links for 2009-12-24

Top Webdesign/development Stories – 2009

Ahh… that time of the year again. Time for everyone’s top ten end of the year lists. I used to write ones for record albums or movies, videos games etc. Here I am taking a slightly different slant. I haven’t ever put one together focused on the industry that I work in, the web/rich internet app design space. This is my attempt at that. These aren’t really in an order or “awesomeness” or anything… I welcome comments and your additions. Please feel free to shoot down my suppositions or add more!

  • Google Releases Galore – The list was staggering. I couldn’t possibly get them all here, but some notables were Voice, Chrome, Chrome OS, new Android devices, Wave, and major revisions to the Maps and Earth APIs. A really strong list of stuff, and virtually all of it is highly useful and usable. They are definitely on a roll now. Are they making good on their promise to “not be evil”? It can’t be easy with that many outlets.
  • Twitter Goes Main-Mainstream! – When Twitter’s publicized race between CNN and AK to reach a million followers hit the mainstream press, that was a wake up to virtually every media outlet out there. Twitter was for real. Now, you can’t even watch your local affiliate, pick up a small town paper or even talk to your aunt without them telling you to follow them on Twitter. Numerous high profile magazine covers on Fortune and other “old media” stalwarts have signaled a changing of the guard, if you will.
  • People Finally Notice Facebook Privacy Settings – Facebook has taken some heat in the past for Beacon and various other advertising techniques they have employed to provide users with targeted content. With later 2009′s changes to the privacy settings page and a note from Zuckerberg to all users about the changes coming soon, it obvious that Facebook’s privacy policy is on a lot of people’s minds. I know I’m not too keen on my wall posts showing up in Google searches or things like that, and I have had a lot of novice FB user friends and relatives ask me how to restrict their content so that only close friends can see things. Now, will this help people finally realize the difference between a private message and a wall post! ;-)
  • Oracle Buyout of Sun – “The database giant swallows the beleagured server system maker”, lots of headlines like that spun out after news of the buyout. Most, if not all missed the simple fact that Sun controls the MySQL Open Source Database. Even the Oracle press release neglects that fact. Since a large majority of notable Open Source projects use MySQL as their database, this has a large number of people in the community apprehensive and readying thei exit strategies. Will it result in a fork of the DB? Stay tuned for this one.
  • Piratebay Rollercoaster – Is it up? Is it down? Are they in jail? Ever since the fateful day when their offices were stormed, the future of the tracker had been in question. They went to trial and all were found guilty, sentenced to jail for a year and a hefty fine was leveed. These convictions are all in appeals now. Then in the summer, Global Gaming Factory X AB announced they were intending to purchase the largest BitTorrent tracker in the world. The deal fell through. In November, they announced they would be shutting down the tracker portion of TPB, stating that it was unnecessary in today’s technological world of torrent distribution. While not technically a “web design topic”, it is important due to the huge amount of content trafficked via Torrents (estimated to account for up to 25% of all bits travelling the tubes.)
  • Flash and Silverlight Play Feature Tag – No question about it, I’ve been tough on Silverlight. It’s too be expected, I’m a long time Mac user and a Flash developer. You couldn’t hardly expect me to jump on the bandwagon of a plug-in that directly competes with my favorite one and doesn’t offer proper development tools on the platform I spend all of my time on. This year at PDC, however, the newest version of Silverlight was unveiled, and man, does it look sweet! It finally is reaching a new feature parity of Flash. It still has no Mac dev tools, though. :-( One thing is certain with all of this, it is really pushing Adobe to make Flash better. The 10.1 player update is bringing massive memory and performance updates and the AIR 2.0 update is bringing a ton of great improvements that will allow it to get a lot more powerful as an app development platform. I’m really happy to see the 2 way competition here, it’s good for everyone on the web.
  • IE9 Announces Hardware Acceleration For The Browser – I have really mixed feelings on this. No actually, I really don’t like it much after further review. The features it will bring to websites are going to be amazing, no doubt, but with it being a Direct X implementation, there is little question that it is going to lead to a further forking of the web. Will anything programmed to take advantage of these IE9 features work on Firefox? Safari, Chrome? Older version of IE? In all likelihood, no. It’s probably not possible.
  • OGG Theora Not Chosen for HTML5′s Media Format – This really put a crimp in HTML5′s ever shining hope. A single, dependable unified system agnostic video codec would be a huge thing for the W3 to get pushed through. Alas, it doesn’t seem to be. At least not right yet. Too many vendors, PC makers, software developers and everyone else are still squabbling for turf. They seem to have hit an impasse at this point, but Mozilla says they have no intention on giving in.
  • Firefox Surpasses Any Single IE Version As The Most Popular Browser - Granted, Firefox has taken a beating lately by Webkit in many performance tests, but the venerable open source browser has recently overtaken IE as the world’s most widely used browser. Most impressive. From the linked article: “As of last week, Firefox 3.5 claimed 21.93% of the market, edging past IE7′s 21.2% share. That said, Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 still collectively hold over 55% of the pie.”
  • With Smartphone Success, Comes a Mobile Version of Everything! – Smartphone market share keeps growing, and with it, mobile data usage. As this market continues to develop, content developers are caught in a very interesting pickle. Create a mobile version of their site for use in the handheld’s browser or build custom tailored apps that accomplish the user’s goals. Seems as though most major providers that can swing it are hedging their bets and building both. ESPN, New York Times, LinkedIn, Twitter, the list goes on and on. Will this continue? It doesn’t seem like a sustainable model to me, with development costs skyrocketing with each new device or platform coming to the markets. Luckily with a great SOA back end, building the new discreet UI for a device is only a marginal cost, relatively speaking, but there is only so far this can go.

So, there you have it. My list, what do you have on yours? I thought I did a pretty job scouring back through my feedreader and various other sources, so I feel pretty good about the list, but I really am looking for insights from others on this topic, too!

links for 2009-12-23

links for 2009-12-16

links for 2009-12-14

  • Creating UI components that can scale as content depth and word length grows is a challenge for many UI designers. Something to consider as you design widgets for use in a web design are covered here.
    (tags: UI design scale)

Kevin Stein Read’s “On Being a Nielsen Family”

Kevin Stein – On Being a Nielsen Family

A video of Kevin Stein giving background information on his poem, “On Being a Nielsen Family”. Recorded at the show opening at the Hartmann Center for the Arts, Bradley University.

What a great night. Lots of people came out to show their support and my piece didn’t even crash. Win win!

links for 2009-12-03