Archives for category: Ramblings

Rarely do I find a need to call out the W3C folks (or anyone, for that matter), but the recent post by Daniel Glazman (@glazou), co-chair of the W3C CSS working group, pushed me over the edge.

In his article, he calls for everyone to, get this, stop using -webkit in their sites. He equates webkit, now a popular engine for most new mobile browsers, to IE6. Moreover, he calls it a “threat to the open web”.

Seriously?

This from the group responsible for years of delays in approving standards? Remember, these are the fine folks who for the past three years have cautioned web developers from using HTML5 (a term used a bit liberally to also include new CSS3, video, local storage, web sockets and other goodies) because they’re still working on drafts for it. Take the canvas tag, a webkit mainstay since 2005, which is still a W3C “working draft” — seven years later.

The only reason web developers are using these hot webkit (and gecko and now even internet explorer) features in the first place is we’re tired of waiting for this standards body to get off their collective ass and actually approve something.

Webkit is the new IE6? Really? If a vendor were to make a browser that only complied with approved W3C standards, you’d pretty much have IE6. So really, W3C itself is “the new IE6”.

For a representative of a non-profit organization to jump up and call for us to set our websites back 3-5 years is ridiculous. This is not a call to action, but a call for our inaction; to limit progress and the pursuit of competitive advantage in the name of some socialistic ideal created by a group who is even more monolithic in pace than in size. We’re talking a glacial, almost purposeful aim to slow innovation and plant a giant “STOP” sign in the evolution of the web.

In its glory, his article: CALL FOR ACTION: THE OPEN WEB NEEDS YOU *NOW*

Contrast this with the W3C’s hesitation to green light, well, pretty much anything cool to come along in web development in the past five years.

To Daniel Glazman, I propose you spend more time working with your group to approve specs and less time bickering and whining about webkit. The whole “problem” of browser vendors moving on without you starts with how the W3C works, and not with the vendors themselves. To try and shift the blame and rally people to a cause they don’t fully understand is irresponsible and reprehensible. I believe the industry term for his call to action is “a load of crap”.

Really?

There’s a fresh debate raging in the JavaScript community. The battle lines are drawn between those who like all-in-one solutions for app development, and those who prefer to assemble the pieces themselves. Really, the fight is more between those who make these things, not those who use them.

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Good documentation doesn’t come easy

Documenting source code is rarely something a coder likes to do. I’m just as guilty as anyone else. I know it’s a “good thing”, but my natural inclination is to code first and document later. Sometimes later comes so late that it’s a chore to get it done. I’ve been forcing myself to document as I go, and it usually works out pretty well in the end.

I’m a control freak

What’s made this process easier for me is to completely dump the notion of auto-generated documentation (I’m looking at you, javadoc, jsdoc, yuidoc, ruby-doc and the like). Instead, I favor writing the documentation for a given piece of code with markdown.

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Wasn’t quite ready to put this out into the wild, but then I didn’t exactly set it to “private” on GitHub, now did I?

Check out the docs at: http://joapp.com/jo

The current dev build (with docs and libs built) is available for download at: http://github.com/davebalmer/jo/downloads

And the source is available at GitHub as well (freeBSD license): http://github.com/davebalmer/jo

Have fun, and remember that the framework is working, but still under development. Please send me feedback (especially bugs).

I’m also looking for collaborators (both JavaScript and CSS), so message me on GitHub if you’re interested.

Now that I have a break from my last job, I’ve been working feverishly on my new JavaScript app framework. Called “Jo”, one of the themes of the architecture is keeping the code simple by leveraging advanced CSS (finally) which is common among most modern browsers.

One of the issues I’ve run into with this approach in the past is the CSS gets thick with, basically, lots of div tags with classnames like “menubar” and “group”. I found this can make for some difficult maintenance, especially when working on cross-platform apps.

Worse, one of the first real apps I’m building with the new framework includes a searchable, indexed set of its own documentation. Cute thought, but hurdle one was: how the heck do I pull in HTML doc files with their interesting (and possibly themed) CSS without creating odd interference with my UI controls?

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I’ll snag most any interesting gadget under $500, so I forked over some more cash to Apple to check it out. I love the large touch screen and the form factor of the device. I’ve bought and downloaded a bunch of apps and tried very hard to find a justification for buying this shiny toy, but it just doesn’t cut it.

iPad with tv-like static on the display

Before I get into it, realize that I would be considered an Apple fan by any casual observer. Over the years I’ve purchased: two MacBook Pro laptops, two MacBook laptops, two Mac Mini desktops, five or six Apple keyboards, a few Apple mice, three iPhones (including one 3Gs), two iPads (one as a gift), six iPod models and an iPod Touch for good measure. When the iPhone came out, I was the only idiot I knew who paid $800 for a phone, and spent almost a full year trying to “sell” the potential with pretty much anyone I ran into. In short, I have a hell of a collection of “free Apple window decals” you get with most purchases.

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