Archived entries for Engineering

How to Use YUI Grids for Fluid CSS Page Layout

For those of you not reading 24ways each day this month, allow me to point out that I wrote a tutorial for it that’s live right now. It’s called Intricate Fluid Layouts in Three Easy Steps, and teaches you how to build CSS layouts that work on all modern browsers effortlessly using YUI Grids. Enjoy!

Also, I suppose I should let you know that I’m flying out on a redeye flight tonight to start my winter holiday. I hope to write once more before shuttering things, but if I don’t get a chance let me be among the first to wish you a very happy new year.

Web Builder 2.0 Slides

I’m back in my suite at Ceasar’s in Vegas, having just finished presenting my third of three talks at the Web Builder 2.0 conference. Yesterday I presented two talks: my Accessible DHTML talk, and my Yahoo! vs. Yahoo! DHTML Case Studies talk. Today I presented a new talk titled Inside the Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library. All three seemed well received, and it was an honor to have a packed room for each. I met lots of great people, and am looking forward to following up with all the new people I met. (Please drop me a note if I didn’t get your email address!)

The Yahoo! User Interface (YUI) Library

This talk was in four parts: Why we build it; What we built; Why we gave it away; Why you might like using it.

Accessible DHTML

What are some techniques for making modern web interfaces accessible?

Yahoo! vs. Yahoo! – Case Studies of Three Mainstream, Large-Scale Ajax/DHTML Implementations

How do you manage complex object/event interfaces? Memory Management? Data Transportation? Etc.

Web Site Optimization – Part 1

Over on the YUI Blog, Tenni Theurer has just posted part 1 in a series sharing what we’ve found by researching web site optimization. At conferences over the last six months I’ve given hints about some of our research findings, and told you there were more to come, and so I’m especially happy to finally have something to show. The #1 rule of better performance is to reduce HTTP requests. We’ll talk about how and why in future posts, but for now head over and read her first installment:

Performance Research, Part 1: What the 80/20 Rule Tells Us about Reducing HTTP Requests

Dojo 0.4.1 RC2 Just Released

I know how hard it can be to get a release out the door, so I offer my congrats to Dojo on shipping Dojo 0.4.1 RC2 just a few minutes ago.

I wasn’t able to find release notes anywhere, so it will take some time to dig around and see what’s new. (Granted, I didn’t look that hard – but where’s the readme?) There were just a few clues on their blog announcement, but otherwise just grab the download.

Notes on the New YUI Library Update

I hope you already saw the good news over on the YUI Blog: We just released a new version of the YUI Library, bringing it to v0.12. We’ve been releasing updates about monthly, but this is a substantial one with several changes, and moves us beyond the v0.11 branch after several rounds of dot releases at that level.

What’s new in YUI v0.12? Thanks for asking:

  1. Matt Sweeney has contributed a potent new control, TabView, built with the same high-quality thinking obvious in his Dom and Animation utilities. Want to progressively enhance existing markup with useful but unobtrusive JavaScript? Us too. Prefer completely built-from-script controls? No problem. Want the tabs on the top, right, bottom, or left? All supported out of the box. You can populate the tabs with static on-the-page content, or, of course, pull it down on-demand with Ajax. It’s all good.
  2. Adam Moore has completely reworked our generated-docs API documentation system (see the API docs for Dom), and it’s pretty damn slick. It’s much smarter now, and provides richer information cross-linked in more usable ways. Don’t miss the autocomplete-powered search on the API Docs main page. I was happy to read Carson’s comment on the YUIBlog: “[the] new documentation about brought a tear to my eye.”
  3. Steven Peterson revisited his Calendar control in a serious way, and the results are great. In addition to the new and improved multi-calendar interface, he created in-depth tutorial-style examples of YUI Calendar highlighting all the key features and use cases for Calendar (as well as for the entire Container family). There has been more than one question on the ydn-javascript mailing list about how to do this or that with Calendar of Container, and he’s taken many of those and answers them definitively in the new well-written tutorials.
  4. Eric Miraglia did selfless work, as always, to offer some key new features on the YUI site. Don’t miss the YUI Theater, with its ever-growing collection of video lectures and instruction (including great content from Yahoo!’s Douglas Crockford, and Firebug’s Joe Hewitt). On the home page itself, notice the piped-in live content from the mailing list and our blog; I hope that will bring even more people into the conversation. On each component’s landing page, notice one-click access to all the examples from the right column under the component’s cheat sheet. Eric has also brought all the cheat sheets up-to-date to this release; there’s a new cheat sheets for YUI’s CSS foundation files (Reset, Fonts, Grids), and for TabView.
  5. The rest of the team has been busy too. Our director, Thomas Sha, improved Connection so that when you’re uploading files via setForm() and the asyncRequest includes a POST data argument, the appendPostData() method will automagically create hidden input fields for each postData label/value and append each field to the form object. Niiice. Jenny Han modified AutoComplete so that it’s a bit more efficient (always-on container don’t send show and hide events), and a bit more powerful (minQueryLength now supports zero and negative numbers). If the zillion options weren’t enough before, now you’ve got a zillion plus two. Todd Kloots didn’t rest either, and Menu now has more elegant internals, and a bit more functionality exposed.
  6. For my part, I completed a pretty substantial rewiring of YUI Grids. The most exciting change is that Grids now offers Liquid/Fluid Layouts out of the box. At what cost? Just seven-tenths of a kb of new page weight. In addition, there’s more power, more stability, and more flexibility across the board. I’m a big fan of fluid layouts, but if Fluid isn’t your thing this release also has 950px page widths baked in, in addition to the original 750px width. Best of all, if you don’t want to use Fluid or the two preset sizes, it’s super easy to set your own custom width. The Template Presets and Nesting Grids offer the same functionality as always, but they’re a bit more bulletproof now, and they now enjoy spreading their wings within the new page widths. As before, the entire system is in ems and percents, so it breathes with the user’s font size – a favorite accessibility and usability feature of mine. The new system is fully backward-compatible, so give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

I hope you enjoy all the new features in this release. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below, or straight on the ydn-javascript mailing list.

Thanks,
Nate

Hookytime: Yahoo! Developer Day / Hack Day on Sept. 29th and 30th

picture of the event's tshirt logo

I know, I know, you LOVE to go to work/school on a Friday. It’s your favorite day of the week and there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in your office/cube/classroom. That’s cool — I don’t judge — but, but, but next Friday (Sept 29th) you realllly should play hooky and sneak down to Yahoo for our first every public Hack Day and Developer Day. It’s gonna be quite the event, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it. Really, you should come.

Sold? Cool: learn more and request an invitation.

Developer Day, Friday from 9-5, is packed with 20 sessions across four tracks. They are not to be missed: Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP will be giving a talk. So is Iain Lamb, (an Ajax/DHTML pioneer who co-founded Oddpost which evolved into the new Yahoo! Mail product). JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford will be dropping knowledge, as will many others. Web-celeb and Flickr’s chief software architect Cal Henderson will be speaking. The plenary is by none other than Yahoo!’s VP of Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz, (a very rare opportunity to hear him speak [for free]). Most of the authors of the open-source YUI Library will be guilding hands-on sessions dedicated to many YUI components (I’ll be teaching a hands-on session about YUI’s three CSS components.

But that’s not even the cool stuff!

We’ve got top-tier entertainment lined up for Friday night, and while they won’t tell me who it is, Michale Arrington (who’s in the know, and MCing this event) writes:

The entertainment lined up for Friday night is going to be incredible, although a non disclosure agreement prohibits us from saying who it is. I can say with confidence, though, that everyone attending the event will be very, very happy they were there for Friday night’s party.

Then the REAL fun starts: 24 hour hackathon.

Be there! (Tons of press will be, so if you miss it you can read or hear about it the next day.) We’ve got people coming in from Australia and everywhere between here and there, so beg borrow and steal and get yourself here too (You MUST register in advance – security will be tight… for real.)

Drop me a line if you want more info or whatever. Tons of people have blogged about this, so instead of linking to ‘em all I’ll just point you to Technorati: http://technorati.com/search/hackday.org?sort=authority



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