Archived entries for Hmmm...

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 EnhancementUnobtrusive 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.

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.)

The Conceptual Age

Wirer magazine continues to generate some of the most thought provoking writing around. While not as personally influential as The Long Tail, the current issue’s article “Revenge of the Right Brain” by Daniel H. Pink is a good read.

The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we’ve often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.

The Information Age has unleashed a prosperity that in turn places a premium on less rational sensibilities – beauty, spirituality, emotion. For companies and entrepreneurs, it’s no longer enough to create a product, a service, or an experience that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. In an age of abundance, consumers demand something more. … Try explaining a designer garbage pail to the left side of your brain!

We’ve progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we’re progressing yet again – to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.

Hat tip: Havi

How Big Is Your Footprint?

“Ever wondered how much “nature” your lifestyle requires? You’re about to find out.”

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 4.3 PLANETS.

What’s your footprint?

We the People: Women and Men in the United States

I totally love that soooo much data floats around freely these days, thanks to the Web. Even when it doesn’t related to me personally, I like thinking that it’s perfect and crucial for somebody’s interests. Today’s example is a special report on Women from the US Census Bureau (via).

Some Factoids

  • Men outnumber women through age 34; Women outnumber men after age 34, increasing with age.
  • In 1970, 36 percent of women 20 to 24 and 12 percent of women 25 to 29 had not married. By 2000, the proportions rose to 69 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
  • Married-couple households dropped from 69 percent of all households in 1970 to 53 percent in 2000.
  • A greater percentage of women graduate high school. I greater percentage of men graduate college.
  • A greater percentage of men than women are in the workforce.
  • 47% of the workforce was female in 2000, up from 37% in 1970.
  • The % of women in the workforce did not increase for Construction, Extraction, and Maintenance industries.
  • Women continue to earn less than men. [Surprisingly to me,] Black, Hispanic and Other women earn 85% of mens pay, while White women earn only 70%.
  • Poverty: 13.5% of the female population; 11.2% of the male population.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Green Polluters?

Gas-Guzzling SUVs with “Keep Tahoe Blue” Bumper Stickers

tahoestore_1812_808866

My commute takes my up and down Highway 101 between Silicon Valley and San Francisco. If you share that commute, I’m sure you’ve seen that which Jeremy vents about.

While I might grudgingly grant that some use their SUVs legitimately (but unnecessarily), that doesn’t excuse them when they’re on 101 North.

If you read the comments over on his post, it sounds like the bad gas mileage of the worst offenders (Hummers) make the slightly-less-bad gas mileage of non-Hummer SUVs seem reasonable, or even responsible to owners.

Others being worse doesn’t make you good.



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