Dele, ikke stjele?

Denne uken kom det et opprop fra kunstnerdypet, iallfall noen av dem, som sa seg forfordelt, eller var det forforstjelt? At bransjeorganisasjonene ikke er velvillig innstilt til fildeling er knapt nytt, men denne gangen var kampanjen frontet av forfattere og utøvere. Gitt det 20. århundres historie gir forfatteropprop meg mange assosiasjoner, ikke alle like gode. …


“How XML Threatens Big Data”

Minimal markup seen from a data point of view rather than a document point of view.

I wouldn’t say it is XML’s fault as such, but it being used for a purpose it is less than ideally suited for, a consequence of early oversell (those who remember 2000 would know what I talk about).

There is another lesson that is web-relevant. Big dataset like these shouldn’t be naively be tagged into an XML format and presented as is on the Web. This is because in a web setting the overhead for each element is rather large as the DOM will be applied to it, allowing arbitrary dynamic mutations. It is easy to overwhelm even the most powerful processor this way and zap all available memory.

How clever are smartphones really?

Last issue of New Scientist published a paean to IPhone named Appland: How smartphones are transforming our lives. It follows a traditional NS pattern of being ahead of the curve for science and behind it with technology. The author was elated, and there is a crucial distinction between things that make you happy and things that don't. …


Minimal Markup

I have earlier proclaimed markup an [necessary] evil. A more constructive way of putting it is to say that markup should always be minimal. You should use as much markup as you need, and no more. Markup is something we add to aid machines. Too much or wrong markup can do more damage as too little or too vague.

This design principle determines how to standardize markup. Unless the author knows something the user doesn't, the markup should not be there.

This principle obviously caters to the author's laziness, the admirable human trait not to do more than necessary. It is less obvious, but no less important, that it also empowers the user. More minimal markup means more flexible and accessible markup, assuming that the user agents do their job and actually act on their users' behalf. …


Conditional Comments in HTML5?

Where we are

Four years ago I wrote a small piece on conditional comments in IE7, and whether there should be an institutionalised Opera CSS hack, in the style of @opera or @browser opera. While IE's standards support isn't stellar, it is still better than it was four years ago, and the desire to make specific hacks for the shortcomings of IE, Opera, or any other browser hasn't gone away and is unlikely to go away in the next decade either. This entry is triggered by a comment this Friday asking for Opera conditional comments. For all the talk about the ills of browser sniffing, and using capability detection instead, it is not going to go away. In that case wouldn't it be better to make browser sniffing less bad? …


SVG 2.1: Foreshadow support

Well over four years ago Opera made the first native SVG implementation, with the first useful implementation the following year, and Safari and Mozilla got into the game. By 2007 SVG became a browser business and earlier limited use of SVG faded into the background. Roughly at the same time Safari came up with Canvas. Then as now SVG was commonly seen as the more conscientious but awkward elder brother of Canvas. …


The Missing Link: Connecting Boxes

There is one basic document functionality that none of HTML, CSS, nor SVG can do. None can represent one box, another box, and a link between the two.

Linking from box One to box Two

The most fundamental feature of HTML is the hyperlink, But while

〈a id="one" href="#two"〉Linking to 〈/a〉 
〈a name="two"〉Linked to from 〈/a〉

could be represented by the above graphic, a HTML hyperlink doesn’t represent this itself.

CSS is good at drawing boxes, but it can’t show relationships between boxes. Using CSS there would be something missing between boxes one and two.

SVG can draw the rectangles and with a little trouble an arrow between the two. However it will do this as three unconnected graphics, two boxes and one arrow. This doesn’t represent any relationship between the boxes. As far as SVG is concerned the middle graphic could just as well be a tiger between two rabbits.