Saturday 25 November 2006

Memorable Air Lines

It’s a busy travel season in the U.S. as we celebrate the Thankgsiving holiday weekend.

Heard on an airplane yesterday as the flight attendent was giving the safety talk:

“And if you find you don’t like our inflight service, we have six exits: Two located toward the front, two overwing, and two at the back of the aircraft.”

I found this, especially the droll way she delivered the line, absolutely brilliant.

Heard any good airline comments lately? Got a great travel story? We folks who have been stressed-out by family, traffic, and general holiday “cheer” could use a few extra laughs right now.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 22:37 | Comments (45)

Friday 24 November 2006

Oh, Validator, Talk Dirty to Me

Some years ago Eric Meyer, Porter Glendinning, Jeff Veen and a crew of other folks were partying it up in San Francisco during a web conference. Given the fact that it was Halloween and I was dressed in full dominatrix regalia, naturally the topic took a turn for the proverbial nurse and before we knew it, we had a slew of new book titles such as “Between the Style Sheets” and “XXXhtml” and “Learn to DOMinate the Web.”

In that vein, a chat today inspired me to think that if we could only convince people writing validation software (W3C, Adobe, etc.) to have their validators offer up sexy responses, we could get more people working toward validation.

So, as a bit of fun, I thought perhaps we could come up with various errors, warnings, and comments that would make validation oh so much more pleasurable. What could a validator say regarding your markup and CSS that would encourage you to validate your documents?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 13:21 | Comments (74)

Friday 17 November 2006

Creativity Jam Session: Write Your Own Web Dev Job Advert

Once again I have stumbled across a rather unrealistic job description for a web developer/designer. Apparently, one must have “expert level” skills in ALL of the following: Perl, PHP, ASP, .NET, HTML, CSS, RSS, ATOM, JavaScript, Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, graphic user interface design as well as interaction design. The applicant must have at least five years practical experience, and a computer science degree (note, not a design degree) is a “plus.”

The salary? 50,000 USD per year with benefits. That’s about 25,000 GBP per year.

If one has all those skills at expert level for at least five years and has a good attitude in the workplace, he or she is truly worth a heck of a lot more money than that. I’m getting really frustrated with employer ads that throw as many possible skills into the ad and assume one potential employee can fill the job at expert level. What’s more, precious few people writing up these job descriptions have any reasonable understanding of what it takes to be a true web professional.

The creative task? Write up an advertisement as if you were the employer and you, the perfect match. What does the ad require, and what do you see as fair equivalent compensation for your skillset?

Who knows, maybe we can help potential employers understand just what it takes to be a true professional in this industry.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 16:44 | Comments (160)

Tuesday 7 November 2006

Have Your Say about the Future of HTML

This article has been written on behalf of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) and has been cross posted on The Web Standards Project, Lachy’s Log, and 456 Berea Street.

There’s been a lot of discussion about the W3C’s recent decision to continue the development of HTML around the web lately. Blog posts, and messages that have been sent to mailing lists or posted on forums, revealed many questions and misconceptions about the future of HTML (including HTML 5 and XHTML 2), the WHATWG and the W3C’s new HTML Working Group.

Some people asked for new features; others were wondering if formerly deprecated elements would return; some had comments and criticisms about the decision itself, the WHATWG or W3C process; and a few raised concerns about the WHATWG and W3C ignoring the needs of particular groups. The WHATWG, who are in the process of developing the next version of HTML (called HTML 5), feel that it’s important to not only listen to all of this feedback, but to actively seek it out and respond so that we can develop a language that meets your needs.

There are many ways in which you can participate. The most direct approach is to make your voice heard by subscribing to the mailing list. However, not everyone has the time to participate, or keep up with the high volume of messages sent to that list. Some people feel that the current drafts of HTML 5 (Web Applications and Web Forms) are rather daunting. Others feel that because they can’t afford the substantial W3C membership fees, they wouldn’t be listened to anyway.

If, for any reason, you feel that you either cannot participate, or would be uncomfortable in doing so, that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be heard. The WHATWG needs to hear from you and wants to know what you think about HTML.

  • Are there any limitations with HTML that you would like to see fixed?
  • Do you have any ideas for new features?
  • Is there anything you can do now in HTML, but would like to see improved?
  • Do you have any concerns about the development process?
  • Do you have any feedback about the new features in the current drafts?
  • Do you have any questions about HTML 5?

Any questions, comments, criticisms, complaints or feature requests are welcome. Now is the time to speak up. No comment is too dumb; no question is too hard or too simple; no criticism is too harsh. If you have anything at all to say, we are listening.

Please leave a comment or post a link to an article that you have written. You will be heard and we will try to respond.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 07:03 | Comments (516)

Saturday 4 November 2006

What You Want

I’ve been chatting with Lachlan Hunt lately about WHAT-WG, life, and oats. It’s all to be expected, because I had the great pleasure of meeting Lachy in person in Sydney, Australia just a month ago.

Lachlan is the kind of fellow I seek out for advice and guidance. Why? Because he’s so sure of what he wants. When posed the question: Do you know what you want? He replied:

Become a famous web developer, get rich, publish my book (evenutally!), find a hot chick, get married and have a kid named Jack.

Now to me, that’s just poetry.

Trump that my darlings. What is it that you really want?

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 19:36 | Comments (76)

Friday 3 November 2006

No More Next Page: Embracing the Non-Linear Web

For many years I’ve pointed out that the Web is essentially a non-linear environment. Yet, we insist on imposing linear processes and function on it. I’ve long felt this imposition has been far more limiting to innovative thinking than any other influence, including the cry for standards and best practices.

In workflow, linear patterns are not effective because web sites and web applications are inherently non-linear. Web sites and apps are also iterative, requiring cyclical attention for the entirety of their lifespan.

I compare the process of creating, and then maintaining a real-world, working web site or application to pregnancy: You’ve got the incubation period, where months go by in developing and perfecting the entity.

Then, there’s the birth, which is rarely peaceful and usually involves lots of screaming and crying followed by an exhaustion that seems to never leave. At this point, you can’t abandon the outcome. Our baby here, our web site or app, is going to require parenting for the rest of its days. It will have to be nurtured, guided, even corrected. Over and over and over again.

In design, linear patterns can only work for very specific pagination approaches. A good example would be paging through images on Flickr. Still, the mere existence of other pathways makes it nigh impossible to stay on a linear path on Flickr.

The Web’s non-linear environment calls us and it’s an opportunity to do better work. Which brings me to the inspiration for this little ditty, Pete Forde’s Endless Pageless: No More Next Page article and example, in which he shows a means of ending the “Next” phenomenon forever.

When I met Pete at The Ajax Experience last week, he (somewhat) jokingly said I’m sure we’ll argue on lots more stuff. In theory, I have no arguments with innovation, and I am obviously attracted to script-based techniques of any kind that move us into the realm of more imaginative, less linear interface options.

The only dissent I have, and it’s an important concern, has to do with the fact that with JavaScript turned off, the technique is non-functional. Which brings us to another issue entirely: Unobtrusive scripting and accessibility. I, and so many users truly want useful features of this nature, but we have to think from the ground-up and be inclusive, providing some way to still offer practical if not elegant function for those without the scripting support.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 07:50 | Comments (37)

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