Who are the international standardistas

I’m in Bangalore, India this week for a Yahoo! front-end engineering conference. It’s great to get out of the U.S. to visit with developers from other countries. Each of us bring a unique perspective, cultural background, appreciation of colors/design, icons, etc. At the beginning of the year, I predicted a new bunch of standardistas and cutting-edge programmers would be coming from areas outside of Europe, US, and Australia.

So, here’s my request. What pages do you routinely visit for web design ideas, design, programming content, etc that are not among the same 20 euro/US-centric blog lists? Leave your favorites in the comments section and we can all begin expanding our horizons.

Things I missed in the Silicon Valley

I’m leaving the Silicon Valley soon for the less-techy, less-paxilled neighborhoods of Paris. While I’m looking forward to the move, there are a few things I missed during my tenure in Sunnyvale. These are some of the things I wish I could have seen.
Old Faithful geyser of California

  1. A good old fashioned food poisoning at Google. Nothing too dangerous, just a good case of random explosive diarrhea to wipe the “we get free gourmet food” smile off their faces. I can imagine the perky blonde TV news reporter describe Googlers pooping all over their swimming pools, snack rooms, and massage chairs.
  2. A Perl vs. PHP knife fight like the one in West Side Story. The Ruby on Rails guys could sit on the side line and watch the battle as they reward their superiority
  3. Watching Oracle and Ebay employees argue at Starbucks about which company generates the most nightmares.
  4. Seeing my name in Valleywag, preferably tied to some naughty scandal with missing money, illicit photographs, and a red Ferrari.
  5. VC hawks battle on Hot or Not for a startup
  6. Hotshots from “the City” hanging out in San Jose because it’s cool
  7. An official “Dress Like Steve Jobs” day. Although this seems to be a daily ritual in some circles

Things I did get to see before leaving
Ted in Jail

  1. Google, Yahoo!, Sun, Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, and other shops getting together to make web sites more accessible.
  2. The best taco shop period: El Galope in East Palo Alto
  3. Del.icio.us and Digg founders one upping each other at a SIG
  4. Ask.com getting the biggest oohs and ahhs at an online maps SIG
  5. Older men with bald heads and pony tails on every corner
  6. Garlic Festival, Artichoke Festival, and the most flavorful: Folsom Street Fair
  7. The temperature dropped 30 degrees within 15 miles, driving southbound 1 towards the Golden Gate Bridge
  8. A geeky high-schooler dressed head to toe in valleyschwag looking mighty impressed with his insider self

The Future of Semantic Markup

John Allsopp has an interesting set of articles about semantic markup on Microformatique. This last installment, the future of semantic markup is well worth reading.

Future Semantics

So far we’ve seen that there are three sources of semantics in HTML

  • The built in semantics of HTML itself – its elements and attributes
  • The ad hoc semantics of developers inventing their own vocabularies, which is typically “injected” into HTML largely using the class and id attributes of HTML
  • Semi structured approaches to developing richer semantics, in particular the microformats project.

It would make sense that future semantic developments of HTML would come from these or similar sources or approaches. In this article I want to focus on each in turn, and consider the benefits and shortcomings of each approach to developing richer semantics for HTML.

I’ll begin with the second approach, “bottom up” semantics, which I considered in the first article, and have paid no small amount of attention to with previous research. In short, despite the success of bottom up ontologies, what Thomas Vander Wal terms “folksonomies”, where common vocabularies for describing things emerge through ad hoc usage (well known examples are Flickr’s tags, and Del.icio.us), vocabularies for describing common data on the web simply haven’t emerged. This is not just an assertion, as my previous research indicates. It should in fact not come as a surprise, because class values, for example, are “hidden”, while tags at del.icio.us or flickr, by comparison are visible giving rise to a positive feedback loop – when I as a user see a tag for a particular kind of thing, I am more likely to use it myself for similar kinds of things. Over time, particular terms appear to “win”, and become the conventionally accepted tag for that kind of thing. With class and id values on the other hand, we simply don’t get the network effect to anoint particular words as the names of things.

Semantics in HTML Part III – Towards a semantic web

Browser wars get the star geek treatment

The Web Sig in the Silicon Valley is putting together a very impressive meeting at the end of the month. Browser Wars, it’s a spoof of Star Wars and the dreaded browser wars of the 90’s.

Browser Wars
I’m the first to cringe when someone discusses Star Trek or Star Wars in reverential tones. The theme alone is enough for me to think twice about this event. However, this night at the Yahoo! campus will bring out the big guns of the browsers (Chris Wilson from IE, Mike Shaver from FireFox, and Håkon Wium Lie from Opera are members of W3C).

The three of them will discuss the DOM object, the future of browsers, and more. Here’s a snippet of the announcement.

Attack of the DOMs is very relevant in this Browser Wars Episode II as Web 2.0 increasingly utilizes AJAX in interface design, functionality and web applications. Each browser implements its supported DOM. IE7 is known to suffer in performance from memory leaks that are related to its inherited DOM architectural design. Firefox quickly gains popularity with its DOM strategy among Web 2.0 communities with faster loading time. DOM Level 2 CSS allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content and of style sheets documents. No designers can deny the importance of the interaction between CSS and DOM in rendering site design properly across browsers.
Web Sig

If you are in the Silicon Valley, hurry up and reserve your seating today! This will fill up quickly and you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Håkon Wium Lie, the inventor of CSS and one of the original creators of the “internet”. The event is free to attend and Yahoo! will provide snacks and free sodas.