Dive into HTML5 should be everyone’s intro to the standard

I just found out about the Dive Into HTML5 tutorial. It’s downright amazing. I wish all specs were so carefully described. Don’t miss the first chapter on the history of standards creation. It gives you a good understanding of why the HTML standards are quirky and why HTML5 is progressing the way it is.

I especially like the way they test your browser for its ability to handle the various components you are reading about. Take an hour or so to go through this tutorial. It’s the best read you’ll have for the week.

Another good tutorial is The Best HTML5 Slides Ever, but you’ll need to view it in Safari. It doesn’t work well in the standard Firefox and forget about IE.

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New Yahoo! BOSS Hacks web site

There’s a lot of information about Yahoo! Boss on the official site: Yahoo! Developer Network. However there is still a need for a more informal portal for quick reviews of BOSS-based mashups, helpful hints, techniques, and upcoming events.

BOSS Hacks is an unofficial Yahoo! BOSS Site that does exactly that. I started it last week as I noticed this site was becoming less about standards based markup and more about how I was working with Yahoo! BOSS.

This site will feature shorter, more succinct blog posts. I’ll save any large posts for the YDN blog. Please feel free to visit the site and send me notes about what you would like to see or any new BOSS-based sites that should be mentioned.

Yahoo! Boss now features keywords and more language support

Yahoo! Boss search APIThe Yahoo! Developer Network blog just published a blog post with new Boss features: Yahoo! Search BOSS Releases Key Terms. There are a few key details in this article.

  • Key terms are now available: Each result now includes the keyterms Yahoo’s search index has assigned to the web page. This is the same information Yahoo! uses for search suggestions. I was trying to recreate this by using key term extraction in Yahoo! Pipes. But this would have involved multiple requests and slowed the page down. Boss’s inclusion of keyterms opens a whole new world of semantic search options. I’m using them to display related results on V3GGIE.
  • Extended language/region support: I was in Romania a couple weeks ago discussing Yahoo! Boss with some students in Bucharest. I noticed we didn’t support the Romanian language in Boss. I was able to send a few emails asking for support and voila, the Yahoo! Boss has not only added Romanian, but also Turkish and Hebrew! That is some fast turn around and shows their commitment to the users.
  • Boss made easier: Christian Heilmann has been creating Boss plug-n-play projects. You can get a JavaScript Boss badge, grab all the keyterms in one arrray, and recently a build your own site search in 3 easy steps lesson.
  • The article also has a link to a new site I’m developing: Tartin3. This is still in the development stages and is a prototype for a much larger site InsiderFood.com. I’m hoping to take the covers off Insider Food within the next couple weeks.Insider Food is now Live – but in Beta mode as I fix bugs and make enhance the search logic

Disclaimer: I work for Yahoo! but I’m not on the Yahoo! Boss team. I’m their “customer”, as I use Boss for multiple projects outside Yahoo!. I also am a member of the International Yahoo! Developer Network, which allows me to demonstrate and teach some of the Yahoo! API’s and services.

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Yahoo Search Monkey in Paris

The Yahoo! Developer Network recently held an event in Paris to introduce SearchMonkey to local developers. I was on hand to help discuss microformats. I’ve got a brief write up of the event on the YDN blog: SearchMonkey in Paris.

SearchMonkey

SearchMonkey
SearchMonkey allows developers to create enhanced search result presentations for a web site. These appear when a user installs the easy to create application and then does a search query that provides the module as part of the normal search result.

Yahoo provides microformatted data to the SearchMonkey application at run time. This allows the developer to add great content while still building a very quick application. I’ll write more on this later as I think it is a great usage of Microformats at the user level instead of the developer level.

Beyond SearchMonkey, it’s great to know that search engines really are paying attention to this data. You’ll learn a lot about your site and its microformats as you build your first SearchMonkey application. Give it a try, it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to put together your first application.

La Cantine and the Paris Developer Scene

The event was held at a great space: La Cantine. This is a cross between a cafe and cooperative space for startups to use as an office, meeting space, and development center. It was a pleasure to meet the large crowd that turned out for the night.

Storyboard your DHTML interactions

Bill Scott - AJAX GodBill Scott gave an interesting lecture today at Yahoo! about AJAX design patterns. He explained how good AJAX designs keep the user’s attention on the page, remove roadblocks, and increase stickiness to a site.

Patterns of successful AJAX behaviors are beginning to appear (Netflix, 37Signals, Yahoo!). There are subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, changes that can occur to let a user know that an action has happened.

storyboard for AJAX interactionsDownload the drag and drop storyboard design package

For instance, he pointed out an interaction on the recently departed Yahoo! Photos site. A user could select multiple photos and then drag them to special collection folders. The page generated several panels to let the user know that the move would go to the preferred folder (hit yes), wait for the action to finish, and then a final congratulations panel (hit yes). These panels and the two required clicks could have been avoided if the folder changed when the photos were dropped into it. This could be a simple glow and maybe the number of photos in the folder is increased.

Plan your entire sequence in advance

Eric Miraglia coined the phrase Interesting Moments to describe the multiple changes that occur during an AJAX/DHTML action.

In most cases, Drag and Drop requires that you write code to respond to the interesting moments in the interaction: when the drag event starts, when the dragged object enters another object, and so on.
Yahoo! UI Library: Drag & Drop – Interesting Moments

Your user will have a much more pleasant experience if these are considered in the beginning of production. The Yahoo User Interface library includes a storyboard template (.zip) for planning these interactions effectively. This story board concept also works well for forms (especially form validation actions) and Flash components.

Update

The YUI blog has posted a video of Bill’s lecture: YUI Theater — Bill Scott: “Designing the Rich Web Experience: Principals and Patterns for Rich Interaction Design on the Web”. This is a great opportunity to learn from one of the finest developers around.

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