Archive for April, 2007

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Why does ‘rich client’ equal ‘bad separation of presentation from content’?

I started writing this post back when doing tech editing the “Rich Client Alternatives” chapter on Web 2.0, the book. Now, with Apollo getting some attention, it’s worth revisiting.

What do XUL, Yahoo! Widgets, OpenLaszlo, Silverlight, and Apollo have in common? All of them mix content with presentation to some degree. Years of experience on the web have shown that a properly-done CSS layout gives you:

  • smaller, faster pages
  • better accessibility and user control of rendering
  • better adaptation to different screen resolutions
  • easier repurposing of data, including microformats
  • better mobile compatibility

Initial HTML browsers didn’t have these advantages, and gave in to early pressure to implement things like blink and font tags. Today, most webfolks would admit that these presentational tags were a mistake, and contemporary web design avoids them.
So what is it about “rich” clients that’s different? Are developers missing out on the hard lessons learned on the web? Or is there something inherent in the definition of “rich clients” that changes the balance? Your comments are welcome. -m

Saturday, April 28th, 2007

Everything is Miscellaneous

Havi Hoffman at Yahoo! gave me an advance copy of David Weinberger’s Everything is Miscellaneous. I’ve been a fan of Weinberger for years–I even quoted him in my book.

I’m just getting in to the reading. I’ll report back when I have more to say. -m

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Email meltdown in progress

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but just after installing Thunderbird 2, deleting emails started taking 5 seconds, then 15, then 30, then a full minute. Then it quit working alltogether. Also 14,000 old mailing list messages materialized in my Junk folder. My inbox has hundreds of unread, and drastic measures might be needed to get things working again… -m

Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

Big money in small screens

Here’s a NYT article on Yahoo! Mobile, including a picture of the “warroom” where I spend a few hours on a typical day. The sign on the back wall says “platform team”, and on top of that “Maru” in Kanji and roman characters. -m

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

James Clark blog: do you read the web or feed version?

James Clark is blogging. A few zillion people have already mentioned this.

A slightly tangent observation: I had trouble reading through an entire article in web form, but had no problems returning later to the atom feed. At first I chalked it up to early morning grogginess, but it seems to be a repeatable phenomenon at all hours, at least for me.

So a double thanks to James for publishing a full feed.

How about you: do you have an easier time reading long form articles in a feed reader vs. a browser?  Do you prefer feed reader vs. browser for this blog? Comment below. -m

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

My simple comment moderation policy

I don’t remember ever spelling this out, so:

  • Any posting that adds to the discussion shall be accepted
  • Any posting by a spammer/robot/pay-per-post flunkie shall be rejected
  • Any posting that would offend my grandma shall be rejected
  • Any posting that takes too long for me to categorize per above MAY be rejected

These aren’t hard-and-fast rules. It’s getting increasingly difficult to discern postings that come from actual personalities. As a general rule, you should include a link back to your personal site, which should present itself in a way that makes it obvious that it’s not put together by some toxic SEO-gaming, advert-farming, internet-poisoning aggregation program.

But that’s just good advice no matter which blogs you comment on. -m

Sunday, April 1st, 2007


I can’t talk on the phone right now. Can you follow up on email?
Consider it placed on my todo list.
Let me give you my new address.
Hmm, I don’t have it.
What are you talking about?

(If you get the pattern, post below…) -m