Stuff, Ugly Experiments, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.18

Evolution vs Revolution in Web Standards

CNet's Paul Festa filed a story today, Fight over 'forms' clouds future of Net applications, with a subhead of "As Net heavyweights vie to define the next generation of Web applications, the Web's main standards body is facing a revolt within its own ranks over electronic forms, a cornerstone of interactive documents."

The article sheds some light on the WHAT-WG, as well as some of the players in this general saga. The most interesting section to me:

WHAT-WG members say the forms dispute illustrates a larger conflict over whether the W3C should proceed in a "revolutionary" mode, tackling problems from square one and coming up with technically elegant solutions--even if that results in the loss of backward-compatibility with older browsers--or an "evolutionary" mode, maintaining older technologies like HTML 4 and extending the usefulness of current browsing software.

I also enjoyed Steven Pemberton's comments:

"The WHAT approach works OK for small examples," Pemberton said. "But actors like the Department of Defense say 'no scripting.'"

And:

"I understand where WHAT is coming from, but they are browser makers, not forms experts," Pemberton said. "It is important to build something that is future-proof and not a Band-Aid solution. Forms (technology) is the basis of the e-commerce revolution and so it is important to do it right."

[All emphasis mine.]

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 18, 2005 at 01:56 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Engineering, Layered Semantic Markup, Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.15

News from the World Wide Web Consortium

For better or worse, I only catch up on my W3 reading every month or so. That said, here's the stuff that caught my eye recently:

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 15, 2005 at 04:58 PM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Engineering, Layered Semantic Markup, References, Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.09

Semantic Markup - Create, Support and Extract

Semantic Data Extractor

As Kevin Ryan pointed out at work yesterday, the W3's Semantic Data Extractor is a pretty sweet tool. I've been steadily promoting Layered Semantic Markup at work -- the importance of meaningful markup as the core of web development. This is a great tool to show that value, and remind that the reason you put meaning in is to get meaning out.

The tool tries to extract information from a semantically-rich HTML document. It only uses information available through the good usage of the semantics provided by HTML. “The aim is to show that providing semantically rich HTML gives much more value to your code: using semantically rich HTML allows a better use of CSS, and makes your HTML intelligible to a wider range of user agents (especially search engines bots).”

To see it in action, check out the new next.yahoo.com page. The Extractor handles it pretty well, showing a clear document hierarchy.

What is Layered Semantic Markup?

Today’s Wrong Solution is Tomorrow’s Constraint

Layered Semantic Markup (LSM) is not a technology, but a framework comprised of HTML, XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Javascript, DOM and other Web technologies. LSM allows for appropriately implemented principles and standards.

LSM is a development framework for creating Web documents and experiences. LSM builds for the least capable devices first, then enhances those documents with separate logic for presentation, in ways that do not place an undue burden on baseline devices but which allow a richer experience for those users with modern graphical browser software. LSM supports all user agents, and is inclusive by design. (Progressive Enhancement - Unobtrusive Javascript)

LSM has structural semantic markup at its core, which provides lean, meaningful, accessible pages. This well-built core and the clear separation of structural, presentational and behavioral layers make this development philosophy superior to many short-sighted approaches.

Today’s wrong solution is tomorrow’s constraint. A holistic vision - an underlying philosophy - must guide technical decisions. LSM provides the strategy for a sound and future-ready approach.

LSM embraces Graded Browser Support by using one markup document, subsequently layered with stylesheets and scripts that provide a gradually enhanced experience across a wide variety of browsers and devices.

This approach has profound advantages over other browser support approaches such as graceful degradation. Graded Browser Support recognizes that advanced technology support is not a guarantee of the future, and that legacy software as well as alternative devices (mobile) must always be considered. Graded Browser Support defines support in terms of current capabilities, not in terms of legacy or obsolete software; it embraces accessibility, universality, and peaceful coexistence with more feature-rich browsers/devices; and it allows for adoption of new technology and strategies without leaving any browser/device behind.

Credits

This work is heavily influenced and contains directly passages from Debra Chamra's "Progressive Enhancement: Paving the Way for Future Web Design", Steven Champeon and Nick Finck's presentation "Inclusive Web Design For the Future with Progressive Enhancement", and Steven Champeon's "Progressive Enhancement and the Future of Web Design", all of which may be found here.

Thanks also to the great people who have endlessly debated and developed these topics with me: James Berry, Sean Imler, Todd Kloots, Jon Koshi, Mike Lee, Thomas Sha, Matt Sweeney, Chanel Wheeler, and Christina Wodtke; and everybody else; and to everybody who puts their ideas online so that others may be inspired. Thanks.

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 9, 2005 at 03:22 PM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Design, Engineering, Idea, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Layered Semantic Markup, References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Visual Design, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

2004.10.22

Douglas Bowman's presentation from Web Essentials 2004 in Sydney

Doug Bowman, of Stopdesign and adaptive path, famous for the Blogger and Wired News redesigns, posts his great presentation Pushing Your Limits (And Other Secrets of Designing with CSS) from the Web Essentials 2004 conference in Sydney.

It's a great presentation, and beautiful too. Whether you know your CSS or not, it's well worth a click-through.

Posted by Nate Koechley on October 22, 2004 at 04:01 PM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Design, Events, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Layered Semantic Markup, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2004.10.20

Accessibility Conference slides

Slides are up from the accessibility Conference at the University of Central Lancashire from 2004-06-23.

Speakers include:

Bob Regan - Macromedia Inc.
"Accessibility in Rich Media for the Web"
With the growing importance of rich media and multimedia on the web, it is important for educators to address issues of accessibility. This presentation looks at accessibility in the context of rich media, providing an overview of standards, common concerns and remedies to everyday issues. Real life examples will be used to provide a context for the issues presented.
Breeze Presentation + Slides

Jim Byrne - Making Connections Unit
"What is an accessible website?"
Examining common definitions of accessible web design, and discussing their practical implications for web ublishers/designers. By looking at accessible web design from the producers point of view (i.e., taking into account the reality of limited time and resources), and not just concentrating on consumer needs, we can derive some important practical lessons to help us in produce accessible sites. This approach leads to more flexibility, which (ironically) meets the needs of a greater number of end users.
Breeze Presentation (followed by Zoe Neumann) + Slides

Zoe Neumann - RNIB
"Is it legal? You decide..."
In this session, I will recap the requirements of SENDA and present some e-learning experiences students have described. The audience will consider the experiences and vote on the legality of the provision, how beneficial adjustments can be made and ponder "inclusion".
Breeze Presentation (Preceded by Jim Byrne) + Slides + Transcript of slide 21

Posted by Nate Koechley on October 20, 2004 at 10:35 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Events, Layered Semantic Markup, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack