The importance of standards

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Nat at O’Reilly Radar writes on the importance of standards in web page design, making me very happy. He wrote:

The point of the standards is not just to ensure that browsers can display the pages. The standards also ensure the pages form a platform that can be built upon; a hacked-together platform leads to brittle and fragile extensions.

That’s the problem with some of the Ajax libraries, such as Dojo: a belief that some of these standards aren’t all that important and can be disregarded. A page that uses standard CSS and XHTML can easily incorporate change, as well as integrate new functionality. The use of standard XHTML and CSS is never going to go out of style.

The one paragraph with which I disagree, somewhat, is:

Between Google and Yahoo!’s work on in-page widgets, the spreading effect of microformats, and the rise of the importance of accessibility, we’re finally getting rewards for standards-compliance.

The in-page widgets from Yahoo and Google are nifty, but I don’t see them as an important end-result of standards compliance. I do agree, hugely, on the growing acknowledgement of the importance of accessibility, but microformats, (no offense Kevin), are largely unknown, and most are not based on an independent standards effort I’m aware of.

Aside from this one paragraph, which struck me as a bit buzz wordy, overall I can agree, strongly, with the gist of the post.


Two from Sheila

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Two excellent posts from Sheila to pass on:

The latest covers the Lieberman defeat and the ludicrous accusations that the Joe Lieberman site was hacked. As was discovered and discussed in numerous publications, the Lieberman campaign hosted the site on a cheap server, and then paid the price when it received too much attention.

Lieberman stood for something once upon a time. Whatever it was he stood for, though, was lost in the 9/11 attacks. He lost his perspective, and now he’s lost the race. Running as an independent, as he has threatened, just shows that he’s about to lose the one thing left: his dignity.

On the other hand, the ‘people’ weren’t entirely the winners, as has been proclaimed. The Lieberman challenger, Lamont, may have made effective use of the grassroots to run his compaign, but he also made a great deal of use of his personal wealth. He wasn’t exactly one of the little people.

Still, hopefully this will shake up the Dems enough to force the party into something other than Republican Light.

Personally, I preferred Sheila’s other story, on juke boxes and a new documentary associated with juke boxes. I loved the boxes from the 40’s and remember fondly the cafe we used to go to at the junction of this highway and that; with its juke boxes at the table, which always left me wondering: how did the system know which song to play next?

The first story is about more important doings, but I’m finding that everything there is to be said about politics and the world at large has been said already: we’re just each taking turns shuffling the words around, some better than others.

The juke box story, now that topic was fresh.


The new Nikon D80

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Nikon has released its new D80 digital SLR, and Digital Photo Preview has a first look.

From the side by sides, the D80 is similar to the D200. However, the D80 is focused as a D70 replacement, not a direct competitor for the D200. The D200 has more exposure options and is faster, and also uses compact flash cards, rather than Secure Digital.

I can respect that the use of SD allows Nikon to trim the camera size, but there’s one problem I have with SD over compact flash cards: they’re too small. The compact flash cards are just big enough for me to handle easily in the field. I have a hand held GPS device that uses SD, and I drop the things even when trying to insert them into the device in the quiet of my office.

I think the D80 is going to end up a popular camera. Perhaps it will be popular enough to ease some of the demand on the D200.


Know when to hold them, know when to fold them

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Ed Batista excerpted part of what Jason Calcanis had to say about re-inventing oneself, taped during a Dave Winer coffee notes:

You have to reinvent yourself, and sometimes you have to kill your previous persona. I had to kill [my] Silicon Alley Reporter persona to become Weblogs, Inc. I’ll have to kill Weblogs, Inc. to be Netscape, kill Netscape to be whatever comes after that. You can’t live on your past brand, or else it owns you, and you no longer own it.

Batista wrote:

…a pre-existing persona can also be a hindrance when you need to make a major change, and sometimes you just need to blow it up and start from scratch.

Though I looked at my butt and there isn’t a burn mark, I have noticed that there are still 466 Blogline subscriptions to Burningbird. That means 466 people are missing out on all the fun.


SxSW Panels

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

SxSW has posted a list of panels, and you can vote on which ones to be presented*. danah boyd is participating in one and I’m happy to pass along her request.

Though I’m not going, if I were, I’d want to see the following panels myself:

Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web: The Impact on Scientific Publishing

New publishing technologies challenge the traditional structure of peer-reviewed scientific journals. For hundreds of years the “article” has been the primary vehicle for conveying scientific information – but semantic markup, tagging, and wiki are reconstructing scientific publications into a flexible and evolving concept. This panel will look at the social and legal implications of “Web 2.0″ and “Semantic Web” as they impact science and scientific knowledge.

John Willbanks

Spam of all Kinds: Dealing with Online Abuse

Spam, spim, spit, comment spam, referrer spam, splogs, software exploits, viruses, worms, phishing, dictionary attacks, cross-site scripting, social engineering: does everything new we do online have its own categories of abuse we have to protect ourselves and our users against? Can anything be done to stop it, or at least to defend ourselves against it? Listen to the experts as they discuss the solutions, for better or for worse.

The above is by Steven Champeon, one of the reviewers for Learning JavaScript, so I have a bias.

A Decade of Style

It’s been just over ten years since CSS1 was finalized, and almost 11 since the first CSS-supporting browser was shipped. A small group of grizzled veterans reflects on a decade of successes, triumphs, failures, disappointments, reversals of fortune, and just plain fun in the world of CSS and web design. Warning: may include surprising historical information, residual kvetching about past mistakes, and context for interpreting the next ten years.

Eric Meyer, who really knows CSS

Dueling Ajax Toolkits: Don’t Reinvent the Window

The number of Ajax Toolkits on the market seems to be outpacing the number of solid Ajax developers. Join us as the developers of the leading Ajax Toolkits square off to show you why you should choose their toolkit instead of creating yet another Ajax toolkit.

Dylan Schiemann

There are also three 3D talks that sound interesting, though I’m not into gaming; several on accessibility, which would make the conference worthwhile for any web page developer; how XSLT is sexy; one on the browser wars, which should be interesting, and on an on. Some really good sounding panels. I’d even think of going, but I’d be as welcome there as a wart on a wedding ring finger, just before saying the “I do’s”.

Anyway, if you are going, pick your panels.

*Note to O’Reilly, something to think on for the next ETech–let the audience be the conference jury.