Archived entries for Engineering

Speaking at Web Design World in Chicago

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be giving two presentations at the Web Design World conference in Chicago in May. My first session, the plenary on Tuesday, defines and discusses Professional Frontend Engineering. The second explores way to enhance web sites with the YUI Library. (Full descriptions of both talks below.)

Speaking at Web Design World, Chicago, May 5-7 2008

You can save up to $300 on registration when you register online (or via 800-280-6218) and use my special promo code SPKOE. Plus, using that code is worth a couple drinks on me after the sessions!

Here are longer descriptions of the two sessions. I’m still creating both of them, so please feel free to leave a comment below with feedback or requests for stuff you’d like to hear about.

Professional Frontend Engineering

“In 2001, most web developers simply pushed pixels. The Web was pieced together by print designers and back-end engineers – almost no one was deeply focused on the front-end. Today, in 2008, as front-end engineers we author complex and efficient software and bend reluctant browsers to our will. And we are broadly recognized and respected as a first-order engineering specialization.

In this talk, I will define the characteristics and important practices of our discipline. I’ll discuss the key challenges we still face. And I’ll offer 13 tactical tips from the front lines that you can put into practice today.”

Enhancing Web Sites with the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library

“YUI is chock full of more than 40 utilities, widgets and tools that make web development and browser-wrangling less painful for small personal sites and heavy-duty industry-leading applications alike. This all-new talk covers what’s new in 2008 (lots), what’s coming next (some very cool stuff), and some practical tips from the trenches. If you’re a seasoned YUI pro, you’ll learn about hidden features and optimization tips. If you’ve never heard of YUI, you’ll learn how to get started. And if you use a different library, you’ll learn about YUI’s library-agnostic tools for things like compression, profiling and unit testing. It’s gonna be fun.”

Meet Up?

I’m looking forward to meeting designers and developers from all around Chicagoland. Please drop me a comment or email if you’re gonna be at the show — or even just in the area — and want to catch up for a drink or dinner. (I’m also planning on being in Madison, Wisconsin — my hometown — the weekend before the conference. So give me a shout if you’re in that neck of the woods.

The Details

See you there!

The 34-Blade Razor from Yahoo!

Congratulations to my friend and colleague Stoyan Stefanov for the publication of Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs after presenting them at the PHP Quebec Conference in Montreal last week. The 20 new tips bring to 34 the total performance tips his team at Yahoo! has published in the past two years.

Stoyan (who authors the phpied.com blog) is part of an established tradition of Yahoo! sharing performance research publicly and widely. Stoyan’s teammate Tenni Theurer concluded the official blog post announcing these data and findings by saying, “We share our findings so that others can join us in accelerating the user experience on the web.”

I agree. That’s why I was honored to help disperse their 14 Rules for Faster Web Sites in my presentation at the @Media conference in London last year.

And that’s why it was a special honor to write the foreward to Steve Souders’ High Performance Web Sites book for O’Reilly last year. (Steve used to head up the Performance team at Yahoo!.) In the foreward I tried to express why performance matters to professional frontend engineers:

Here is why it matters. As a frontend engineer, you hold a tremendous amount of power and responsibility. You’re the users’ last line of defense. The decisions you make directly shape their experience. I believe our number one job is to take care of them and to give them what they want—quickly. This book is a toolbox to create happy users (and bosses, too). Best of all, once you put these techniques in place—in most cases, a one-time tweak—you’ll be reaping the rewards far into the future.

Read more about Yahoo!’s Latest Performance Breakthroughs on the Yahoo! Developer Network site.

Data Ocean vs Document Lake

Friend and Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN) Director Matt McAlister has a good post today on Creating leverage at the data layer.

Matt cites Tim Berners-Lee from a recent interview saying that the future of the web is one where we and our agents “can access all the data” via a “much more seamless and much more powerful” interface and experience made possible “because [of] integration.”

That’s different than how it’s been. Documents are a subset of Data. The Web has been a lake of Documents. It is becoming an ocean of Data.

We’ve surfed the lake of documents with a web browser. But a web browser is not always the right tool for the ocean of data. One of many examples is that many people consumer Twitter via a desktop client like twitterific or twhirl. In fact only 45% of recent messages (of people I follow) were posted via the web interface. It’s not a stretch to conclude that a majority of twitter users have determined that there is a better way to interact with twitter’s data than with a web browser. (If not the stats, then certainly the trend.)

I see that as evidence that A) some new interfaces are required for some new types of data; and that B) the web has interesting data to consume outside of a browser.

In the same vein, Matt writes that “Social networks are a good user interface for distributed data, much like web browsers became a good interface for distributed documents.” He’s right: social networks are a great way to consume the so-called vitality stream.

Moving on he writes that the markets and technologies supporting this new world “are still in very early stages.” His notion that “there’s lots of room for someone to create an open advertising marketplace for information, a marketplace where access to data can be obtained in exchange for ad inventory, for example” is important.

There’s more good stuff in his post, but I gotta get back to my other work. I didn’t even mean to write this much about it — so i’ll stop now and let you head over there if you want – but I’ve got a bit more that I’m mulling that I’ll try follow up with.

Presenting YUI at OSDC.TW in Taipei

It’s just been confirmed and announced that I’ll be speaking in Taiwan at the Open Source Developers’ Conference on the 12th and 13th of April 2008, on the campus of the School Of Continuing Education, Chinese Culture University in Taipei. My talk will offer an insider’s tour of the YUI Library:

The YUI Library is an open-source, a la carte JavaScript library for building richly interactive Web apps using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML, and AJAX. This library, free for the world to use, is the exact same code that is used globally and at massive scale on scores of Yahoo! sites. In this session, Yahoo!’s Nate Koechley will talk (and answer questions) about the design and technical philosophies behind YUI. You’ll learn what the library can do for you, where it’s heading, why and how Yahoo! decided to open-source it, and how you can use it to provide an outstanding user experience for your visitors.

OSDC.TW 2008 時間

在經過最後確認之後,我們已經正式公佈 OSDC.TW 2008 的時間跟地點:

時間:2008/4/12-13
地點:中國文化大學推廣教育部博愛校區 – 大新館

Crockford on Fixing HTML

Douglas Crockford has a plan for Fixing HTML. I think it makes sense. His proposal is a static document, but comments are collected on his related blog post.

In the comments you’ll see a few issues pop up (empties, quotes, get-bys), but after further reflection I think they are without merit.

Carbon Neutral Purple

I know there’s a bit of a backlash against Green because its so trendy lately, but I can easily put that aside and be happy that things are changing. That takes on special meaning today because I just saw that Yahoo! is quickly following promises with real action, and making what seem to be excellent, well-researched green choices.

When Yahoo! committed to going carbon neutral in April, we knew it would be a global initiative. … After much due diligence, Yahoo! has decided to offset its 250 thousand metric ton carbon footprint from 2006 through hydropower in rural Brazil and wind turbines in India. We’ve partnered with EcoSecurities and CantorCO2e, who helped us source, vet, and execute these projects.

(Some are still skeptical about carbon offsets, but I see any step as a great early step.)



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