Archived entries for Tools

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 http://yuiblog.com.

7 Characterists of Web 2.0 Development Practices, from O’Reilly Radar

Marc Hedlund writes on the O’Reilly Radar blog about “Web Development 2.0“. In his experience, “many startups and companies seem to be developing a new set of software development practices”:

Software isn’t written for Web 2.0 companies the way it was during the
bubble, nor is it written the way traditional, shipped software was.
New ideas about Web applications seem to necessitate new ways of making those applications.

He reports on 7 characteristics:

  1. The shadow app
  2. Sampling and testing
  3. Build on your own API
  4. Ship timestamps, not versions
  5. Developers – and users – do the quality assurance
  6. Developers – and executives – do the support
  7. The eternal beta

He’s got a paragraph or two under each of those bullets, so I encourage you to head over and take a read. I’m a big fan of #3, and have been doing #2, #4, and $5 for years. What about you? Any to add to the list?

A Dozen Cool Uses for RSS Feeds (via Basement.org)

Basement.org delivers a dozen interesting uses for RSS feeds, and reading blogs isn’t on the list. Weather, comics, contacts and deals are though. They’ve titled this post “Part One”, so check back at their site later for another installment.

Most Underrated API? The Yahoo! Term Extractor

There’s a million APIs out there, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s easy now to translate street addresses to lat/long coordinates. It’s easy to grab local results, and overlay them on a map. It’s easy to use Yahoo or Google to get all types of search results (local, images, etc), and sites like Amazon to get prices and products.

But I think one of the coolest and most underrated APIs is the Term Extractor API from Yahoo!:

In other words, you point it at a piece of content — a news article, blog post, movie review or whatever — and it returns a list of terms, or keywords (or “tags” for those of you keeping score at home).

What do you do next with a list of keywords from a piece of content? Well, lots of things. Jeremy Keith wrote yesterday about a few ideas (that seem up for grabs, if you’re in a hacking mood!).

What if you treated each returned term as a tag? You could then pass those tags to any number of tag-based services, like Flickr, Del.icio.us, or Technorati.

So, instead of the simple “here’s my Technorati profile” or “here are my Flickr pics” on a blog, you could have links that were specific to each individual blog post. If I sent the text of this post to the term extractor, it would return a list of terms like “api”, “yahoo”, etc. By passing those terms as tags to a service like Technorati or Del.icio.us, readers could be pointed to other blog posts and articles that are (probably) related.

Like he suggests, it gets interesting when you let the output from this web service be the input for another service. I was lucky enough a few months ago to lend a small bit of help to the team that brought you the Yahoo! Events Browser mashup. One challenge of that product was to get images associated with each event. If you’ve ever worked with unstructured data — event listings are super unstructured — then you know that they don’t provide many high-quality hooks for understanding their content. The team tried doing image searches on venue or artist name, but the results weren’t very relevant or interesting, even when the parsed venue or artist was accurate. So, being the put-lots-of-pieces-together types there are, they decided to use the Term Extractor to discover more accurate, meaningful, and specific query terms to then find images for. Here’s how they summed it up:

To display appropriate images for events, local event output was sent into the Term Extraction API, then the term vector was given to the Image Search API. The results are often incredibly accurate.

I’ve only seen a handful of implementations of the Term Extractor API so far. If you’ve got a cool one to point me to, or a cool idea for a future implementation, please leave ‘em in the comments below.

CNET: Firefox for Intel Macs planned for March

From their leadin:

“We are targeting the official release of Firefox for Intel Mac OS X in late March with the Firefox 1.5.0.2 update,” said Mozilla software engineer Josh Aas told.

According to the reporting, there are only two real areas where adjustments are needed. This is good news, and means that, as expected, we won’t be seeing any rendering engine changes:

“The first issue is some compatibility issues between the (Macromedia) Flash plugin shipped with Mac OS X 10.4.4 and Firefox. We have been working closely with Macromedia to resolve the issues.”

The other issue relates to the need to update to an Intel version of the ‘Java Embedding Plugin’ (JEP), which handles all Java applets in Mozilla’s Mac OS X products.



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