Archived entries for Tools

IE Web Developer Toolbar

Microsoft has made a beta release of its Web Developer Toolbar available for download. It has many of the features long available with Firefox’s Web Developer Extension from Chris Pederick.

From the Microsoft page, here is the list of features:

  • Explore and modify the document object model (DOM) of a web page.
  • Locate and select specific elements on a web page through a variety of techniques.
  • Selectively disable Internet Explorer settings.
  • View HTML object class names, ID’s, and details such as link paths, tab index values, and access keys.
  • Outline tables, table cells, images, or selected tags.
  • Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS web feed links.
  • Display image dimensions, file sizes, path information, and alternate (ALT) text.
  • Immediately resize the browser window to 800×600 or a custom size.
  • Selectively clear the browser cache and saved cookies. Choose from all objects or those associated with a given domain.
  • Choose direct links to W3C specification references, the Internet Explorer team weblog (blog), and other resources.
  • Display a fully featured design ruler to help accurately align objects on your pages.

I’ll post some feedback on this tool once I’ve played with it a bit more. In any event, I’m glad to see MS giving us developers a bit of love.

What’s your experience with this tool? Please let us know in the comments below.

Tonight’s a big night for news!

C|Net is reporting New Yahoo Mail beta unveiled. I’m so excited to see this.

Yahoo was set to unveil on Wednesday a limited public beta of its new Yahoo Mail service, featuring a new desktop e-mail application-type interface and faster response time.

I’ll wait to say more, but I’m excited is an understatement.

Update: Charlene Li’s blog has the most thorough review I’ve seen so far, including several screenshots.

Meanwhile, I’ve been hearing a bunch about Memeorandum. On the way home yesterday, I listened to [yet another] great ITConversations podcast. This one was a recent interview of Microsoft’s Robert Scoble by Rob Greenlee. The most interesting part was about search, and specifically ways to search the social web and the live web. Ways to make sense of all this new user generated content, and the relationships between it all. He mentioned Memeorandum, then still in private beta. I saw it only in three or four other places when I got home, even before…

…I noticed that he’d just blogged it’s launch. From Scoble:

OK, so, it looks like a lame boring blog site, right? Look again. It’s a news page for blogs. It tells you what bloggers find important. Right now. . . . Well, remember that I read 1,389 RSS feeds? Well, it takes a weirdo like me hours to go through all of those and finding trends in that is pretty difficult.

What is important to the bloggers? You won’t know unless you read all those blogs and keep track mentally of when various bloggers link to something or talk about it. Memeorandum chews through thousands of blogs in minutes and tells you what’s important. It does this every few minutes. It is dramatically faster than I could ever be. It’s all machine based. No humans involved.

And finally, John Battelle gets the scoup tonight on the new Google Blogsearch tool. (It’s 3 hours after his reported press embargo, and the url is still 404-ing. Man, I feel for the engineers over there – they must be scrambling right now.)

Update: it’s live now: http://blogsearch.google.com/

It’s fun these days. Multiple cool products launching every day. Change all around. A renewed focus. Stimulating competition. Integration. Powerful tools. New mediums and models. Collaboration. And it’s all about users.

Changes for Mozilla Extension Developers

On the Inside Firefox blog, ben writes about Changes for Extension Developers. The changes are must-know for extension developers, but also provide some nice benefits for users.

Rendering CSS Efficiently – Insider Tips from Safari

I just came drown from altitude in the Himalayas, so I’m admittedly pretty far behind in my technology reading, email maintenance and blogging. That said, in beginning to catch up I came across this complex and interesting post from David Hyatt on his Surfin’ Safari blog. For those of you that have been paying attention, Hyatt is a leading browser developer, having worked on Gecko at AOL, and in his current position largely responsible for the magic in Safari and Web Core.

His post deals with the challenges of rendering CSS:

One of the most interesting problems (to me at least) in browser layout engines is how to implement a style system that can determine the style information for elements on a page efficiently.

Hyatt has created a new, more efficient algorithm for doing this (and a few other related things). For the algorithm to work, it checks ten features of each DOM node. I’m blogging this because it presents a new optimization opportunity for web developers. By being mindful of these 10 items, and not needlessly failing the 10 tests, we’ll take advantage of these new rending efficiencies in Safari. These aren’t revolutionary steps, but there are situations where they will certainly be the tie-breaker between alternate approaches.

There are a number of conditions that must be met in order for this sharing to be possible:

  1. The elements must be in the same mouse state (e.g., one can’t be in :hover while the other isn’t)
  2. Neither element should have an id
  3. The tag names should match
  4. The class attributes should match
  5. The set of mapped attributes must be identical
  6. The link states must match
  7. The focus states must match
  8. Neither element should be affected by attribute selectors, where affected is defined as having any selector match that uses an attribute selector in any position within the selector at all
  9. There must be no inline style attribute on the elements
  10. There must be no sibling selectors in use at all. WebCore simply throws a global switch when any sibling selector is encountered and disables style sharing for the entire document when they are present. This includes the + selector and selectors like :first-child and :last-child.

In web development there are often 6 different similar ways to do the same thing. What makes a good web developer is continually choosing the best of nearly-indistinguishable paths. These insider tips from Hyatt give us a more complete understanding of the guts of the browsers, and will help us choose the best methods.

Read about it in his own words here: http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/hyatt/archives/2005_05.html#007507

Awesome Firefox Extensions

Anthony Lieuallen of Arantius.com has a great page called Awesome Firefox Extensions. If you’re new to Firefox or extensions, or are interested in finding some great new one, definitely head over there to check it out.

One extension not listed that I would personally recommend is Target Alert. This extension adds a small icon next to any links that aren’t to standard web pages. For example, it inserts a small envelope icon next to any email links, and a small PDF icon next to any .pdf links. (The PDF alert is particularily useful, since loading a PDF is slow sluggish and I often want to avoid it all together!) It offers alerts for many file extension (you can turn on and off as needed), and also alerts to links that will open new windows. The new window alert is great, because I then know to press alt-shirt to force the load into a new tab instead of a new browser window.

Anyways, I’ve been meaning to publish my recommended list of extensions, but this will have to do for now.

Three Weeks of W3C

Below are pointers to about a dozen activites coming out of the World Wide Web Consortium over the last three weeks. You can follow along on their homepage or with their feed. Standards-based design and development can be about more than using existing standards; in the best cases, it’s about helping to create the standards in the first place! By being aware of the work underway at the W3C, you can have a good sense of where the industry and technologies are going, even if you don’t get your hands dirty in any of the working groups.

Three Weeks Worth

Working Draft: SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL)

2005-04-06: The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Working Group and the CSS Working Group have released a third Working Draft of SVG’s XML Binding Language (sXBL). The sXBL language defines the presentation and interactive behavior of elements outside the SVG namespace. The XBL task force welcomes comments and seeks feedback on three issues outlined in the status section. Visit the SVG and CSS home pages. (News archive)

Last Call: XQuery, XPath and XSLT

2005-04-04: The XML Query Working Group and the XSL Working Group released twelve Working Drafts for the XQuery, XPath and XSLT languages. Seven are in last call through 13 May. Important for databases, search engines and object repositories, XML Query can perform searches, queries and joins over collections of documents. XSLT transforms documents into different markup or formats. Both XQuery and XSLT 2 use XPath expressions and operate on XPath Data Model instances. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-04-04: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Web Services Addressing

2005-03-31: The Web Services Addressing Working Group has released two Last Call Working Drafts. Web Services Addressing – Core enables messaging systems to support transmission through networks that include processing nodes such as endpoint managers, firewalls, and gateways. SOAP Binding defines the core properties’ association to SOAP messages. Visit the Web services home page. (News archive)

XML Binary Characterization Notes Published

2005-03-31: The XML Binary Characterization Working Group has released its evaluation, recommending that W3C produce a standard for binary interchange of XML. Published today as a Working Group Note, XML Binary Characterization is supported by use cases, properties and measurement methodologies. Optimized serialization can improve the generation, parsing, transmission and storage of XML-based data. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Upcoming W3C Talks

2005-03-31: Browse W3C presentations and events also available as an RSS channel. (News archive)

Last Call: XML Schema Component Designators

2005-03-29: The XML Schema Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of XML Schema: Component Designators. Comments are welcome through 26 April. The document defines a scheme for identifying the XML Schema components specified by the XML Schema Recommendation Part 1 and Part 2. Visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability

2005-03-29: The Semantic Web Best Practices and Deployment Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of A Survey of RDF/Topic Maps Interoperability Proposals. The document is a starting point for establishing standard guidelines for combined usage of the W3C RDF/OWL family and the ISO family of Topic Maps standards. The group expects to publish Survey and Guidelines Working Group Notes based on this draft. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements Updated

2005-03-25: The RDF Data Access Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of RDF Data Access Use Cases and Requirements. The draft suggests how an RDF query language and data access protocol could be used in the construction of novel, useful Semantic Web applications in areas like Web publishing, personal information management, transportation and tourism. The group invites feedback on which features are required for a first version of SPARQL and which should be postponed in order to expedite deployment of others. Visit the Semantic Web home page. (News archive)

C

all for Participation: W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences

2005-03-23: Position papers are due 20 May for the W3C Workshop on XML Schema 1.0 User Experiences to be held 21-22 June in Redwood Shores, California, USA. Schema authors and users, developers and vendors of schema-aware code generators, middleware, validators, and the W3C XML Schema Working Group will gather to discuss user experience with XML Schema 1.0. The workshop goal is to arrive at plan of action for XML Schema 1.0 interoperability, errata and clarification. Read about W3C workshops and visit the XML home page. (News archive)

Last Call: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-21: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released a Last Call Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Comments are welcome through 11 April. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Compound Document Use Cases and Requirements

2005-03-15: The Compound Document Formats Working Group has released the First Public Working Draft of Compound Document by Reference Use Cases and Requirements Version 1.0. A compound document combines multiple formats, such as XHTML, SVG, XForms, MathML and SMIL. This draft introduces compounding by a reference like img, object, link, src and XLink. Compounding by inclusion is planned for a later phase. Visit the Compound Document home page. (News archive)

Working Draft: Timed Text Distribution Profile

2005-03-14: The Timed Text (TT) Working Group has released an updated Working Draft of the Timed Text (TT) Authoring Format 1.0 Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP). The format enables authors and authoring systems to interchange style, layout and timing associated with text. DFXP helps to transform and distribute subtitles and captions to legacy systems. Visit the Synchronized Multimedia home page. (News archive)

Call for Participation: W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services

2005-02-10: Position papers are due 22 April for the W3C Workshop on Frameworks for Semantics in Web Services to be held 9-10 June in Innsbruck, Austria. Participants will discuss possible future W3C work on a comprehensive and expressive framework for describing all aspects of Web services. The workshop’s goal is to envision more powerful tools and fuller automation using Semantic Web technologies such as RDF and OWL. Read about W3C workshops and visit the Web services home page. (News archive)



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