April 2008 - Broken Links Archive

The end of the font element

It was announced on the HTML Work¬≠ing Group mail¬≠ing list this morn¬≠ing that the font ele¬≠ment will be absent from the next draft of the HTML5 spec¬≠i¬≠fi¬≠ca¬≠tion. The inclu¬≠sion of font in the spec was con¬≠tro¬≠ver¬≠sial, as many (includ¬≠ing myself) thought it was a pure¬≠ly dec¬≠o¬≠ra¬≠tive ele¬≠ment that had no place in seman¬≠tic code.

Of course, browsers will still have to sup­port the ele­ment because of the many lega­cy sites on the web; but as of now any soft­ware that gen­er­ates mark-up should use the style attribute instead. It’s a small incre­ment better.

Unveiling my new theme

Any¬≠one not read¬≠ing this in an RSS feed will notice that I‚Äôve installed a new theme. I was nev¬≠er real¬≠ly hap¬≠py with the pre¬≠vi¬≠ous one, as it was based on a design that had been reject¬≠ed from anoth¬≠er project and was called into action before it was ready.

I‚Äôve giv¬≠en this one a ver¬≠sion num¬≠ber of 0.5, as I still have a lot I want to do with it, notably: embed¬≠ding more micro¬≠for¬≠mats in the code; adding more pro¬≠gres¬≠sive enhance¬≠ment to the CSS; mak¬≠ing more use of Word¬≠Press‚Äô tag¬≠ging sys¬≠tem; and test¬≠ing more thor¬≠ough¬≠ly in IE.

How¬≠ev¬≠er, I‚Äôm pret¬≠ty pleased with the more typo¬≠graph¬≠ic direc¬≠tion in this design, and am excit¬≠ed to be using a theme I gen¬≠uine¬≠ly care about.

If any read¬≠ers have any con¬≠struc¬≠tive crit¬≠i¬≠cism to give, please go ahead and do so in the com¬≠ments. How¬≠ev¬≠er, do please be gen¬≠tle with me!

What I saw at FoWD 2008

As promised, slight¬≠ly more detailed notes on the ses¬≠sions at FoWD (fur¬≠ther links to pre¬≠sen¬≠ta¬≠tions to fol¬≠low). In chrono¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal order:

Finding Inspiration for Design (Patrick McNeil)

I missed the begin¬≠ning of this, but it seemed to be pret¬≠ty sage, if not rather com¬≠mon¬≠sense, advice (don‚Äôt just use web¬≠sites for web design inspi¬≠ra¬≠tion), as well as some notes on cur¬≠rent trends and tips on future ones; soft colours, more use of hor¬≠i¬≠zon¬≠tal space, more video.

User Experience vs Brand Experience (Steve Pearce and Andy Clarke)

Set up as a con­fronta­tion, but in fact both speak­ers were at pains to point out that both should be thought of togeth­er. Andy Clarke adds: don’t be afraid to fail, we learn from our mistakes.

Read the full article

Impressions of FOWD 2008

Yes¬≠ter¬≠day I attend¬≠ed the Future Of Web Design Lon¬≠don event in Kens¬≠ing¬≠ton (along with my love¬≠ly wife). Unfor¬≠tu¬≠nate¬≠ly I‚Äôve been suf¬≠fer¬≠ing from some stink¬≠ing virus for the past cou¬≠ple of days, which left me uncom¬≠fort¬≠able, occa¬≠sion¬≠al¬≠ly in pain, and irri¬≠tat¬≠ed. Please bear in mind that this may have coloured my per¬≠cep¬≠tion of the event some¬≠what; also, please accept my apolo¬≠gies if you were at the event and start to suf¬≠fer the same symp¬≠toms in a few days.

I’ll write short reviews of the indi­vid­ual ses­sions at a lat­er date, but my gen­er­al opin­ion is that it was just OK; it dealt more in cur­rent design trends than future, almost all of which you prob­a­bly already know if you keep up to date with sites like A List Apart or some of the bet­ter blogs. Although that’s not to say it was a com­plete waste of time; few of the speak­ers were less than inter­est­ing, and there are always new tech­niques to learn or exist­ing tech­niques to reinforce.

Some of the speak¬≠ers suf¬≠fered from not hav¬≠ing worked (or, at least, not for a long time) in a reg¬≠u¬≠lar agency posi¬≠tion (if I may coin a phrase, coal-face web devel¬≠op¬≠ment), and their advice was there¬≠fore use¬≠ful on a the¬≠o¬≠ret¬≠i¬≠cal basis only. Sure, it would be great if we could make mis¬≠takes in pub¬≠lic and make con¬≠stant revi¬≠sions to our web¬≠sites, but who pays for that? The client almost cer¬≠tain¬≠ly won‚Äôt. We think our¬≠selves lucky to have some clients who are savvy enough to make annu¬≠al revi¬≠sions to their sites! And while I‚Äôd love to just ‚Äúget bet¬≠ter clients‚ÄĚ, that‚Äôs just not how the real world works for those of us who don‚Äôt work at start-ups or own our own agencies.

In sum¬≠ma¬≠ry, then, com¬≠pared to last year‚Äôs @media, which I found gen¬≠uine¬≠ly inspir¬≠ing, this was ‚Äėonly‚Äô inter¬≠est¬≠ing. I‚Äôll give care¬≠ful con¬≠sid¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion as to whether or not I attend again next year.

CushyCMS Review

Cushy¬≠CMS is a very sim¬≠ple, nice idea for allow¬≠ing users to edit con¬≠tent on their web¬≠site with¬≠out giv¬≠ing them access to the tem¬≠plates. It does¬≠n‚Äôt allow changes to mark-up or style sheets, only titles, images and blocks of copy.

It requires that the site admin marks up the blocks that will be editable by adding class="cushycms" to their con¬≠tain¬≠ing ele¬≠ments; the web-based appli¬≠ca¬≠tion will then auto¬≠mat¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly find each marked ele¬≠ment in the pages you assign to it and open a text area (with or with¬≠out WYSIWYG edi¬≠tor) allow¬≠ing the user to edit.

In its cur¬≠rent state it would¬≠n‚Äôt be suit¬≠able for sites with a lot of pages, but if you run a small, brochure-type site for a cus¬≠tomer who want¬≠ed to make occa¬≠sion¬≠al updates, this could be a bet¬≠ter solu¬≠tion in some cas¬≠es than installing a full data¬≠base-pow¬≠ered CMS.

I’d pre­fer it to have a bet­ter WYSIWYG edi­tor, and it would be more use­ful if the inter­face could be brand­ed and host­ed on your own serv­er. How­ev­er, the cre­ators are open to feed­back and these ideas and many oth­ers have been sug­gest­ed already.

While it may not (yet?) be the answer to all your con¬≠tent man¬≠age¬≠ment require¬≠ments, Cushy¬≠CMS is a neat, clever lit¬≠tle app that would be use¬≠ful for small busi¬≠ness¬≠es or for small clients. It‚Äôs cur¬≠rent¬≠ly in Pri¬≠vate Beta only, but if you watch the intro¬≠duc¬≠to¬≠ry video close¬≠ly, that won‚Äôt be a bar¬≠ri¬≠er to entry.

CSS Variables proposal is released

I men¬≠tioned CSS Vari¬≠ables pre¬≠vi¬≠ous¬≠ly, and now the pro¬≠pos¬≠al has been pub¬≠lished and I agree with authors Daniel Glaz¬≠man and David Hyatt when they say:

We expect CSS Vari¬≠ables to receive a very pos¬≠i¬≠tive feed¬≠back from both the Web authors‚Äô com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty and brows¬≠er vendors. 

The syn­tax will be to declare the vari­ables using the @variables at-rule, then call­ing them with the var() function:

@variables { keyColor: #f00; }
h1 { color: var(keyColor); }

That’s it. Beau­ti­ful­ly sim­ple, and I real­ly, real­ly look for­ward to see­ing it implemented.



I‚Äôve updat¬≠ed my Speak¬≠ing page to include more con¬≠fer¬≠ences, more videos, and a lit¬≠tle on my speak¬≠ing require¬≠ments and pref¬≠er¬≠ences. I‚Äôm plan¬≠ning to cut down on the num¬≠ber of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to inter¬≠est¬≠ing offers and oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties, so please get in touch if you‚Äôre organ¬≠is¬≠ing an event.

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