Elsewhere monthlies

This is the monthly archive for April 2007.

27 April 2007

I’d Rather switch Than Fight!

For once I disagree with Douglas Crockford: fall-throughs in switch statements are extremely useful. He doesn't actually deny that, but states that they can lead to complicated bugs; a statement that would have been stronger for some proof.

Take this simple function from Form Validation. It uses a fall-through because the types text, textarea and select-one should be treated the same:

function isRequired(formField) {
	switch (formField.type) {
		case 'text':
		case 'textarea':
		case 'select-one':
			if (formField.value)
				return true;
			return false;
		case 'radio':
			var radios = formField.form[formField.name];
			for (var i=0;i<radios.length;i++) {
				if (radios[i].checked) return true;
			return false;
		case 'checkbox':
			return formField.checked;

My question is: what's wrong with this function? Which errors could occur? The only thing I can think of is the occurrence of an as-yet unknown type.

I'd love some clarification on why this is bad coding practice. I don't see the problem, but I don't want to doubt Douglas' word, either.

Core | Permalink

The profession that dare not speak its name

Zeldman rocks!

Question: If web design makes the new information age possible—if it creates new markets and new products, generates significant global cash flow, changes the way companies and non-profits interact with the public, and employs untold legions of specialists—why, until now, hasn’t anybody tried to find out more about it as an industry?

Hypothesis: No one has tried to measure web design because web design has been a hidden profession.

He follows up with a few examples. Zeldman is definitely on to something, and I hope he'll continue his investigations. I might even do the same thing on a smaller scale here in Holland, if certain plans I have work out.

Business, Professionalism | Permalink

The sliding scale

Jeremy on the JS library panel at Web 2.0 Expo. I agree with the idea of the gliding scale from libraries meant to make websites to libraries meant to build applications. Needless to say I'll give the latter a wide berth, and I STRONGLY disagree with the idea of using Java to write JavaScript. If you want to write JavaScript, learn JavaScript.

Libraries | Permalink

A client's work is never done

Paul Boag continues to describe the client's jobs during a website creation project.

Business | Permalink

Web 2.0 Expover

Jeremy shares his thoughts about the Web 2.0 Expo. Interesting geekiness at the fringes, but corporate bullshit in the keynotes. Besides, it's HUGE, probably too huge for my taste.

Conferences | Permalink

How to prevent HTML tables from becoming too wide

Roger is forced to work on some table-based layouts, and discovers table-layout: fixed. His report states it works pretty well in all browsers. When I tested it years ago, support was not nearly as god.

CSS | Permalink

24 April 2007

Inherit Expression for IE?

Eric is still working on his reset styles, but is stuck on Explorer not supporting inherit. What he'd really like is

CSS, IE | Permalink

Seven JavaScript Techniques You Should Be Using Today

Dustin Diaz shares a few important tricks. His addListener elegantly solves the problem of the missing this keyword in Microsoft's attachEvent, and his tip to include a method in getElementsBySomething is worthwhile, too.

Core | Permalink

The role of the website owner

Paul Boag on the role of the website owner in the production process. My position used to be "Clients are a necessry evil", but I'm slowly coming around to Paul's point of view of the site owner as an indispensable team member. Now we just have to make sure they understand their role and play it to the hilt.

Business | Permalink

Web History's History

Anil Dash has gathered some useful links about Google's new Web History thing. Personally I don't like it for beans and I will definitely NOT allow Google to store my surfing data. Too Big Brotherish for my tastes.

Linkdumps, Society | Permalink

The Web Design Survey 2007

ALA presents the web design survey, meant to increase understanding of the position of web developers, especially those who are not white and male. Please take the survey, I already did so.

Surveys | Permalink

21 April 2007

Unobtrusive connected select boxes - yet another solution approach

Chris has a simple solution for creating connected select boxes in an unobtrusive way: use optgroup. Interesting thought.

DOM | Permalink

The Importance of Being POSH

Tantek introduces POSH, Plain Old Semantic HTML, because he feels that it's being ignored in favour of microformats. Of course microformats are based on semantic HTML, so you have to understand the underpinnings first before venturing off into microformat-land.

Microformats | Permalink

Women in web design: just the stats

Happy Cog commissioned a fact-finding research about women in the IT. Preliminary conclusions:

Note that this is about the entire IT industry. Unfortunately it was not possible to study the web design/development industry in detail. Based on my own, thoroughly non-scientific and non-representative observations in the past nine years, I venture to suggest that woman participation in the Web is slightly (though not much) higher than in IT in general, but that women are concentrated in interaction design, project management, and administrative support jobs.

Society | Permalink

How to Moderate a Panel

Derek Powazek's sage advice on panel moderation. The only moderator I've ever worked with is Cameron Adams @ @media 2006, and we were all agreed he's pretty good. Now Derek explains why he's pretty good.

Public speaking | Permalink

Landing at the Plex

Dustin lands at Google, and I wish him good luck.

In his entry he mentions one important thing:

Don’t bloggers go there to die?

That’s a stereotype. A stereotype, however, that I once believed as well. I believe blogging is good for my soul, and I always love sharing what I learn. I will continue to blog, but of course under restrictions of not sharing private company information [...]

I noted the problem of Google employees not blogging any more a while ago, when Erik Arvidsson and Douglas Bowman entered Google and basically stopped writing on their blogs, both of which I read with interest.

Now this may of course be a coincidence; both Erik and Douglas may have decided independently of each other and of Google that they wanted to take a break. Nonetheless I worried a bit. Now that Dustin's going to Google, too, I again worry a bit, because his is one other blog I don't like to lose.

Nonetheless Dustin is very clear: he will continue blogging. For me, this is a sort of test case. If Dustin, too, falls off my radar, I'm afraid I'll be forced to conclude that there's something about working for Google that doesn't mix well with independent blogging. Let's hope I'm worrying about nothing.

Blogging | Permalink

19 April 2007

Twenty Usability Tips for Your Blog — Condensed from Dozens of Bloggers’ Experiences

20 tips for writing a better blog. Tip 2: Encourage comments. For a starting blog, possibly. For a mature blog, who knows? Maybe 'discourage comments' would be a better tip for them.

(Via Paul Boag.)

Blogging | Permalink

Comments are the lifeblood of the blogosphere

Zeldman on blog comments. He, too, focuses on spam, but does not say much about quality.

Blogging | Permalink

The Death of Comments

Jonathan Snook expects spam commenting to become an even greater problem than it is today. Although that's quite possible, I feel that he almost ignores the second possible cause of death for comments: quality (or rather, lack thereof).

Blogging | Permalink

15 April 2007

The State of Online Feed Readers

Useful overview.

Reference | Permalink

Reworked Reset

Eric presents a 'reset style sheet' that essentially removes most default styles for many HTML elements by seting borders, paddings and margins to 0, etc.

CSS | Permalink

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them

As it says. Useful advice for newbie freelancers. By now I've learned to avoid the worst breeds.

(Via Jonathan.)

Business | Permalink

Operation Aborted

Shaun explains how a <base> tag can mess up scripts that modify the page header before it's loaded completely.

DOM | Permalink

11 April 2007

Lame excuses for not being a Web professional

Roger gets annoyed at people who offer silly excuses for not following web standards, and offers a veru useful overview of the excuses themselves. Now we have to write rebuttals of every excuse.

Skillset | Permalink

HTML5, XHTML2, and the Future of the Web

David "liorean" Andersson takes a look at HTML 5 and XHTML 2. Probably the most complete current overview of where (X)HTML stands right now.

HTML, Standards/W3C | Permalink

Capabilities vs. Quirks: a look at browser sniffing

Andrew Dupont divides browser issues into two groups:

  1. Capabilities (does this browser support canvas?), which are addressed by object detection.
  2. Quirks (bugs), which may have to be addressed by browser detection.

I don't like browser detection for beans, but I'm forced to admit he has a point. The article also contains a few interesting technical details about the browser detection used in Prototype.

Browsers, JavaScript, Theory | Permalink

8 April 2007

InteractionDesign.org Encyclopedia

Definitions of some interaction design terminology. Quite useful, since it feels as if new terms and definitions are invented every year.

(Via Naar Voren.)

Reference, Theory, Usability | Permalink

JavaScript Keyboard Accessibility

The nuts and bolts of keeping a foldout menu keyboard accessible.

Accessibility, Events | Permalink

3 April 2007

The only for loop you will ever need

Chris discusses and dissects ways and means of looping through an array. I still use the first, simplest way because I'm not convinced reading out the array's length every loop takes a lot of time, but it's useful to have such an overview.

Core | Permalink

2 April 2007

Call for a Blogger's Code of Conduct

Tim O'Reilly calls for a Blogger Code of Conduct. His proposals are:

  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

I find 1 interesting; I never thought of responsibility for comments, but it makes excellent sense. To me, 2 is something I decide in private, because I find it hard to articulate my exact tolerance, and it depends on my mood anyway. I implement 4 by deleting trolls.

(Via Tim Bray.)

Blogging | Permalink

JavaScript Updates in Firefox 3.0a3

John Resig explores them.

JavaScript, Mozilla | Permalink

The Ajax/Flash continuum

Jeremy on Ajax and Flash, and the continuum between web sites and web applications. When you're working on the application side, Flash becomes a serious option, while Ajax is generally harder to code and less accessible.

Data Retrieval, Flash, Theory | Permalink

More on IE and window.event

David Flanagan discovers yet more weirdness in IE's window.event.

Events | Permalink

South by Southwest Interactive 2007, March 9-13

Chris Mills' write-up.

SxSW 2007 | Permalink


See the March 2007 archive.

This is the linklog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also visit his QuirksBlog, or you can follow him on Twitter.

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