When can you use…now if you choose

Continuing the theme of moving forward in web design…

  • Several people have linked or otherwise noted Alexis Deveria’s excellent When Can I use… application. You can select from various options, including specifications or by browser, date, and so on, and you’ll get recommendations about what you can and can not use. I tried it by selecting all browsers but IE, specifications that are in recommendation status, and currently implemented or will be implemented in the very near future. The application recommended SVG, MathML, and serving web pages up as application/xhml+xml. When I added candidate recommendation, then all of the functionality I currently use was listed.
  • Robert Nyman says Stop developing for Internet Explorer 6.0, which echos our effort to generate an IE6 End of Life effort last year. Robert is receiving about the same concerns I received, and along the vein of “But the customer wants…”. This is a far cry from the designer community that existed a decade ago that asked for, nay demanded adherence to web standards. Some would say it is a sign of the times, but as my readings of the Great Depression has shown, it is exactly during times like these when great changes come about.

    If we extrapolated the continuing active support for IE6 to other industries, our cars would only get 5 miles to the gallon, our music would only come from stores on flat discs, books would only be available on paper, and we’d all still be developing CGI applications in Perl.

  • Smashing Magazine has a nice writeup on PHP IDE’s, including comparisons. I must admit to being old fashioned, and still using vi/vim. Vi rules.
  • Michael Bernstein has an ambitious plan to public a new web app every Wednesday. I’m currently playing with 1LinQR. I’m not sure about creating a new web application every week, but I am thinking of creating some form of scheduled output, to add structure to my life.
  • Speaking of structure, I received a suggestion to try the CMS Joomla this week, and am thinking of starting another subdomain for that purpose. I’m finding, though, that supporting multiple CMS applications is becoming an increasingly complex challenge. For example, though WordPress and Drupal, and Joomla, too, are PHP-based, they all have significantly different template systems and frameworks for extensions. I’m having the devil of a time wrapping my mind around the WordPress way of doing things now, as compared to Drupal’s. Then there’s the upgrades: I just finished ones for Drupal, and Drupal modules, and now WordPress is at 2.7.1.

    What I think I’ll create is a shell script that backs up all of my sites, databases and files, downloads whatever is the latest of Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla (if I do try the application), and whatever other applications I use, and then upgrades each, even if the software hasn’t changed. Then once a week I could do a blanket run at my entire site. There shouldn’t be broken bits, but if there is, well, then I’ll have a better idea of the robustness of the applications. Running an upgrade on a site with the same version of software currently installed should result in no change in the application.

    Since today is Charles Darwin’s birthday, call the approach CMS natural selection. No, not survival of the fittest, which really isn’t an evolutionary concept. My script process will naturally select for extinction, those applications that fail.

Speaking of which, Happy Birthday Charles, Happy Birthday, Abe.


TOC the book…soon to be made into a movie

Writings from the TOC (Tools of Change) conference this last week have been made into a free eBook at O’Reilly. I’ve already downloaded it to my Kindle, and others have downloaded it to their Stanza application, but you can read it as a PDF on your computer. Heck, you can print it if you’re feeling contrary. A description of the TOC and a link to the book, via TeleRead.

You don’t have to provide a credit card, but you do have to provide your mailing address, as you are going through O’Reilly’s check out system. I used St. Louis at first, which caused the system to cough, gasp, and fall fainting to the ground.

FYI systems people: it is St. Louis. It is not Saint Louis. We are across the Missouri river from St. Charles, not Saint Charles. We’re north of St. Genevieve, not Saint Genevieve. Forget what Google Maps has, we’re St. Louis.

Signed Shelley “there is a second ‘e’ in my name” Powers. Who lives in St. Louis.


The recursive how-to

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

How self sufficient do you want to be?

For instance, you can make your own homemade cleaner with a mix of castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and water, but you don’t have to stop there. You can also make your own castile soap with a mixture of olive and lavender oils, water, and lye. But again, you don’t have to stop there, either. You can also make your own homemade lye.

When you break down the majority of home products, most can be made with a few simple, inexpensive components, easily obtained at the grocery store, or online in bulk. Not only will you know exactly what goes into a product you use to clean your home, but you’ll also ensure the products you use are safe for the environment, as well as being very inexpensive.

When you do look at recipes for household products, don’t just stop at the top level. Use your search skills and see how many of the ingredients can also be made at home. You might be surprised at what you find.

So I ask again: how self sufficient do you want to be? About the only limit to most do-it-yourself projects is whether you have access to a water barrel.