Archive of: development

  • Hay

    Everyone has an idea about how to make it easier to find needles in the haystack, but no-one bothers to ask what all this hay is doing here in the first place.

    Rich Harris

  • A multiple discovery moment

    The time has arrived that three communities–the business, design, and technology communities–have independently discovered the same thing. That the best way to build new technology products, services, and the businesses that deliver them is to work in small, cross-functional, highly collaborative teams. To use lightweight, informal methods. To use rapid cycles of designing, making, and validating in order to test and learn and improve. To focus on the customer.

    Josh Seiden in Agile UX? Lean UX? Customer Development? A multiple discovery moment.

  • Minor data loss

    …losing your read position is a form of minor data loss.

    Marco Arment sweating the details on how he deals with the iPhone status bar scrollback in instapaper.

  • Dumb solutions

    Kellan Elliott-McCrea on his response whenever he’s asked “How does Flickr do XYZ?“.

    We generally try do the dumbest thing that will work first. And that’s usually as far as we get.

    There’s an elegance to dumb solutions.

  • Who is Drupal's target audience?

    Leisa Reichelt reflects on what Mark Boulton and herself learnt during the D7UX project this summer, and puts her finger on a big issue facing the Drupal community going forward: who is the target audience?

    And so we have this tension. Drupal as a ‘Consumer Product’ and Drupal as a ‘Developer Framework’. Currently, the official direction is that the project is going to attempt to be both. I think this is a serious problem.

    The target audiences for each of these objectives are so far removed from each other in terms of their tasks & goals, their capabilities, their vocabulary, their priorities. An attempt to devise an interface to suit both will result in an outcome that I expect we’ll see in the release of Drupal 7 – that is a compromise to both parties.


    (emphasis mine)

  • Design in the Drupal community

    From a fantastic piece by Christopher Calicott looking at how front end design and development is treated within the Drupal community.

    Having such high standards for writing PHP code while playing so fast and loose with front end code and treating it as though it’s a non-issue, even while the rest of the world does it this way, is not only a gross double standard within the Drupal community, it is currently beginning to get the attention of the Web world outside of Drupal — and not in a good way. We’re positioned in the press to take off like a rocket and gain real longevity, and yet in the web design community – people who talk around the world at conferences, on podcasts, et cetera – are starting to hear that Drupal, despite the good things about the code they’ve heard, makes minced meat of their beautifully executed, semantic XHTML, and there are no plans within the leadership of the Drupal community (yet) to raise the standard for front-end code to the same degree that they have on the backend.

    Firstly, developers take writing code very seriously and have stringent – but ultimately plain and simple – coding style rules to follow with their module development. Designers have the same sorts of practices. It’s what they do and it’s equally as important. It is time that that is fully recognized in the Drupal community and an effort be made to bring this paradigm (elsewhere largely already in practice) into our community. Designers feel just as strongly about a developer playing fast and loose with improperly written, unsemantic XHTML as developers do about designers who make dumb mistakes with PHP or try to talk shop when they are out of their depth. In fact, dare I say it – if you’re writing poor, unsemantic XHTML markup, it’s due to your lack of understanding of what you are doing, at this point. Web standards are widely adopted in the Web world. Drupal ignores this fact at its peril.

    It’s an issue that’s been bubbling under for a while, and this is the best treatise I’ve seen on it yet. Required reading for anyone involved with Drupal on any level.

  • HTML is interesting again

    Simon St. Laurent on the O’Reilly Radar talks about the rebirth of the conversation around HTML after the relative quiet of the past five or six years:

    Today, though, the HTML conversation is reborn. Standards development around HTML seems to actually have a chance of influencing user experience in the browser, and Microsoft itself is participating in the HTML 5 conversation despite still holding roughly two-thirds of the browser market. While Microsoft’s market share is only slowly eroding, developer mindshare seems to have shifted decisively to the band of WHATWG upstarts, Microsoft’s competitors.

    The reason for this, I think, is that HTML 5 clearly has a bright future in a place that Microsoft can’t presently block: mobile web browsers. When I ask people about the future of computing, the word I keep hearing in their answers is “mobile”. Even if it’s small now, it has a much greater effect on how people evaluate what’s coming.

    Microsoft has a mobile presence, certainly, but it’s hard to argue that it has anywhere near the visibility of the iPhone, or even the Android. Mobile web browsing has kept Opera going for years, but the iPhone and Android give Apple and Google much more visibility for their HTML 5 work, and Apple’s decision to keep Flash off the iPhone in particular gave developers further cause to rethink their dependencies. (The WebKit browser engine these share will also be integrated with Blackberry soon, and is also on the Palm Pre.)

    What’s especially interesting to me is the amount of mobile systems that are going with WebKit as their rendering engine of choice. It’s not just RIM and Palm, but you now have Symbian and Nokia coming together under the Symbian Foundation as well.

    And as final food for thought, a demo of what Webkit is now capable of with just HTML and CSS Transforms (requires a recent Webkit nightly build or you can view a video of the demos at Dailymotion).

  • Agile development is more culture than process

    The coolest thing about a waterfall process is that it allows me personally to succeed, to demonstrate skill and competence, while the end result of the process is a dismal failure. Cleverly built into a waterfall process are a variety of scapegoating mechanisms that allow us to blame other people, or outside influences for failure.

    - Jeff Patton.

  • Future of Web Design

    Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the Future of Web Design conference this year, partly because of the ongoing integration work (if you’re following me on Twitter you know what that’s been like) and partly because I wanted to save some cash for dConstruct 2008.

    Luckily Jeremy Keith has done a fantastic job of liveblogging the presentations, so between his sterling effort and the torrent of photos on Flickr I can almost kid myself that I was there.

    Roll on 3rd September.

  • Creating leverage at the data layer

    Matt McAlister examines what it means to be part of the web of data:

    It’s not about posting data to a domain and figuring out how to get people there to consume it. It’s about being the best data source or the best data aggregator no matter how people make use of it in the end.

    Nate Koechley has a great companion piece entitled Data Ocean vs Document Lake.

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