Monthly Archives: February 2006

Bloglines Beta Environment

I see you.

What are you hiding behind those password protected doors?

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Rojo vs. Bloglines: It’s sort of like Red vs. Blue

I use Bloglines. Straight up. I haven’t found a (web-based) RSS reader that allows me to get through as many feeds as quickly as Bloglines. The keyboard shortcuts are a revelation unto the application, just as they were when Gmail brought them to life. And now they have new icons for the folders and feeds! Wow! I guess they must have decided that the interface wasn’t glossy enough.*

But (there’s always a but, right?)…

Rojo‘s got tags. Yeah, tags are probably a little overrated since they’ve been used in every New Web app since the very invention of tags. But here …by here, I mean, in a feed reader… there is a utility that I often dream about when “s”ing and “j”ing through Bloglines. I would no longer be restrained by having to sort my feeds into folders by category and then naming those folders so they sort in order of the ones that I usually want to read first. Because that “usually” is critical. The keystone, if you will.

With tags, I no longer have folders named like “01 Basketball – 01 News”… I can have a “basketball news” tag, and, if I find that some news sources are more reliable (or perhaps more well written) than others, I can add a tag called “Pri 01″ (or maybe even just “01”). So, now, when I’m strapped for time, I don’t have to sift through any blogs that aren’t really that important to get to FreeDarko or the Fantasy Basketblog.

The only problem is that Rojo does not (yet) have keyboard navigation. But, just writing about using the tags has worked me up into such a lather that I almost want to make the switch right now. I’m afraid that the sacrifice would just be too much to bear, though. And so, I will soldier on with the currently slightly better of two options.

* The drag and drop reorg would have been nice when I did mine 2 months ago. Too late now, though… so I’m having trouble giving credit for that one…

How To Decide on Professional Development

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Okay… So the title of the post is a bit misleading. I’m not going to tell you how to decide on steps for professional development. I don’t even know myself. That’s what this post is about. I just felt it was better to leave the Question Mark off the title… SEO reasons, ya heard?

So, here’s the question… How do you (aka me) decide on what to do when it comes to professional development. Here’s the example, specific to me (of course): I am currently working on a project that uses web technologies like Struts, Tiles, JSPs (implicitly), Java (also a bit of a duh), EJBs and J2EE in general. There is no real practical application of something like AJAX in this project, and the architecture is well established enough that we’re not gonna go throwing some JavaServer Faces in there… BUT: AJAX and JSF are technologies that I really want to learn. I am familiar with Java and JavaScript already, so those two seem like fairly natural extensions of my current skillz. And I have books about both sitting on my Shelf for when I finish my Java Server Pages reference by Hans Bergstrom. Okay, so really that seems simple enough, right?

Sure, but then I see another Richie Rich Internet Application made with the new Flash 8.5/Flex 2.0 engine, and that run time seems like it could be the future of web applications as easily as the others, and perhaps more so. The Flash player has something like a 94% penetration among internet users. People (not many, but some) turn off JavaScript for security reasons. So does it make more sense to make a jack move to learning ActionScript 3.0, even though I’ve never done any Flash programming before? Or, do I stick with the currently chartered course of AJAX followed by JavaServer Faces (or perhaps the other way around)?

Also obfuscating the issue is the fact that my “shop”, as it were, is mostly invested in Java and Java-related technologies, but there are a few Flash programmers who rock their “specialist” label like it was an oversized clock. Can I step up to be a Flash playa in control of the Flash player? Or is it enough to have a few people doing the Flash stuff, and concentrate on skills that are probably more widely applicable in the realm of web development?

Nels Wadycki: Thinking out loud on the daily.

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Gmail = HTML++, Mvelopes = Client / SOA

SitePoint’s PHP Blog (of all places):

AJAX is used to enhance existing HTML forms / user interaction but the fundamental paradigm is still the same as “normal” web applications. Some key smells of this style;

  1. Page reloads still happen frequently
  2. It’s possible (if you make the effort) to degrade gracefully to non-supporting browsers / browsers with JS turned off.
  3. Session state still resides on the server.

Some of the key smells with Client / SOA;

  1. Page reloads are rare, if at all. The application tends to run in a single browser window.
  2. It’s practically impossible to degrade gracefully, without maintaining seperate code bases.
  3. Session state is largely handled by the client.
  4. Javascript and the browser are acting as a runtime in the same sense as the Java or .NET runtime.
  5. It’s going to require specialist developers

Most people reading this have probably had some experience with Gmail, so you know that it fits in the first category above (now known as HTML++).

I took a free trial month with Mvelopes, and while I couldn’t justify the $8/month for their program (not when I’ve got Yodlee), it was good just to see what kind of things are possible in the world of “Client/SOA” web applications. We’re going to have to come up with a better name for that, right? Yeah. I would recommend that web developers (not so much the designers as the developers) take a look at it. The free trial is surprisingly easy to cancel when you’ve checked it out.

I think probably the most interesting thing above is the statement that Javascript and the browser acts as the run time environment. Are we going to see a JavaScript Enterprise Edition in a few years? Or is it more likely that people will find a better way to combine the Java or .NET run times with AJAX and/or DHTML and/or HTML++? AjaxFaces, anyone?

Design Pattern of a Design Pattern

The Elements of a Design Pattern

Our research suggests one difficulty in building out the design pattern library is starting to catalog the current set of elements. It takes a push from the library creators, but once it’s completed, the value seems to be immediate: teams can start to discuss what works and what doesn’t in current designs, laying out a vision for future development.

While more useful than the Department of Redundancy Department, I find the Design Pattern of a Design Pattern decription somewhat humorous.  I would say ironic, but I’m no English major.

I guess if everyone follows the DPOADP, then it works.  Just hope that Microsoft doesn’t have a different Design Pattern for their Design Patterns or it’s going to be an uphill battle both ways.  In the snow.  Barefoot.
And yes, I did find the link above in Yahoo’s User Interface Design Blog.

The Yahoo Kool-Aid

Just so we’re all on the same page here… I am drinking the Yahoo Kool-Aid. But I can quit any time I want.

Case in point: The new redesign of the home page. It’s lame. I saw a comment from someone somewhere saying that it needed to be more like Google’s page. I agree. Not so much to the extent that it needs to have no content on it (since Yahoo is trying to pretend like they’re a content/media provider), but in that it needs to load fast. I don’t just mean like 1-2 seconds fast (just now, on my T-449 line at work: My Yahoo: 2.65s, Yahoo: 1.352s, Google: 0.51s), I mean like, I fire up my browser at least 10 times a day (maybe more since Firefox has started grabbing 100+ MB of my RAM, and I have to shut it down to free up those resources for my localhost server), and I need to have it start like I was looking at about:blank. If the new Yahoo page can do that, and they pay me to use it, then I will be on the train sitting in the lounge car from here to Oregon.

Yahoo to offer incentives for using search engine? | News.blog | CNET News.com

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Yahoo to offer incentives for using search engine? | News.blog | CNET News.com

Yahoo confirmed on Wednesday that it’s polling some Yahoo Mail users about what they would want in exchange for making Yahoo their primary search engine. The survey was sent to a random sampling representing about 5 percent of its Yahoo Mail users, a Yahoo representative said.

The potential rewards are after the jump, and I would jump just about any of them. If Yahoo won’t do what I tell it to do, at least it is considering doing other things that will make me happy in areas where I haven’t told them what to do.

Yahoo: I’d rather live in a nice house than “Go” on vacation

It’s called a Calendar.

There’s also a thing called a todo list.

I realize you just used up that line of equity to get the new mailbox, but I haven’t even seen that yet. Of course, I’ve heard enough about it to already be demanding upgrades to the kitchen. I don’t need granite countertops… but a dishwasher would be nice… or maybe color-coded categories for events. And the ability to choose my own event categories. And the ability to share only certain categories with only certain people. Kind of like I can do with stuff on my 360 page. Why not upgrade the stuff that is already there before making something new that extends all that old stuff? Even if it’s a fantastic extensionizer, it’s still just adding to old stuff.

I realize that you “aren’t buying Digg” but if you were going to buy someone out… I bet you could get RememberTheMilk really cheap. I mean, like throw a couple M over there and you’ve got the best Todo List app there is. Period. PS: This GTD thing is pretty hot right now. I bet people would freak the heck out if they could use your best-in-class email app to automatically create todo items in your best-in-class todo list app. There’s people writing plug-ins to do that in Outlook. That sucking sound you hear is Microsoft dollars going down the drain.

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