Archived entries for Web Services

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

Hookytime: Yahoo! Developer Day / Hack Day on Sept. 29th and 30th

picture of the event's tshirt logo

I know, I know, you LOVE to go to work/school on a Friday. It’s your favorite day of the week and there’s nowhere you’d rather be than in your office/cube/classroom. That’s cool — I don’t judge — but, but, but next Friday (Sept 29th) you realllly should play hooky and sneak down to Yahoo for our first every public Hack Day and Developer Day. It’s gonna be quite the event, and I wouldn’t want you to miss it. Really, you should come.

Sold? Cool: learn more and request an invitation.

Developer Day, Friday from 9-5, is packed with 20 sessions across four tracks. They are not to be missed: Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP will be giving a talk. So is Iain Lamb, (an Ajax/DHTML pioneer who co-founded Oddpost which evolved into the new Yahoo! Mail product). JavaScript guru Douglas Crockford will be dropping knowledge, as will many others. Web-celeb and Flickr’s chief software architect Cal Henderson will be speaking. The plenary is by none other than Yahoo!’s VP of Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz, (a very rare opportunity to hear him speak [for free]). Most of the authors of the open-source YUI Library will be guilding hands-on sessions dedicated to many YUI components (I’ll be teaching a hands-on session about YUI’s three CSS components.

But that’s not even the cool stuff!

We’ve got top-tier entertainment lined up for Friday night, and while they won’t tell me who it is, Michale Arrington (who’s in the know, and MCing this event) writes:

The entertainment lined up for Friday night is going to be incredible, although a non disclosure agreement prohibits us from saying who it is. I can say with confidence, though, that everyone attending the event will be very, very happy they were there for Friday night’s party.

Then the REAL fun starts: 24 hour hackathon.

Be there! (Tons of press will be, so if you miss it you can read or hear about it the next day.) We’ve got people coming in from Australia and everywhere between here and there, so beg borrow and steal and get yourself here too (You MUST register in advance – security will be tight… for real.)

Drop me a line if you want more info or whatever. Tons of people have blogged about this, so instead of linking to ‘em all I’ll just point you to Technorati: http://technorati.com/search/hackday.org?sort=authority

Open Source for Web Services?

Tim O’Reilly wrote this[1] last week that Open Source Licenses are Obsolete. He points out that the excitement (or at least the newness) today is largely about web services. (Note the term “services”, not “software”.)

To these “services”, a license that deals almost exclusively with installed software doesn’t mean much. The software distributed under these various open-source licenses isn’t obsolete (in fact, I work on some fulltime), but rather these installation-based licenses aren’t sufficient or appropriate when “software as services” are concerned.

Granting somebody the rights to modify the source code behind the Yahoo! Term Extractor web service doesn’t make any sense. Instead, we need a way to license the service: How much capacity is provided? How much uptime is granted? What types of uses are legit? Etc.

This question that he’s raising makes good sense to me. I’ve got friends at agencies and startups that I encourage to use our extensive web service offerings. They want to (and do), but they have legitimate and real questions that a discussion like the one Tim’s provoking could begin to answer.

[1] I gotta get better about not losing things in the draft folder.

Monthly YUI Roadmap Update — August 2006

(Note: The information I’m reprinting here was originally sent to the ydn-javascript mailing list, which is the primary support forum for the YUI Library.)

The 0.11 release last month brought with it the Logger Control and a host of other improvements to the library, including dramatically improved performance in the Drag and Drop Utility, file upload in Connection Manager, and color animations in the Animation Utility.

Beyond 0.11, the roadmap continues to hold to the course we’ve published in earlier updates. The best of our current thinking with respect to the next two release windows is digested below. The pipeline continues to include the Tab Control, the History Utility, and the Button control, all scheduled for the 0.12 release. For releases beyond 0.12, we have some early explorations underway; of these, the project we’re committed to getting on the roadmap is a table control, something we regard as crucial to any complete library and something we’re excited to add to YUI.

Next two release windows for YUI Library Beta:

  1. August 21 (v. 0.11.3) — this will be a bug-fix update, addressing 0.11-release bugs in a variety of components.
  2. Early October (v. 0.12)

Projects in Developmen

  1. Tab Control

    The Tab Control will provide support for a variety of tabbed-module implementations.

    Projected Release: 0.12

    Confidence: High

  2. Button Control

    The Button Control will enable the deployment buttons with (1) diverse visual treatments (e.g., with or without images); (2) configurable actions (clicking can be tied to form submission or other custom functions); (3) integrated menus and submenus.

    Projected Release: 0.12

    Confidence: Medium

  3. History Utility

    Managing the browser’s history stack is critical to the creation of applications that are intuitive, usable, and sharable. Currently, management of the History stack in applications based on YUI requires you to roll your own solution. The History Utility will help facilitate this process by providing a simple interface for adding application states to the History stack during asynchronous interaction flows

    Projected Release: After 0.12

    Confidence: We continue to investigate actively the best approach to this problem across the A-Grade. We are pushing this back beyond 0.12 at this point based on what we’ve learned so far.

  4. Table Control

    Dynamic tabular data controls are a common interactive treatment for data-intensive interfaces, going beyond simple table functionality to add features like dynamic sorting, editing-in-place, resizable columns, and more

    Projected Release: After 0.12

    Confidence: Medium

  5. Note: This roadmap projects our plans over the next quarter or so; in so doing, it makes assumptions about conditions that are naturally dynamic. Some of the projects detailed here may be delivered earlier or later than we are currently expecting; some may not be delivered at all. Other projects not listed here may be escalated during this period. Use this document only as a rough guide; never rely on unreleased code listed here for any crucial needs.

    Regards,
    Eric

    ______________________________________________
    Eric Miraglia
    Yahoo! Presentation Platform Engineering

Outstanding Video on Global Development from TED Conference

I was just catching up on some blog reading, and came cross this sentence on Christina Wodtke’s blog: “When several smart people email you and say ‘watch this’ you watch that: Hans Rosling on TED Talks“. She’s right, it puts complex and often-oversimplified issues in a new and illustrative light. It’s good stuff to have seen as you think about the development of our world, and what progress might really mean. Here’s the blurb from the site:

Hans Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden’s world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, he debunks a few myths about the “developing” world. (Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA.)

The Technology Entertainment Design Conference, or TED, is where this was shot, and is a annual conference in Monterey, CA, self described as “a global community of remarkable people and remarkable ideas”.

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 yuiblog.com 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.



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