The web is 20. Is it still relevant?
The latest in weblogland is the discussions surrounding Echo, a new format for weblogs. While the idea initially sounds good (“hey, a new format… that shows progress”), I’m not sure of the general direction. There are a number of question surrounding the effort. While the weblog world is generally very insular (thinking of blogs as a different beast from the rest of the web), the concepts surrounding a weblog are nothing new in terms of publishing. Basically, a blog is a tool that allows to publish content easily and presents it in a particular fashion (generally as a set of entries presented in reverse chronological order). echo: the new RSS? Part of the success of weblogs stems from the fact that they are generally offering syndication capabilities using one of the many flavors of RSS, a format first developed by Netscape, and then extended by Dave Winer. In 2000, a rift in the RSS community created two divergent standards, RSS 1.0 and RSS 2.0. RSS 1.0 was developed as a lightweight multipurpose extensible metadata description and syndication format. It sounds suspiciously like what the echo crowd is trying to do and makes the name almost prescient (as in “is echo…Read More
It seems that what I am trying to do will not work. The concept of trying to mix RSS with XHTML seems to be flawed, as illustrated by the W3C feed. While it does validate as proper RSS, it fails miserably when it comes to validating as an XHTML document. This brings up an interesting point in trying to create files that are modular and can be used in multiple name spaces. If XHTML is truly a modular language, then the assumption would be that it would be possible to have it validate as a proper web page by referencing the proper XHTML namespace. However, it does not seem to be so. The problem arises out of the need for a DTD to be specified as part of the XHTML core structure. The same problem exists in XHTML 2 which could be a problem moving forward. What is needed is for XHTML to chuck this dependency and rely solely on namespaces for the purpose of establishing conventions. After all, if an XHTML 2 document is reformulation of HTML in XML, why would it need a DOCTYPE ? If it continues doing so, it could jeopardize its modularity and will not…Read More
The WTH Remix contest has ended and the winners have been announced, showing that sometimes, the net community can do better than standards creator. The grand prize winner is a visually arresting page (compared to the original) that has only a few small things missing in order to make it perfect. First of all, I would ensure that all the links have proper titles, something that a lot of people tend to forget when designing pages but which can be useful for disabled users. Second, I would replace the validation logos with a much friendlier CSS only alternative, similar to what some have done with the XML button. Second, I would put the A-to-Z elements in a list, as they should properly be. This would also take care of clearly differentiating them instead of using a CSS trick to hide special characters. The descriptive text about the consortium is needed on the page and could go above the news section in that design in order to match the existing information available on the page and the proper RDF tags would need to be reinserted in the page to ensure its continued progression with the semantic web. Last but not least…Read More
Today’s release of Beta 2 of the Safari browser heralds the introduction of tabbed browsing in the much talked about browser. This is an interesting development which shows that sometimes, the influence of a particular browser goes beyond its existing market share. Safari’s tabbed browsing is a result of an implementation that first appeared in Opera, a browser used primarily by developers. Mimicking the Opera tabs, the Mozilla project introduced a browser which popularized the feature (the browser is Mozilla, and also serves as the core engine for the Netscape browser). When Safari was introduced, there was an outcry from the developers’ community over the browser’s lack of tabs. With this release, Apple shows that it is listening closely. All these developments are happening among browsers which have a combined market share equivalent to one fourth to one fifth of the one engine enjoyed by IE, the leader (in browser market share) offered by Microsoft. However, they point to an interesting scenario about how new features go from being enjoyed by a small but vocal minority to a wider audience. Tabbed browsing was one of the big innovations that Opera introduced in the marketplace but it wasn’t until Mozilla’s implementation…Read More