Bitworking - theories of software development

by Joe Gregorio

The Web and Stigmergy

:: 2002-12-30T11:31:51-05:00

What do memes, weblogs, Google and neighborhoods all have in common? More...

Clearer markup and less typing

:: 2002-12-26T16:05:03-05:00

Working on The Well-Formed Web has at times turned out to be a pain in the brackets, with all of that pain centering around marking up the examples on the site. I want to use valid HTML and also meaningfully mark up the content. So I have been marking up the examples with this structure:

  <div class="example">
    <pre>
      <code>
          ...Example code goes here...
      </code>
    </pre>
  </div>

The CSS class "example" makes the background blue and puts the black border around each of the examples. The PRE tag says that the content is pre-formatted and the CODE tag says that the content is code which usually means that a fixed-wdith font is used to display it.

Now that is a bit wordy so I have considered going to this style of markup:

  <div class="example pre code">
          ...Example code goes here...
  </div>

But unfortunately this is the kind of markup you are warned against using when first learning about CSS. That is, you could create CSS equivalents for all the HTML tags and markup your content using nothing but DIV's or SPAN's, which obviously destroys the semantic value of the HTML taqs. It is the semantic value of those tags that helps Google search and we don't want to mess with Google now do we?

An alternative might be:

  <pre class="example code">
          ...Example code goes here...
  </pre>

But what to do if I have an example that isn't pre-formatted? Well that is highly unlikely so I may end up just using the above and waiting to solve that problem on the day it arises.

Another alternative might be:

  <p><samp><code>
          ...Example code goes here...
  </code></samp></p>

Update: I have settled on:

  <pre class="example">
    <code>
          ...Example code goes here...
    </code>  
  </pre>

Footnote: Silly old me looked through the W3C standards and how they markup their own content. Unfortunately I saw all of the above variations and more, so that little exercise turned out to be no help.

Slow updates

:: 2002-12-24T10:13:29-05:00

Updates here on BitWorking have been a little slow of late, my attention has been elsewhere. In particular I have been adding features to RESTLog and also have spent a lot of time over the last 11 days discussing REST and SOAP with over at Sam Ruby's place: Unification: REST, SOAP, RSS, Blogger, Green Eggs and Ham, Can.Worms.Open(), and All the way to SOAP.

Cross-Browser Variable Opacity with PNG: A Real Solution

:: 2002-12-23T16:04:43-05:00

The latest article on AListApart, Cross-Browser Variable Opacity with PNG: A Real Solution, is pretty good. I ran into some of these problems when I decided to switch to using PNGs across most of this site, with the exception of some photographs. From what I recall the work arounds aren't needed if you use a palletized PNG, i.e. one that has only 256 or less distinct colors. Now since I feel uncomfortable with any design that uses more than 6 colors that isn't much of a limitation for me. :)

Happy Birthday!

:: 2002-12-21T21:48:44-05:00

Happy Birthday Sam

Creative Commons

:: 2002-12-19T01:03:21-05:00

The Creative Commons finally launched on the 16th. The animated short is really well done. I need to pick a license for this site and WellFormedWeb.org.

First Post!

:: 2002-12-19T00:56:25-05:00

Congrats to Mark Pilgrim on his first article on xml.com, What is RSS?

Google, XML and Mr. Poindexter

:: 2002-12-17T09:03:29-05:00

So I found out from my referrer logs that I am pretty highly ranked (10th) in Google for the search "10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD", which happens to be Mr. Poindexter's home address. The interesting part to me is that my home page is ranked 10th and my RSS file is ranked 11th. Nice to see XML data on equal footing with HTML in Google's eyes. Makes the building of the Well-Formed Web that much easier. Of course I also wondered if Mr. Poindexter was himself Googling around to see who was talking about him. Hi John! Please feel free to browse around and read all the information about myself I want to be publicly known. As for the rest of my private info, hands-off!

It's not the infinite improbability drive but...

:: 2002-12-14T21:34:55-05:00

Dean Allen has come up with a great idea, essentially using WikiML as the input source to his weblog software. He points to others that independently came up with the same idea. This is a cool idea. Very Cool. So cool I think I will steal it.

The Faceted Classification Discussion (FCD) mailing list

:: 2002-12-14T21:13:18-05:00

Phil Murray and Peter Van Dijck have started the Faceted Classification Discussion (FCD) mailing list. The start page also contains good links to other faceted classification resources.

Micropayments

:: 2002-12-14T01:40:22-05:00

Whoa, I don't know how long this will last, but I just signed up for a Cashets account and got two dollars free just for opening the account. Cool.

Update: Revjim has some thoughts on Cashets and pointed me to OCash.

RESTLog

:: 2002-12-13T01:10:41-05:00

The discussions on the Blogger 2.0 API gave me a perfect venue to compare and contrast it to RESTLog. Please stop by the yahoo group Universal Canvas APIs Discussion that Timothy Appnel and I started to discuss such things.

SVG Tutorials

:: 2002-12-12T00:38:32-05:00

Found a really nice set of SVG tutorials on Kevin Lindsey's site.

It's not the average that will get you.

:: 2002-12-06T18:17:03-05:00

Welcome to the weather of North Carolina. When it comes to the weather here it's not the average that will get you, it's the standard deviation. I spent the first few years always hearing from people, "It's not normally like this." After living here for ten years you get used to it and get to act all cool and nonchanlant when you tell your friends that the last time this happened some people didn't get their power back for two weeks.

The power outage would have been easier to tolerate if Reilly hadn't started throwing up with the stomach flu just two hours after we lost power. Being the parent the children turn to when they don't feel well I spent the whole storm on the floor in front of the fireplace with Reilly, sheets, towels, a bucket, and flashlights. Luckily we have gas logs in the fireplace and city water so the house was warm and we had hot water. Reilly got over his flu just as the power came back on. The only casualty of the storm was the weeping willow. It's dark now and I can't take a picture but I have the tree almost straight, though with 4 stakes and ropes it looks like a twisted experiment in tree bondage.

Sneak Preview

:: 2002-12-04T00:17:51-05:00

I have been rewriting Pamphlet, the application I use to maintain BitWorking.org, to use the RESTLog interface. Here is a sneak preview of the new RESTLog based Pamphlet.

Total Information Awareness Demo

:: 2002-12-03T09:46:33-05:00

What an awesome idea. Nothing like bringing the consequences close to home to get the point across.

Spurred by an article in the SF Weekly, John Gilmore calls for us to demonstrate how the government's proposed "Total Information Awareness" program might work by collecting information on the project's leader, convicted felon John Poindexter.

John M. and Linda Poindexter live at 10 Barrington Fare, Rockville, MD, 20850 and their phone number is +1 301 424 6613. When I called, it was busy. [Aaron Swartz]

Microsoft Inductive User Interface Guidelines

:: 2002-12-03T09:37:36-05:00

This MSDN article Microsoft Inductive User Interface Guidelines looks promising. The desing principles it espouses agree with what I learned from Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, which is a great book but be warned, if you read it the world will become much more frustrating place. Everything from utensils to door knobs and kitchen cabinets will suddenly stand out as akward to use, and not only will they suddenly stand out, you will know exactly why they are akward and how they could have been designed better.

Looking forward to XForms

:: 2002-12-02T11:15:13-05:00

XForms and XDocs: friend or foe? covers the feelings I have about XFroms also. It does feel like a disruptive technology, and it also fits in so nicely with a RESTian architecture. I am concerned, though, that the official timeline from the W3C is that XForms doesn't make its appearance until XHTML 2.0. I do not want to wait, nor do I think I should have to, I see no reason not to put XFroms in as a module to XHTML 1.X. In some ways I wish we were back in the browser wars.