Archived entries for Tools

YUI Party

I blogged this over on the YUIBlog last week (You’re Invited: YUI First Year Party), but figured I’d quickly post a notice here too in case you missed it. There are still a few dozen RSVP slots open, but they probably won’t last long.

If you’re interested in giving a quick five minute demo of something you’ve build with YUI, let me know…

See you there.

teaching the machine

A video called “Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us” is an engaging and enjoyable 4.5 minute non-verbal documentary taking us from ‘pencil’ to ‘Web 2.0′. It adds context to the advances that got us here, and suggests what might yet be in store. At about 03:40, highlights from an August 2005 Wired article, “We Are the Web,” are used to suggest that we are “teaching the machine.” I’m afraid that that notion is still inadequately understood and appreciated.

Perhaps the so-called “social web” isn’t about connecting people (not about helping people socialize), but about information conservation: If a person chooses to do something — no matter how small — it’s inherently interesting, precious, and valuable. We’ve barely started to figure out what to do with this second-generation information. Where we have it’s been exciting, useful, and successful: Flickr’s Interestingness and Clusters, the notion of “watching” on Upcoming, the newer “people who looked at this ultimately bought that” in Amazon, and of course Google’s PageRank. The idea isn’t new, but it’s still under appreciated.

Here’s the paragraph from Wired that surrounds the words used in the video:

And who will write the software that makes this contraption useful and productive? We will. In fact, we’re already doing it, each of us, every day. When we post and then tag pictures on the community photo album Flickr, we are teaching the Machine to give names to images. The thickening links between caption and picture form a neural net that can learn. Think of the 100 billion times per day humans click on a Web page as a way of teaching the Machine what we think is important. Each time we forge a link between words, we teach it an idea. Wikipedia encourages its citizen authors to link each fact in an article to a reference citation. Over time, a Wikipedia article becomes totally underlined in blue as ideas are cross-referenced. That massive cross-referencing is how brains think and remember. It is how neural nets answer questions. It is how our global skin of neurons will adapt autonomously and acquire a higher level of knowledge.

Here’s the video, which was created by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University:

(via via)

Browser Wars: Episode II The Attack of the DOMs

If you’re in the Bay Area and interested in Web browsers, make plans to come watch Douglas Crockford moderate a panel, Browser Wars: Episode II The Attack of the DOMs, between the Big Four browser vendors. HÃ¥kon Wium Lie (CTO of Opera) and Chris Wilson (Mr IE himself) are already confirmed, and I expect the other two to send big guns too.

It should be a unique and exciting discussion, to say the least.

I expect Crockford to be an excellent moderator – I always enjoy his wit, and he definitely knows his stuff. If you want to see him in action in advance, and learn a ton about the DOM in the process, watch his three-part 78 minute presentation called “An Inconvenient API: The Theory of the Dom” hosted on our YUI Blog.

W3C News: WAI-ARIA Suite Updated

The Protocols and Formats Working Group has published updated Working Drafts of WAI-ARIA Roadmap, Roles, and States and Properties. The suite describes accessibility of rich Web content using interactive technologies such as AJAX and DHTML. These concepts are further introduced in the WAI-ARIA Overview. The PFWG charter has been updated to allow the group to publish Recommendation-track documents. Accordingly, WAI-ARIA Roles and States and Properties are now intended to become W3C Recommendations; the Roadmap remains a draft Working Group Note. Visit the WAI PFWG home page.

Note that there is a new WAI ARIA introduction and overview document, and that comments are welcome until 19 January 2006.

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



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