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July 24 2013

Recherche d'un nouveau logiciel de présentation J'ai fait des tas de présentations avec support…

Recherche d’un nouveau logiciel de présentation

J’ai fait des tas de présentations avec support informatique et, depuis des années, j’utilise #Beamer pour faire les diapositives (oui, le terme fait un peu vieux mais aussi bien Wikipédia que Google Translate proposent « diapositive » pour « slide »). Beamer est parfait pour des présentations sérieuses avec beaucoup de texte, de maths et de code source. J’ai sur mon agenda deux ou trois présentations où il serait souhaitable de mettre d’avantage l’accent sur l’esthétique et j’aimerai bien essayer autre chose que Beamer. Après tout, il faut sortir de sa zone de confort de temps en temps et voir si le monde a évolué en bien. Je recherche donc des suggestions.

En cherchant un peu, je me rends compte qu’une grande partie des outils modernes de présentation sont écrits en JavaScript et fondés sur HTML et CSS. C’est logique : #CSS a évolué au point de permettre des tas d’effets esthétiques et/ou rigolos et sa gestion par les navigateurs modernes s’est nettement améliorée. Et on trouve un navigateur Web partout.

http://www.bortzmeyer.org/logiciel-presentation-nouveau.html

July 16 2013

Concevoir des e-mails réactifs | carrément utile !

Concevoir des e-mails réactifs | carrément utile !
http://www.pompage.net/traduction/emails-reactifs-4-gabarits-reactifs

Il est généralement recommandé de choisir un #gabarit à une seule colonne quand on veut que ses e-#mails soient optimisés pour #mobile, mais il existe une technique élégante pour créer des gabarits réactifs à deux colonnes sans devoir écrire des kilomètres de #CSS.

July 12 2013

DevDocs ❝Provides access to the following API documentations : HTML, CSS, DOM, DOM Events,…

DevDocs
http://devdocs.io

Provides access to the following API documentations: HTML, CSS, DOM, DOM Events, JavaScript and jQuery. The material comes from the usual places (Mozilla Developer Network et al.), but has been consistently and pleasantly styled and provides a slick search user interface. Upcoming feature: offline capability.

#HTML #CSS #DOM #JavaScript #jQuery #documentation

May 28 2013

Four short links: 28 May 2013

  1. My Little Geek — children’s primer with a geeky bent. A is for Android, B is for Binary, C is for Caffeine …. They have a Kickstarter for two sequels: numbers and shapes.
  2. Visible CSS RulesEnter a url to see how the css rules interact with that page.
  3. How to Work Remotely — none of this is rocket science, it’s all true and things we had to learn the hard way.
  4. Raspberry Pi Twitter Sentiment Server — step-by-step guide, and github repo for the lazy. (via Jason Bell)

February 05 2013

Four short links: 5 February 2013

  1. toolbar — tooltips in jQuery, cf hint.css which is tooltips in CSS.
  2. Security Engineering — 2ed now available online for free. (via /r/netsec)
  3. Economics of Netflix’s $100M New Show (The Atlantic) — Up until now, Netflix’s strategy has involved paying content makers and distributors, like Disney and Epix, for streaming rights to their movies and TV shows. It turns out, however, the company is overpaying on a lot of those deals. [...] [T]hese deals cost Netflix billions.
  4. Inceptiona FireWire physical memory manipulation and hacking tool exploiting IEEE 1394 SBP-2 DMA. The tool can unlock (any password accepted) and escalate privileges to Administrator/root on almost* any powered on machine you have physical access to. The tool can attack over FireWire, Thunderbolt, ExpressCard, PC Card and any other PCI/PCIe interfaces. (via BoingBoing)

November 30 2012

Emerging languages spotlight: Elm

Over the next few months I’ll be taking a look at new and emerging programming languages. The following piece is the first in this series.


The Elm Programming Language, created by Evan Czaplicki, tackles web interaction and takes on the big three — HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Czaplicki to talk about why he decided to take on this daunting project and how Elm could revolutionize web programming.

Czaplicki was working on a front-end web project and he was thinking about how is it that web development can be “so frustrating in a way it didn’t have to be.” That was the day Elm was born (he talks about that moment in this segment of our video interview).

Today’s websites bear virtually no resemblance to those from 10 years ago, so why are we using the same tools? Cyclical upgrades to HTML, CSS and JavaScript have certainly enhanced and improved upon older versions. HTML5 has taken some great leaps forward. But we’re still using the core.

Coming from a functional programming background led Czaplicki to think about web programming from the perspective of functional reactive programming. What is functional reactive programming? It takes away the idea that interaction between a website and user is static — updating only at certain moments or clicks — and inserts the capability to update as events happen, like mouse movements. Czaplicki gives more detailed insight here.

Ok, let’s say we buy into this … it seems like a new way of thinking about web programming that will take projects to a new level. But why would you actually change from tried and true HTML, CSS and JavaScript? Czaplicki makes a few good arguments worth mulling over as you think about what language you should use on your next project, starting with the foundational idea that all of the established web languages have “deep semantic problems.” Then he touches on how “surprisingly difficult” CSS and HTML can be to work with for simple tasks, such as vertical centering and text placement. And Czaplicki promises, “Elm allows you to create asynchronous code without callbacks.” That’s something JavaScript does not allow.

Compelling reasons, but will Elm make it to the level of any of these three powerhouse web languages? Czaplicki lays out his roadmap thusly: in the short term he wants to add more features and libraries, then try to garner industry support, and delve deeper into the theory of functional reactive programming as it relates to the implementation of Elm.

I, for one, think it has a chance and that Czaplicki’s paradigm-breaking look at how the web can be programmed helps all web developers.

Our full interview is available in the following video:

Related:

October 24 2012

CSS keeps growing

Eric Meyer, the author of CSS: The Definitive Guide (and much more) has taught thousands of people CSS through his books, his talks, and his articles. I’ve always enjoyed hearing his take on the state of CSS, as he manages to find combinations of capabilities that make CSS more powerful than I thought it was when I first looked.

We sat down last week to discuss the many huge changes CSS3 is bringing, from improvements to old capabilities to completely new tools for animations, transforms, and layout. The continuous rate of change and the size of the specification are driving him to serialize the next edition of the Definitive Guide, releasing it in pieces. Developers can work from familiar foundations, but reach new destinations. The declarative strength of CSS3 lets you create presentation by describing it, and that style keeps proving more powerful.

Highlights of the interview include:

  • CSS3 brings big changes in font capabilities, letting you send fonts to users [discussed at the 2:30 mark] and sites putting those improvements to work [15:50].
  • The many options can make choosing a set of parts seem difficult [discussed at the 4:21 mark], but JavaScript shims that add support for CSS properties can make it easier to use properties even if browsers haven’t come around to them [6:08]
  • Which of your features are like rounded corners? Will progressive enhancement let you worry less about those? [Discussed at the 6:55 mark.]
  • More and more CSS modules apply its declarative approach to behavior, and changes over time. [Discussed at the 8:28 mark.]
  • The new stuff that really has Eric excited? Layout improvements, using pieces designed for explicit layout rather than turning floats into a layout system. [Discussed at the 12:36 mark.]

You can view the entire conversation in the following video:

Related:

May 10 2012

O'Reilly Radar Show 5/10/12: The surprising rise of JavaScript

Below you'll find the script and associated links from the May 10, 2012 episode of O'Reilly Radar. An archive of past shows is available through O'Reilly Media's YouTube channel and you can subscribe to episodes of O’Reilly Radar via iTunes.


The Radar interview

JavaScript’s ascendance has caught many people by surprise. Fluent Conference co-chair Peter Cooper explains why and how it happened in this episode of O’Reilly Radar [interview begins 12 seconds in].

Radar posts of note

Here’s a look at some of the top stories recently published across O’Reilly [segment begins at 11:58].

First up, Mike Hendrickson has published his annual five-part analysis of the computer book market. "State of the Computer Book Market" is a must-read for publishers and developers alike. The full report is also available as a free ebook. Read the series.

In a recent interview with Etsy's Mike Brittain we learned that a failure in secondary content doesn't need to take down an entire website. Brittain explains how to build resilience into UIs and allow for graceful failures. Read the post.

Finally, in our piece "Big data in Europe" Big Data Week organizers Stewart Townsend and Carlos Somohano share the distinctions and opportunities of Europe's data scene. Read the post.

As always, links to these stories and other resources mentioned during this episode are available at radar.oreilly.com/show.

Radar video spotlight

During a recent podcast interview, Velocity Conference chair Steve Souders described himself as an "optimization nut." Find out what that means — and discover how to stay on top of the latest web ops and performance techniques — in this episode’s video spotlight [segment begins at 13:04].

Here are the web operations and performance resources Steve Souders mentions during the video spotlight segment:


Closing

All of the links and resources noted during this episode — including those mentioned by Steve Souders in the previous segment — are available at radar.oreilly.com/show.

Also, you can always catch episodes of O’Reilly Radar at youtube.com/oreillymedia and subscribe to episodes through iTunes.

That’s all we have for now. Thanks for joining us and we’ll see you again soon.

Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond — Explore the changing worlds of JavaScript & HTML5 at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference (May 29 - 31 in San Francisco, Calif.).

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20

May 09 2012

Velocity Profile: Nicole Sullivan

This is part of the Velocity Profiles series, which highlights the work and knowledge of web ops & performance experts.

Nicole SullivanNicole Sullivan
Architect
Stubbornella
@stubbornella

How did you get into web operations & performance?

Accidentally. Years back, I got hired into a company in France that was building a website for one of the major cell phone providers over there. They had some serious performance issues — the site was crashing in Internet Explorer (IE) pretty much any time you interacted with the page. It was a hunt to figure out what was going on because, at that time, there really wasn't a lot of published performance information out there. So, I ended up finding out that filters in the CSS file were causing IE to crash. That hunt to identify the problem and then the subsequent hunts to simplify the page so that other errors wouldn't have such a big impact was really fun. That's what got me into it.

What is your most memorable project?

Optimizing Facebook's CSS back in 2009 was a memorable project. They had 1.9 MB of CSS, which is just huge. That project is when I realized that most performance issues and most code issues are actually human issues. But you have to solve the human issues or the bad code will just keep popping up — sort of like performance Whac-A-Mole.

Another project that was cool was Box.net. They had a lot of CSS, but more than the quantity, it was really tangled. They would have to rewrite things over and over again, just because everything was so context-dependent. That one was fun because it was neat to see the team end up being able to build things much faster once their front-end architecture issues were removed.

What's the toughest problem you've had to solve?

One of the toughest problems I have to solve, and I have to solve it all the time, is how to make performance and operations improvements work in a legacy world. We don't work in a world where we can just wipe the slate clean and do it right from the start. We work in a world where the website has to stay up and we have to make these changes while everything is running. The balance between keeping the legacy running and managing to do improvements, until the legacy can be removed, is probably the hardest problem. And it happens on almost every project.

What tools and techniques do you rely on most?

The work from the Chrome team has been making me really happy lately. They're pushing the boundaries in front-end code, JavaScript, CSS, and especially dev tools. I was on Firefox Dev Tools for a long time, but there was too much incompatibility between different versions of Firefox and the tools that I absolutely needed to do my job every day. So I swapped, reluctantly, over to Chrome and have actually found that the Chrome Developer Tools have made some substantial improvements in terms of usability and the kinds of information that you can get out of the tools. It's pretty cool stuff.

Who do you follow in the web operations & performance world?

Chris Coyier is constantly experimenting, throwing stuff out there, trying new techniques, trying out the browser stuff, and finding the rough edges where things don't work very well. Tab Atkins and Alex Russell are both involved in Chrome and standards at Google. They're amazing people to follow. Another person is Lea Verou. She really pushes the edge in tooling around CSS and taking the specs and bending them to do things they maybe weren't intended to do. I also follow people who are doing LESS and SASS because the preprocessing languages are an interesting development and have a whole different set of performance constraints.

What is your web operations & performance super power?

I think I do pretty well with CSS stuff. I've been doing it for more than a decade now. Friends will send me CSS issues that they're struggling with and I can jump in and pretty quickly identify why it isn't working. Somehow, I've internalized all of the different bits of the different browsers and just kind of know what to do or what not to do.

Velocity 2012: Web Operations & Performance — The smartest minds in web operations and performance are coming together for the Velocity Conference, being held June 25-27 in Santa Clara, Calif.

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20

Related:

April 12 2012

Christopher Schmitt and Simon St. Laurent discuss HTML5


Are we entering a new revolution on the web? HTML5 author and conference organizer Christopher Schmitt sat down to talk with O'Reilly editor Simon St. Laurent about why it's a great time to be a web developer. The new HTML5 spec has brought back the conversation about the web. Developers have been hacking the web for the last several years, and now those techniques have been pulled out of the hands of the developers and into the browser for better, faster websites. Let's hope we see continued innovation in the coming years to strengthen the ecosystem and personal connections.

Highlights from the full video interview include:

  • HTML5 and friends. HTML5 is often thought of a collection of technologies released at the same time, even though they aren't all technically "HTML5". [Discussed at the 0:39 mark]
  • The open web has won. Frameworks have given developers a way to create and share advances across browsers. [Discussed at the 03:29 mark]
  • Relieving your headaches. Native video and audio reduce the number of tasks needed to get media content on the web. [Discussed at the 05:20 mark]
  • Hybrid skills. Web developers need to understand code, design, and UI/UX to thrive in this evolving world. [Discussed at the 11:50 mark]
  • Design friendly CSS. Despite all the focus on HTML5 and JavaScript, CSS is growing ever more powerful and important. [Discussed at the 14:23 mark]
  • Accessible PDFs. PDFs are part of the mix, even if they follow a different track. [Discussed at the 23:46 mark]

Fluent Conference: JavaScript & Beyond — Explore the changing worlds of JavaScript & HTML5 at the O'Reilly Fluent Conference (May 29 - 31 in San Francisco, Calif.).

Save 20% on registration with the code RADAR20

March 01 2012

Permission to be horrible and other ways to generate creativity

I met Denise R. Jacobs (@denisejacobs) the old fashioned way, not through Twitter or LinkedIn: a mutual acquaintance introduced us. We corresponded via email and actually got together in person a few months later at Web 2.0 Expo, where Denise was speaking. I was impressed both by her passion for giving people the knowledge, tools and resources to feel more empowered in their work as well as the breadth of her experience. Denise wrote "The CSS Detective Guide" and co-authored "InterAct with Web Standards." She also develops curricula for the Web Standards Project Education Task Force and was nominated for .Net Magazine's 2010 Best of the Web "Standards Champion" award.

I spoke with Denise recently about her experiences writing her book, how that led her to new ways of thinking, how she got started the web design, and other projects.

You're known for your web design work. What motivated you to explore the more non-technical topics of creative inspiration?

Denise JacobsDenise R. Jacobs: During the writing process "The CSS Detective Guide" I had a huge epiphany about myself and my ideas of creativity. I had to do battle on a daily basis with my inner critic and figure out ways to silence it, so that I could just get the work done.

In an industry where people are constantly producing wonderful things, it's really hard not to compare yourself to others. In terms of the creativity and the inspiration, it's easy to have panicky moments when you feel as though you can't come up with another idea, a new design, more content. I wanted to formulate ways to access creativity and channel that amazing feeling that you can take on the world, both for myself to help other people. So I wrote an article as a way to solidify my own techniques and to help anybody else who may need to silence a mean voice in their head as well.

Creativity isn't always associated with the technical community. Why is that?

Denise R. Jacobs: It's because there's such a limited definition of creativity in our culture. People treat artists as if they're off in their own world or put them on a pedestal. But it's a misconception that technical people aren't creative. Developers and coders and database architects are extremely creative, just as scientists are. They have to come up with solutions and code that have never been written before. If that's not creativity, I don't know what is.

I'm reading "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel H. Pink, which explores how right-brain is the new wave. We're entering a new conceptual, high-touch era whereas before we were in a very analytical era. Our industry, the technical industry, is actually a perfect in-between point of left brain and right brain. You have to have both, a whole-brain approach, to be successful in our industry.

What steps can people take to bring creativity into their professional and personal lives?

Denise R. Jacobs: One of my favorite techniques for being creative, and productive in general, is to give yourself permission to be as horrible at something as you possibly can, to even mess it up. That permission actually lowers inhibition filters and allows you to take chances that you would normally not take. Often that ends up making it good because you're not as invested in it and therefore not as self-conscious about the process.

Another important technique is to set aside time where your brain is resting, where you're not actually trying to produce something. Give it space to be able to make connections that it wouldn't necessarily have made before. Insights come when you're taking a walk, sitting on the beach or the park bench, playing with your dog. Because your brain is relaxing, it can go places that it doesn't usually go when you're concentrating or you're thinking hard.

In this industry, there's a subculture that is always on — on the computer, on social networks, connecting with people. There is never a time to not be on. When you're at dinner with a friend, you're checking in on Foursquare. You're tweeting. You're taking a picture to upload to your Facebook profile. Texting friends. To just be off is huge and can make all of the difference in the world.

With social media and other tools for people to come together, both in real life and virtually, what do you think about the state of communities today?

Denise R. Jacobs: I could be biased, but one thing I do see is that despite all of our virtual connections, in real life, it's kind of awkward. People are so used to communicating with each other digitally, texting for instance, that they're starting to lose the capacity to have genuine in-person connections to some degree. People aren't engaging with each other. Yet they try to depict it as such to keep themselves entertained.

A trend I'd like to see is for communities and people who make connections virtually to solidify that with an in-person connection. And if you make an in-person connection, then further solidify that with a virtual connection. Let there be a constant ebb and flow, a circuit going back and forth between both real life and virtual connections so that you can't really rely completely on either one. That's why we have these tools — we crave connection. We don't really have enough of it, but we can't depend solely on tools to create all of the connection that we need and vice versa.

What trends and people are you following?

Denise R. Jacobs: Location and self-publishing are trends I watch popping up all over the place. There are so many things going on that it's kind of overwhelming. I rely on serendipity and I focus more on concepts, ideas, and people because they are what underlie the trends. I am inspired by unapologetic creativity and unapologetic cleverness. I admire the younger people coming into the industry who are developing and innovating like crazy.

I admire the work Jane McGonigal is doing, her "Reality Is Broken" book and her whole gaming productivity movement. She takes ownership for being a woman in an industry where that's not typical and doesn't tone herself down at all. She's very feminine and a badass, has a PhD and awesome ideas and that's just the way it is with her.

I also admire Kathy Sierra because she's been around for a while and she's also an incredibly intelligent and clever person, a great speaker, and also someone with a lot of really wonderful ideas.

Tell us about your Rawk the Web project.

Denise R. Jacobs: There are a lot of diverse experts in the tech industry, women and people of color, but they're not very visible in terms of speaking at conferences or writing articles or books or whatever. It's not that conferences or publishers don't want a more diverse lineup, but often they just don't know who to get or how to go about it.

I was at a conference last year and the organizer asked me to fill in for a speaker who had to cancel. Afterwards, I ended up talking to a woman who really wanted to become a speaker but didn't know where to start. This was a perfect example of what people are probably saying to themselves. "I don't know enough. How do I get started? It seems really imposing. There's no room for anybody new."

I started Rawk the Web to give people actual information and have experts share their story about how they got started so that other people can see that they can do it, too. I also want to provide resources to people who may be inclined to give women and people of color more visibility, a network of people they can talk to and get inspiration from to take that first step. This is a really good time for it because people see me at conferences and notice I'm often the only brown person there — they're very conscious of it and glad to see me on stage. I'm hoping to launch it in June and that there will eventually be a Rawk the Web Conference. I know I'm not the only person working on this issue, but I'd like it to be more of a concentrated effort.

How did you get started with CSS and what do you see in its near future?

Denise R. Jacobs: Back in late 1996, nobody was updating the website at the place I was working so I volunteered to take care of it. During that process, I taught myself HTML — it was actually before CSS had really been widely embraced. Over the course of the next few years, I worked in localization for a Microsoft product, then I was a web group product manager at another software company, then later an instructor at Seattle Central Community College in their web design and development programs. Around 2002, web standards started becoming more popular. It was so much better and so much easier. One file to control the whole website — brilliant! It was an amazing, exciting time, to see the changing of the guard, what the web was moving from and what it was moving toward.

I couldn't call myself a web design instructor in good conscience without knowing CSS and I couldn't send students out into the world with outdated and inefficient skills. So I keep up with the trends, particularly by reading articles on A List Apart, and blogs by Dave Shea, Andy Budd and Doug Bowman.

As for the future of CSS, there's going to be a lot more reliance and trust of browsers. Browser vendors know what an important role they play and that browser wars don't do much good. More browser companies are working together with the W3C to establish and embrace standards.

Because of that, changes are happening faster. There's a big push for people to get up to speed with current best practices and develop new ones. For things like page layouts and CSS3, there are some really neat properties that are going to change the way people think about their approach to web layouts and the craft of building websites. It's going to be interesting to see how long those properties take to be adopted and what people come up with for them.

This interview was edited and condensed.

Related:

February 02 2012

Four short links: 2 February 2012

  1. Beautiful Buttons for Bootstrap -- cute little button creator, with sliders for hue, saturation, and "puffiness".
  2. CMU iPad Course -- iTunes U has the video lectures for a CMU intro to iPad programming.
  3. Inspiring Matter -- the conference aims to bring together designers, scientists, artists and humanities people working with materials research and innovation to talk about how they work cross- or trans-disciplinarily, the challenges and tools they've found for working collaboratively, and the ways they find inspiration in their work with materials. London, April 2-3.
  4. Facebook's S-1 Filing (SEC) -- the Internets are now full of insights into Facebook's business, for example Lance Wiggs's observation that Facebook's daily user growth is slowing. While 6-10% growth per quarter feels like a lot when annualized, it is getting close to being a normal company. Facebook is running out of target market, and especially target market with pockets deep enough to be monetised. But I think that's the last piece of Facebook IPO analysis that I'll link to. Tech Giant IPOs are like Royal Weddings: the people act nice but you know it's a seething roiling pit of hate, greed, money, and desperation that goes on a bit too long so by the end you just want to put an angry chili-covered porcupine in everyone's anus and set them all on fire. But perhaps I'm jaded.

January 23 2012

Responsive design works for websites, why not for digital comic books?

In a keynote speech at the Books in Browsers conference, Pablo Defendini (@pablod), the interactive producer at Open Road Media, discussed responsive comics and the opportunities digital tools afford comic book design. In print, Defendini says, the page is the canvas for comics, but instead of being optimized for online consumption, digital editions are often merely static adaptations of print comics. How much richer could the reading experience be if they were designed with more responsive techniques?

Defendini says it's important for writers and artists to consider the various digital formats and take full advantage of the possibilities. Highlights from his keynote (below) include:

  • Screen resolution is an issue for comics, and current mechanisms used to compensate can be detrimental to the story. [Discussed at the 2:05 mark.]
  • Web designers experience similar presentation issues on different devices of varying screen sizes and employ responsive design techniques as a solution. What if we did that with comics? [Discussed at 3:54.]
  • Defendini shows examples of a comic designed with HTML and CSS — "just a website by another name" — displayed on smartphone and tablet screens, and in iBooks as a fixed layout book. [Starting at about 5:00.]
  • Starting at about 10:34, Defendini addresses questions about designing the speech balloons in CSS, motion comics, and solutions for multi-language comics.

View the keynote in full below.

TOC NY 2012 — O'Reilly's TOC Conference, being held Feb. 13-15, 2012, in New York, is where the publishing and tech industries converge. Practitioners and executives from both camps will share what they've learned and join together to navigate publishing's ongoing transformation.

Register to attend TOC 2012

Related:


January 04 2012

Four short links: 4 January 2012

  1. Compiling Android from Source (Jethro Carr) -- not as easy as you might think. The documentation is minimal, and each device has its own binary blobs of not-open-source crap necessary to make them work. Open source is supposed to let users continue to do good things with the device, even if the vendor disapproves (cf Stallman's Printer). Jethro's experience is that with Android, not so much. Even the Google AOSP supported phones can't run a pure open source stack, proprietary downloads are supplied by Google for specific hardware components for each model and for a specific OS release. Should Google decide to stop supporting a device with future Android versions (as has happened with earlier devices) you won't easily be able to support the hardware. (via Don Christie)
  2. Javascript Objects, Functions, Scope, Prototypes, and Closures -- an extremely readable yet concise guide to these topics in Javascript. (via Javascript Weekly)
  3. CSS3 Progress Bars (GitHub) -- gorgeous and useful. (via Juha Saarinen)
  4. To Know But Not Understand (David Weinberger) -- excellent excerpt from his new book on big data and computational science. We can climb the ladder of complexity [...] to phenomena with many more people with much more diverse and changing motivations, such as markets. We can model these and perhaps know how they work without understanding them. They are so complex that only our artificial brains can manage the amount of data and the number of interactions involved. Preordered his book! (via Alexis Madrigal)

January 02 2012

Four short links: 2 January 2012

  1. What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success (The Atlantic) -- Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted. This is a magnificent article, you should read it. (via Juha Saarinen)
  2. impress.js (github) -- MIT-licensed Prezi-like presentation tool, built using CSS3 3d transforms. I've never been happy with the Prezi because I fear data lock-in. This might be a way forward. (via Hacker News)
  3. Facebook Offers Debit Cards to White Hat Hackers (CNet) -- paying vulnerability bounties without handing out cash. I figure it's the start of a loyalty program. Will Facebook learn what the hackers spent the money on? Interesting possibilities opened up here.
  4. Green Goose -- interesting startup selling consumer sensor hardware. My intuition is that we're platforming too soon: that we need a few individual great applications of the sensors to take off, then we can worry about rationalising hardware in our house. The biggest problem seems to me that we're talking about "sticking sensors on milk cartons" rather than solving an actual problem someone has. ("There are no sensors on my milk cartons" is not an oft-heard lament)

October 17 2011

Four short links: 17 October 2011

  1. Story Written in Reddit -- historical scifi based on the question "Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?" Movie rights were just acquired by Warners. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Auditing Google -- the comically complex games played to move profits to jurisdictions beyond taxation is under scrutiny, at last. While you dodge taxes like this, you have no high moral ground for "do no evil".
  3. Frontend SPOF Survey (Steve Souders) -- a "frontend SPOF" is any crap whose mere presence can delay the display of your web page. We've been bitten by this on Radar: "ooh, let's try this widget—wait, now it takes 12s to load a page, wtf?"
  4. Syntactically Awesome Stylesheets -- an extension of CSS3, adding nested rules, variables, mixins, selector inheritance, and more. It';s translated to well-formatted, standard CSS using the command line tool or a web-framework plugin.

October 04 2011

PhoneGap basics: What it is and what it can do for mobile developers

PhoneGapPorting mobile apps across systems is, to put it kindly, an inelegant process. There's considerable work involved — so much so that developers are sometimes forced to limit their efforts to one platform.

PhoneGap, an open-source mobile framework, offers an alternative: It helps developers build a common codebase for their apps so the apps work across devices and systems.

I recently spoke with Joe Bowser (@infil00p), creator of PhoneGap's Android implementation, to get his take on the strengths and limitations of PhoneGap and what developers need to know before putting it to use. Bowser will dive into a number of related topics during his session at next week's Android Open conference.

Our interview follows. (Note: this interview was conducted before Adobe announced its acquisition of PhoneGap's parent company, Nitobi.)

What is PhoneGap and why should mobile developers consider using it?

Joe Bowser: PhoneGap is an application framework that allows developers to use HTML, JavaScript and CSS to create apps that are present as first-class applications on the phone. That means the apps have their own icons and operate similarly to native applications without a browser frame around them. They are distributed via the application stores, such as the Android Market and the Apple App Store, and they have access to a set of native functions to further make them work like native apps.

Developers use PhoneGap because it allows them to have a common codebase for all their application code. It doesn't force developers to reinvent the wheel every time they move from platform to platform.

Are there downsides to using PhoneGap?

Joe Bowser: You are subject to the limitations of the browser and the JavaScript engine that comes with your device. On Android 2.3, this isn't too bad. Earlier versions of Android don't support certain features, and many of them use older JavaScript interpreters, which can impact an application. Also, there are certain things that are better implemented in native code, like cryptography or 3-D graphics. Most apps don't use features like this — they simply display information, which the web does well.

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What challenges did you face when creating the Android PhoneGap implementation?

Joe Bowser: The Android PhoneGap implementation was our first implementation after the iPhone, so there were questions about whether this was possible at all. At that time, the Android 1.0 SDK was just being released, and the only devices that ran Android were the HTC Dream and T-Mobile G1. This has obviously changed, but the most challenging thing is still testing on all the real devices that are out there. Every device has its own implementation of the Android OS and its own implementation of the WebKit rendering engine.

What's the best way for PhoneGap developers to handle device-specific needs?

Joe Bowser: It depends on the feature set. Most applications don't need many device-specific features beyond the user interface, but there are numerous plugins that can help with this approach. The best approach is to decide what features you need and to use only those features. There are many applications that have permissions turned on that they don't need. For example, a simple ebook doesn't need access to your phone state, GPS or contacts.

What is a hybrid app?

Joe Bowser: A hybrid application is one that has features of both a web application and a native application. Certain features, such as Image Capture, NFC or Android OpenAccessory, may be implemented natively since there is currently no way to do this in JavaScript. But the application logic and the UI are implemented using web technologies to allow for a consistent and unique user experience across devices.


This interview was edited and condensed.

Related:

September 09 2011

Four short links: 9 September 2011

  1. A Simple Test For Whether People Will Pay For News -- an excellent thought experiment, one which sends shivers down the spines of editors.
  2. Outages.org -- This is as complete a list as possible of links to carrier and other provider network status pages as well as links to network diagnostic tools; user contributions are strongly encouraged. (via Jesse Vincent)
  3. Sudoku Solver Just in CSS -- boggle. (via Paul Irish)
  4. MIL-OSS Conference Writeup -- Alex S. Voultepsis explained how the intelligence community has built up an internal infrastructure with the tools that people want to use; in a vast number of cases, they use OSS to do this. For example, Intellipedia is implemented using MediaWiki, the same software that runs Wikipedia. (via John Scott)

July 13 2011

Four short links: 13 July 2011

  1. Freebase in Node.js (github) -- handy library for interacting with Freebase from node code. (via Rob McKinnon)
  2. Formalize -- CSS library to provide a standard style for form elements. (via Emma Jane Hogbin)
  3. Suggesting More Friends Using the Implicit Social Graph (PDF) -- Google paper on the algorithm behind Friend Suggest. Related: Katango. (via Big Data)
  4. Dyslexia -- a typeface for dyslexics. (via Richard Soderberg)

June 16 2011

Four short links: 16 June 2011

  1. Solar Powered Wireless Sensor Network -- Chris is building wireless sensor networks using open source software and hardware that could be used in a variety of applications like air quality or home energy monitoring. It looks like he was inspired by Tweetawatt and is using xBee and ASUS wifi for communication in conjunction with Pachube for data display. (via MindKits)
  2. CSS Lint -- validate and quality check your CSS. (via Jacine Luisi)
  3. An Introduction to Stock Options for the Tech Entrepreneur or Startup Employee (Scribd) -- nice introduction to board, stock, options, finance, dilution, and more.
  4. Interesting Web Hacks (Quora) -- You can quickly run HTML in the browser without creating a HTML file: Enter this in the address bar: data:text/html,<h1>Hello, world!<h1> (via Alex Gibson)

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