Archived entries for References

New stuff from Yahoo! Developer Network

Blatent plug for work stuff here: I wanted you, my readers, to be amongst the first to hear that we’ve just released lots of new and improved stuff this evening. These three blog posts on will get you started:

Now you’re ready to head over to YDN for all the details:

Two other things to point out. First, we’ve included CSS packages in this release for the first time, specifically CSS Grids, CSS Fonts and CSS Reset. The second thing, beyond the cool code and design stuff, is that we’ve moved our code distribution and public bug tracking to SourceForge. This will, I believe, be an important step forward for us. Check it all out and let me know what you think.

The future of HTML, in two parts, from IBM Developer Works

I’m not sure how I missed these two articles, one from 2005.12.06 and the other from 2006.01.25. They are both writen by Edd Dumbill, Chair, XTech Conference, and are cross-published to the XML and Web architecture sections of IBM’s developerWorks site.

In these two articles, I’ve presented the salient points of both WHATWG’s HTML 5 and the W3C’s XHTML 2.0. The two initiatives are quite different: The grassroots-organised WHATWG aims for a gently incremental enhancement of HTML 4 and XHTML 1.0, whereas the consortium-sponsored XHTML 2.0 is a comprehensive refactoring of the HTML language.

I recommend reading both (though perhaps start with the second), because together they’re a authoratative, thorough and current introduction/summary of where we are today and where we’re going. If your development practice involves thoughful consideration of your markup layer – and it definitely should – they you’ll want to know this stuff.

They quickly cover significant ground, offering concise overviews of W3C & WHATWG, HTML 5 & XHTML 2.0, some specifics like canvas, Web Forms 2.0, XForms, Web APIs, and Web Application Formats, and make a strong case for “Why XHTML 2.0?”.

Yahoo! User Interface Library

It lives! I’ve been pushing and planning for this since last summer, and I couldn’t be more excited. Nor could I be happier with the response we’ve received so far from all of you. Thanks for the encouragement and all the kind words.

What am I talking about? About nine hours ago we publicly released and open-sourced two cool previously-internal libraries, a companion blog, and an article on Graded Browser Support that I authored:

Yahoo! User Interface Library – Industrial-grade JavaScript for DHTML and Ajax. The same libraries that power Yahoo! today.

Yahoo! Design Patterns Library – Our thinking and solutions on common interface design issues.

Yahoo! User Interface Blog – News and Articles about Designing and Developing with Yahoo! Libraries (rss)

Graded Browser Support (article) – An inclusive definition of support and a framework for taming the ever-expanding world of browsers and frontend technologies.

If you have any questions, let me know. I’ll be posting more details on the blog throughout the week (and ongoing), but wanted to get the links up now before bed.

For a more thorough introduction and more links, check out the first three posts on

Mozilla Thunderbird Maintenance

I’ve been using Mozilla Thunderbird as my exclusive desktop mail client at home and work for the last six or eight months. It’s been a perfectly capable and full-feature mail client, it’s not part of the Microsoft monopoly, and I like supporting Mozilla.

Several weeks ago though, my home instance started having problem. The indicator was that the Inbox count (the number of messages) was incorrect, and would often rapidly increase to a huge and incorrect number (200,000+ sometimes). Additionally, checking mail found sometimes fail, and the status bar would display incorrect or irrelevant information.

I did a little research and learned that I should be (have been) compacting my folders regularily to prevent mailbox corruption. To do so, highlight a folder or account, and go File > Compact Folders. Check out How to compact folders in Mozilla Thunderbird for all the details.

I tried several times to compact the folders, but either the process would fail or, if compeleted, wouldn’t fix the program. I concluded after research that this indicated the my mailbox data files had become corrupt. The mail data was OK, but the index, or table of contents of that data was corrupt.

Lukily, Thunderbird can easily create a new index file (foo.msf, for Mail Summary File), and will do so automatically if it finds the file missing. After locating my Profile Folder, I deleted all the .msf files that were causing problems. (Actually ALL of ‘em, just to be safe.) There’s a .msf for each of your mail folders, so your number of .msf files will vary — I had a few dozen.

(To be safe, cut-and-paste a copy of your Profile Folder to a safe location before mucking around in your profile.)

With the bad files out of the system, I booted Thunderbird back up and watched as it rebuilt each index file. Problem solved. It’s been working perfectly since.

wg:List – Best Web Development Articles of 2005

Alessandro Fulciniti reported his Top 20 Bookmarks of 2005 on the Web-Graphics blog. Some great stuff, in particular On having layout (a must-read for anybody trying to get CSS to work in browsers). If you’re doing web development or design, I recommend being familiar with all 20 of his list.

Tips for Faster Web Pages

I just stumbled across a nice list of tips for speeding up your web site. At Yahoo! this is job #1, and most of the tricks we use are included in this list: Marcelo Calbucci posted it on his blog in November, but tips like these don’t really get outdated.

Here are the tip titles and some notes from me (in italics), but head over to his site to get all the details:

  • Tip #1: Strip spaces, tabs, CR/LF from the HTML – I think attribute quotes are worth the weight, as they reduce development bugs over time. If possible, use a build process to keep both commented development versions and efficient minimized production versions.
  • Tip #2: Don’t use XHMTL – I tend to agree. From a performance perspective clearly, but controversial in general
  • Tip #3: Keep Cookies Small – yep
  • Tip #4: Keep JavaScript Small – and efficient, and modular
  • Tip #5: Use Public Caching – do it if you can, especially if you’re talkin’ real traffic
  • Tip #6: Enable HTTP Compression – this is often “gzip”, but by any means necessary
  • Tip #7: Keep all as much as possible in lower case – yep, and it’s more forward compatible too
  • Tip #8: Avoid Tables – the rendering problems with tables are the most important reason, and the Web Standards folks agree for semantic reasons
  • Tip #9: Set image size – yep. Does anybody know if this is equally efficiently accomplished in CSS declarations and HTML attributes.
  • Tip #10: Compact your GIF/JPG – always important
  • Tip #11: Reduce the number of external elements – yep, though the details — when to combine small page-specific files into one cross-site file — require a bit of case-by-case examination
  • Tip #12: Use a single DNS Lookup – yep
  • Tip #13: Delay Script Starts – this concept is right, but there are more efficient solutions (that i’ll be writing about in a few weeks)
  • Tip #14: Watch for Memory Leak – extra important in these days of heavy javascript development

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