2005.04.07

Three Weeks of W3C

Below are pointers to about a dozen activites coming out of the World Wide Web Consortium over the last three weeks. You can follow along on their homepage or with their feed. Standards-based design and development can be about more than using existing standards; in the best cases, it's about helping to create the standards in the first place! By being aware of the work underway at the W3C, you can have a good sense of where the industry and technologies are going, even if you don't get your hands dirty in any of the working groups.

Three Weeks Worth


Working Draft: SVG's XML Binding Language (sXBL)

2005-04-06: The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group and the CSS Working Group have released a third Working Draft of SVG's XML Binding Language (sXBL). The sXBL language defines the presentation and interactive behavior of elements outside the SVG namespace. The XBL task force welcomes comments and seeks feedback on three issues outlined in the status section. Visit the SVG and CSS home pages. (News archive)

Last Call: XQuery, XPath and XSLT

2005-04-04: The XML Query Working Group and the XSL Working Group released twelve Working Drafts for the XQuery, XPath and XSLT languages. Seven are in last call through 13 May. Important for databases, search engines and object repositories, XML Query can perform searches, queries and joins over collections of documents. XSLT transforms documents into different markup or formats. Both XQuery and XSLT 2 use XPath expressions and operate on XPath Data Model instances. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-04-04: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Web Services Addressing

2005-03-31: The Web Services Addressing Working Group has released two Last Call Working Drafts. Web Services Addressing - Core enables messaging systems to support transmission through networks that include processing nodes such as endpoint managers, firewalls, and gateways. SOAP Binding defines the core properties' association to SOAP messages. Visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

XML Binary Characterization Notes Published

2005-03-31: The XML Binary Characterization Working Group has released its evaluation, recommending that W3C produce a standard for binary interchange of XML. Published today as a Working Group Note, XML Binary Characterization is supported by use cases, properties and measurement methodologies. Optimized serialization can improve the generation, parsing, transmission and storage of XML-based data. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Upcoming W3C Talks

2005-03-31: Browse W3C presentations and events also available as an RSS channel. (News archive)

Last Call: XML Schema Component Designators

2005-03-29: The XML Schema Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of XML Schema: Component Designators. Comments are welcome through 26 April. The document defines a scheme for identifying the XML Schema components specified by the XML Schema Recommendation Part 1 and Part 2. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability

2005-03-29: The Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of A Survey of RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability Proposals. The document is a starting point for establishing standard guidelines for combined usage of the W3C RDF/OWL family and the ISO family of Topic Maps standards. The group expects to publish Survey and Guidelines Working Group Notes based on this draft. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements Updated

2005-03-25: The RDF Data Access Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements. The draft suggests how an RDF query language and data access protocol could be used in the construction of novel, useful Semantic Web applications in areas like Web publishing, personal information management, transportation and tourism. The group invites feedback on which features are required for a first version of SPARQL and which should be postponed in order to expedite deployment of others. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

C

all for Participation: W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences

2005-03-23: Position papers are due 20 May for the W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences to be held 21-22 June in Redwood Shores, California, USA. Schema authors and users, developers and vendors of schema-aware code generators, middleware, validators, and the W3C XML Schema Working Group will gather to discuss user experience with XML Schema 1.0. The workshop goal is to arrive at plan of action for XML Schema 1.0 interoperability, errata and clarification. Read about W3C workshops and visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-21: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Comments are welcome through 11 April. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-03-15: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-14: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Call for Participation: W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services

2005-02-10: Position papers are due 22 April for the W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services to be held 9-10 June in Innsbruck, Austria. Participants will discuss possible future W3C work on a comprehensive and expressive framework for describing all aspects of Web services. The workshop's goal is to envision more powerful tools and fuller automation using Semantic Web technologies such as RDF and OWL. Read about W3C workshops and visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

Posted by Nate Koechley on April 7, 2005 at 01:15 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, News, References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools, Web Development, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.04.06

More Mac, More Firefox

John Battelle points to the updated Yahoo! toolbar and let's out a big "Yeeeehaw!" because it supports Mac users via Firefox.

Those involved in promoting standards-based developments are happy with each of these wins that directly benefit users. Way to go Yahoo! Toolbar.

Posted by Nate Koechley on April 6, 2005 at 03:44 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Web Development, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.03.31

Yahoo isn't just back in the game - it's winning.

Ben Hammersley writes an interesting piece in the Guardian today titled Second Sight. It's well worth reading, and looks at recent developments from Yahoo and Google, and reports that "Google, it seems, has jumped the shark." His conclusion is that it's "Three-nil to Yahoo." Give it a read, I think you'll be impressed, and probably find out some things about each company that go against the prevailing PR winds.

Yahoo is the new Google. Google is the new Yahoo. Up is down, and black is white. This spring has been very strange. Google, it seems, has jumped the shark. It has been overtaken, left standing, and not by some new startup of ultra smart MIT alumni or by the gazillions in the Microsoft development budget, but by the deeply unhip and previously discounted Yahoo.

The article provides a good overview of recent Yahoo activity, including the Yahoo Search API, research.yahoo.com (and next.yahoo.com), live traffic conditions on Yahoo! Maps, a gig of storage on Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! 360, Flickr, and even the quietly released Creative Commons search on Yahoo!: http://search.yahoo.com/cc

Update: Danny Sullivan, Editor of the premier search industry publication, released their 5th Annual Search Engine Watch Awards today, and for the first time Yahoo! Search takes first place, bumping Google to second.Remember what I said about prevailing winds, and hold onto your hat.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 31, 2005 at 11:30 AM in Design, Engineering, News, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.03.23

Information Esthetics (i.e.)

Lecture Series One: March–July, 2005

If I was in New York this spring, I'd definitely check out some of these lectures. Looks excellent, and these topics and critical as unfathomable amounts of information continue to be made available to the world.

Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject's nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.

Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has organized a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that's not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers' minds as much as their eyes and hearts.

The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we'll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.

The lectures will take place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 565 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They are free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and start promptly at 6:00pm on these dates:

  • Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout

    The distinguished Mr. Bringhurst is perhaps the most recognized typographer, a published poet, and the author of the fundamental contemporary work on typography: “Elements of Typographic Style.” http://www.typebooks.org/i-r_bringhurst.htm

  • Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing

    Dr. Donath's group at the MIT Media Lab studies intriguing social interactions and produces some of the loveliest and clearest visual representations of these complex systems. She is a well-read and careful observer of fine art. http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith

  • Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices

    Dr. Selker focuses on putting intelligence into everyday objects: his invention of the eraser-like IBM Trackpoint device transformed laptop keyboards throughout the industry. His MIT media Lab group continues to expand those explorations. http://web.media.mit.edu/~selker

  • Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting

    Ms. Strausfeld is a partner in Pentagram, the respected New York design firm. Her dense, readable information displays are well structured, visually rich, and intellectually satisfying. http://www.pentagram.com/people-strausfeld.htm

  • Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis

    Mr. Buxton is a musician, mountain climber, and interaction designer; former Chief Scientist of Silicon Graphics; and a well-known and controversial computer interface expert. He owns an art gallery in Toronto with his wife and has been developing user interfaces explicitly for designers for over a decade. http://www.billbuxton.com

  • Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception

    Dr. Rensink is one of the world's experts on “Change Blindness” a feature of the human visual system that allows major changes to happen unnoticed right in front of one's eyes, allowing (among other things) magic performances to work. He studies human perception, discovering and sharing principles useful in design. http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink

  • Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets

    Dr. Munzner specializes in information visualization: showing complexities in subjects that range from genetically-determined phylogenetic evolutionary trees to environmental sustainability. Her work is informed by an eye developed under her art-teacher father, and often reveals structure more clearly as a result. http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm

This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum by producer/curator Nina Colosi, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal, Web site supervision by Perry Metzger, and (soon) graphic design by Warren Kemp. Please contact i.e.director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on our mailing list, or otherwise participate.

If you go, please point me to your notes!

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 23, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Design, Events, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Knowledge & Content Management, Location: New York City, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2005.03.17

[Invites] Filangy - Your Personal Search Engine

Filangy is a personal search engine. There are a few startups and companies playing in this space right now, but Filangy is my early favorite. Other's have written about it, including John Battelle's Search Blog, Larry Borsato, and a thorough write-up on Rob's Blog. (You can always check the latest murmurings by running a Technorati search.

Filangy is an intelligent search tool integrated with a search engine to make searching productive. We offer features that allow users to personalize their search experience. Two of the features that we have launched in our beta products are WebMarks and WebCache.
WebCache
This is a secure, web-enabled archive of all your visited webpages.
WebMarks
These are your portable favorites that are accessible from anywhere.

In other words, Filangy captures every page you visit (while it's enabled -- its' easy to pause it if you're feeling secretive), and also allows for instantaneous bookmarking while you're on a page. When you use Filangy to search, you can limit it to either of these groups: pages you've been on before; pages you've bookmarked.

I've got a few extra invites. Leave a comment or send me an email if you'd like one of them. Please include a sentence or two on the root of your curiosity and why you'll be a good recipient. (I just want to make sure that, like extra pets, they're going to good homes.)

Like most of my favorite apps these days, the value of the services is only slowly revealed. The more you use it, the more help it's able to provide. The more you use it, the more advanced features on the interface become visible... While it's somewhat counter-intuitive to hide value initially, this wonder and dare-i-say glee of discovery pays huge dividends. Anyways, let me know what you think if you've been using it, and like I said, let me know if you need an invite.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 17, 2005 at 03:26 PM in Gadgets, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2005.03.16

Total Recall -- Desktop Search Products Reviewed

PC Magazine has a nice review of the desktop search space.

Desktop search tools really can make our lives easier, and since so many of them are free, there's little reason not to give one a try. Your mailbox isn't getting any more manageable, your hard drive isn't getting emptier, and after all, finding something on the PC right in front of you should be as easy as finding something on the Web.

And, I'm happy to spoil with their conclusion: "Our favorite, Yahoo! Desktop Search, is actually based on the same core software as the $75 X1 Desktop Search, and it offers almost all the same features." (The main feature that Yahoo! didn't pick up in their free version of X1 is the ability to index email outside of Outlook, specifically Eudora and Mozilla/Thunderbird.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 16, 2005 at 10:30 AM in Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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

2005.02.17

Send driving direction to your phone on Yahoo

Send driving direction to your phone on Yahoo
Originally uploaded by natekoechley.

Following quickly on the SMS Clipping feature, Yahoo! Maps this week quietly launched a new feature that lets you quickly send driving directions to your mobile phone via SMS text message.

Brilliant. Give it a test drive.


Posted by Nate Koechley on February 17, 2005 at 03:29 AM in Gadgets, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | 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

2005.02.08

Analyze HTTP Headers and Smart Keyword Search with Firefox

There are several good ways to check out a file's HTTP headers. Tonight I was using http://www.forret.com/projects/analyze/, which is just a simple web form that you enter your URL into.

I know there are more snazzy ways, including Firefox's great extension LiveHTTPHeaders, but sometimes an always-available web page is a fine solution. And, while I totally love the ability to extend and modify Firefox with the ever-growing supply of extensions, I've been trying to keep my browser as lean as possible by only installing ones I really need. For services that require a query to be submitted -- a map request, dictionary lookup, feed subscription or web search -- I've been opting lately to set up Keyword Search in Firefox (as I described several months ago).

(In addition to having less extensions, I find it's just significantly faster to trigger these actions form the keyboard.)

With a few keyword shortcut's set up, my hands are liberated from the mouse to the efficiency and speed of the keyboard. My browser begins to resemble a command line interface. In addition to my newest, headers http://www.yahoo.com, I use these others constantly:

sub http://natek.typepad.com
subscribed to a feed -- fastest possible way to subscribe to an rss feed with bloglines (please don't ruin bloglines Ask!)
ys northern california hiking trails
returns Yahoo Search results page -- 100s of times a day.
wiki Thomas Frank
returns Wikipedia encyclopedia entry -- lots of info types are best answered by an encyclopedia
map [[701 N First Ave, 94089]
returns a Yahoo Maps -- always need for a map
dic efficiency
returns dictionary.com definition
the excitement
returns thesaurus.com entry
by natek
returns my company's intranet (backyard) results -- for looking up coworkers
amaz Talib Kweli
returns Amazon search results -- to grab a book cover or album track listing
imdb War of the Worlds
returns an Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) search
how to change your car's oil
returns detailed instructions from ehow.com
techno mobilemonday.com
returns blogosphere info on who's talking about http://www.mobilemonday.com/ right now?

Did you notice the ones for Bloglines (sub)? It's great. I am generally motivated to subscribe to some feed while in the midst of being excited or engaged by the content. This time of highest engagement is the time when you least want to interrupt the session to go subscribe -- this shortcut allows me to nearly-instantly subscribe in the heat on the moment.

(In case you're curious, I was looking at headers tonight to verify that the file expiration dates were distant, so that the files would be cached by the client until then.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 8, 2005 at 02:33 AM in Blogging, RSS, Browsers, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Idea, My life..., References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack