Tuesday 28 August 2007

Tucson Monsoon


Just in case anyone wonders why Tucson.

I had a perfect, clear view of the entirety of the lunar eclipse last night but unfortunately not a good enough camera. Talk about awesome. Emphasis on awe.

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Posted by:   Molly | 13:18 | Comments (19)

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Come Together for a Rich Web Experience

The Rich Web Experience is a show I’m really getting excited for. I’ll tell you why.

I know nothing about JavaScript and Web applications in the real world. And I’m aching to learn!

And wow, I get to do that from people such as Douglas Crockford and Alex Russell. If you do anything with front end web development or browser technology, they are both worth a very serious listen. Not to mention the fantastic line-up that RWE has put together.

I’ll be reviving the popular keynote I did in Vancouver in February “WSI: Web Standards Investigations” as well as presenting on Web browsers and standards. I’m giving a workshop on CSS, too.

Here’s my schedule:

  • KEYNOTE – WSI: Crimes Against Web Standards
    Web standards investigators: Get your crime scene gear on and help Molly dig up the dirt on crimes committed against web standards. Molly will demonstrate markup and CSS samples from her own felonious work dating back to 1993, as well as the work of other infamous standardistas before they got rehabilitated and let standards into their hearts.
  • Markup & CSS for Developers: Empowering the Application Developer with Front End Magic
    As a developer you’ll probably be tasked with technical concerns such as streamlining file size, optimizing http requests, and ensuring that your web sites and apps remain manageable and flexible. You also need to step in and modify style and even create visual interfaces for your apps. Markup and CSS for Developers is a 90 minute presentation aimed directly at dealing with CSS from a developer’s point of view.
  • The Broken World: Solving the Browser Problem Once and For All
    The Web was meant to be interoperable, but as every web designer and developer knows, interoperability is the very thing we lack. As we build standards-based, flexible, accessible, well-designed sites, we find it’s the browser that gives us most of our headaches. In this session, you’ll learn to take better control not through hacks and filters, but through an understanding of why browsers work the way they do.
  • Social Software as a Platform for Human Advancement
    As we enthusiastically embrace the many technologies that come together to create Web applications, it’s important to also stay aware of the societal impact our software offers. In particular, social applications offer a foundation for improvements in all kinds of relationships. Spanning from business-oriented apps that enhance networking and economic opportunities to the more personal social applications that allow for myriad interaction, the social application deserves our attention not just as technologists, but as individuals and communities, too.

I’ve been honored to bring what I know about markup and CSS to the Rich Web, in particular the applications experience. I’m not a programmer, but I love working with programmers to find solutions to major issues in the delivery of a great web site experience.

Who’s going to The Rich Web Experience (RWE)? Anyone want to go?

I’m hoping to see you there.

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Posted by:   Molly | 16:02 | Comments (49)

Monday 20 August 2007

A Mouth Full of Noise

The fabulous Rob Cottingham tells me this particular comic panel he drew was inspired in part by my Web Directions North 2007 Opening Keynote. How cool?

the need for motivational speakers in web standards

I had this passing thought that the guy should be female and have curly hair, but that’s just me.

Rob, you are a star! May your very cool Noise to Signal comic shine on!

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Posted by:   Molly | 22:19 | Comments (56)

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Web Standards Situation Solutions

As the past few days of discussion surrounding the concerns I’ve publicly raised regarding the current state of standards affairs, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster reading arguments between people I respect and love, seeing once strong voices putting their heads in the ground and pretending everything is just fine even if glacially slow; and feeling overwhelmed at the complacency, frustration and despondency reigning supreme instead of the movement and joy that once filled the Web.

I’m a person of action as well as words. So when members of the WHAT WG and the W3C asked me to help clarify the concerns I feel, I made a point of figuring out how to do just that. I dropped by the WHAT WG IRC chat and talked with members there. Within a few minutes we came up with a few action items that people agreed would be helpful.

De-Mystifying and Clarifying HTML5

The first concern is to answer the question “Why HTML 5?” in a way that is as clear as possible and will make sense to the largest group of people as possible. This means no spec-speak in the analysis. The second concern is to highlight for the broader community just where the “hot topic” problems are, and begin honing in on those realistically, looking at how we can all come to mutual agreement. And when I say we, I mean WE. Remember that the WHAT WG and HTML 5 WG are open to your participation.

Ian Hickson has agreed to go through the current spec and red mark the unresolved issues and hot topics. A group of folks including myself have committed to taking those and providing them via a public forum (probably the WHAT WG blog, or possibly on W3C, or both) bullet pointing in clear terminology the rationale, outstanding issues and encouraging positive discourse about those issues.

Solving the Human Problem

As Jeremy Keith pointed out in a recent heart-moving post, it’s a pretty awful thing to see people who ultimately share common goals and even friendship fight with each other. Perhaps this is why I’ve been so upset, I’m very sensitive when it comes to relationships and clearly things haven’t been paradise for and between many of my colleagues lately.

In the IRC conversation (you can find resources and transcripts via the WHAT WG landing page) we discussed the value of face to face meetups. Logistically, this is a very difficult thing to achieve since we are a truly worldwide group, many people are students or don’t have budget from their companies to travel and so forth.

So one course of action we discussed was to have a simultaneous meetup in a number of cities across the globe where all interested parties get together F2F with the goal of open discourse over hot topics related to the specs. The value of this exercise would allow people to get together and meet their colleagues. Most would agree that F2F meetups can help mitigate some of the anger that is all too readily expressed in the online environments.

Lemons to Lemonade

Hopefully these planned actions will help clarify and calm some of the frustration, as well as bring a broader understanding of the real issues to everyone, myself included.

Is my approach passionate? You bet, and if you know me, it’s clear that the day that passion goes away I know I will have ceased to be effective in any way in this industry and I will leave it. But that day isn’t today. It’s a warm summer evening in Redmond, Washington, and I’m going to take some fresh lemons and make lemonade.

Anybody want a glass?

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Posted by:   Molly | 22:10 | Comments (96)

Monday 13 August 2007

Dear WHAT WG and HTML 5 WG

Henri Sivonen asks the following lucid question amongst the chaotic discussion on this site recently:

On #whatwg various people (including me) commented that they don’t understand your point. Could you please clarify what problem you see with HTML 5 and what would need to be done to address your concern? Right now, this post seems to add to the discord.

Here are some direct suggestions. Please do bear in mind my prior post was not about WHAT WG, nor was it intended to upset people so. Clearly, I landed on a raw nerve. But here are some very simple suggestions to begin with:

  1. UNIFY the HTML 5 lists and all IRC activities
  2. DETERMINE the true key players in HTML5 WG with a fair balance of representation from spec authors, implementors and real-world developers as well as theoreticians and visionaries
  3. DO NOT alter the integrity of what is already in use and in existence
  4. PLACE new features in another release, perhaps a point release
  5. RELEASE only those features that repair widely agreed upon problems
  6. CONTINUE the innovative work, either within the W3C or without it but NOT on a dual path
  7. LEARN to work with existing communities, as they must LEARN to work with you (for example, finding common ground with accessibility groups)

Finding the pathway to these issues is something I had hoped that WaSP, for example, would be involved in more helpfully. That’s part of my frustration. That I aside, I hope this provides a little more clarity to what apparently came across as vague concerns.

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Posted by:   Molly | 11:20 | Comments (52)

Saturday 11 August 2007

Dear W3C, Dear WaSP

Dear W3C, Dear WaSP,

Having been given the odd task of coming up with Technical Plenary material for the W3C, it strikes me not simply a blow but a full knock-out when my colleagues either don’t respond or merely suggest that we let Tim Berners Lee talk about the Semantic Web yet again and let everything in the Web Standards world go on as if the work that you and I do daily didn’t exist.

Fuck that.

Pay attention, W3C and anyone who cares. We have serious problems. On the surface:

  • HTML 5 serialization under W3C
  • Run Time Environments such as AIR
  • Personal agendas overriding agendas that serve the greater good

I call on my colleagues, my friends to talk about this. Oh goodness, and here’s a unique idea. Perhaps the Web Standards Project (WaSP) can stop playing to its own audience and address:

  • The future of JavaScript and its standardization under ECMA considering the Adobe/Mozilla relationship, whatever that is, really
  • The future of markup – for god’s sake why are we revisiting the lingua franca of the web? Doesn’t WaSP or other standards groups have a serious responsibility to hash this out?
  • Moving education forward. There is nothing like teaching people how, because then they’ll go and do. That’s true innovation.

Are you all just dumbed down by the fact you’ve got a job or what? Tell me. Let’s fix it. W3C, WaSP, whatever. We have problems.

Let’s talk about them and figure something out.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 01:40 | Comments (90)

Monday 6 August 2007

The Best Thrill of Your Life

Some people want to go faster than light. Others just want to drop from 1,000 feet and live because hell, it makes them feel immortal.

Me, I’m still looking for the best thrill of my life.

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Posted by:   Molly | 17:55 | Comments (21)

Upcoming Travels