Tag: Web development

An Old Fashioned Site Done the Old Fashioned Way is Strangely Enjoyable

I'm doing a volunteer project for a friend that involves creating a site based around William Shakespeare and my friend's organization for promoting Shakespeare in our culture.

If you read this corner of the Web very often, you know that I'm usually a bleeding-edge state-of-the-art tools-and-frameworks kinda guy when it comes to creating stuff in technology.

But after I spent a couple of hours deciding which technology to build this site  with, I decided that on balance it's a pretty straight-forward site and didn't need a lot of doodads, at least not yet.

So I decided to return to the Days of Yore when I was fortunate enough to be hobnobbing about with the folks who created the whole WWW and when a tool was an editor that was at least somewhat aware of HTML tags. I am building the site using Dreamweaver (CS4), starting from a free and fairly bare-bones template. And so far, it's been a real blast. No new architectures to learn, just HTML and jQuery JS operations, which, while a tad rusty, come rushing back like old friends to an Irish wake. There's something almost visceral about the process. Nothing between me and the site but a tool that really just tries to help rather than taking over whole parts of the project.

I'd forgotten how much fun this could be!

Pandora Jumps on HTML5 Bandwagon

According to EnGadget, one of the most popular Internet radio station/multimedia sites, Pandora, is ditching Adobe's Flash technology in favor of HTML5 as the new spec's bandwagon effect continues to pick up momentum.

Besides all the technical advantages going with the emerging standard gives Pandora, its developers also report that using HTML5 shaves seconds off page load times. On a site with millions of users opening tens of millions of streams, that represents real savings.

It just keeps getting brighter.

HTML5 Job Offerings Up 34%

According to The Inquirer, demand for HTML5 developers rose 34% in the last quarter. Citing statistics from the Freelancer site, the report indicated that there were 807 postings for developers familiar with the emerging standard in the second quarter compared to 604 in the first quarter.

Although the period gains were larger for HTML5, the number of openings is still dwarfed by the demand for 2,795 iOS and 1,702 Android developers in the same period. The only category of developer demand that showed a steep decline was Windows desktop work, which plummeted by 30%.

Game Closure Tech Helps @LostDecadeGames Port to iOS With Ease

According to a piece in today's Washington Post, the guys at Lost Decade Games have made good use of a beta release of an HTML5 game platform from Game Closure to convert its award-winning "Onslaught! Arena" game from a Chrome browser-based offering to iOS. The developers, who were experiencing extremely sluggish sales through the Chrome App Store, said using the Game Closure tools saved them 75% of the forecast development time for the conversion.

HTML5 game development is still being hampered, at least in terms of cross-platform deployment, by the relatively cumbersome and poorly understood audio support in the emerging specification. The music-inspired Lost Decade offering was disappointing its developers as they began to consider moving it to non-Chrome platforms. It runs fine on the desktop and laptops but not on portable devices where HTML5 implementations lag and are fairly inconsistent in some key ways as far as games go.

This period of time during which HTML5 implementations vary is a great opportunity for companies like Game Closure to step in and not only help developers bridge the gaps but also make a handsome sum of money in the process. Every technology gap is someone's opportunity to shine!

Apple Runs Afoul of W3C on HTML5 Tech Patents

It appears, at least, that Apple has filed for patents on two technologies that are considered part of the core specifications for HTML5 and has already been issued one of the patents.

That's not terribly unusual; companies who are members of the W3C, keeper of the specs, occasionally patent technologies that are part of an emerging standard. What is unusual in this case is that Apple has apparently not responded to W3C requests to provide royalty-free licenses for the technologies so that all who use the publicly available HTML5 stack can do so without fear of having to pay Apple royalties.

I don't know if this is a real dispute or not, but the W3C, which is normally a pretty staid organization, has published a request for prior art. Such a request asks anyone with information about technology in use prior to Apple's patent claims that would invalidate those claims to provide information to the W3C. The Consortium can then use that information in negotiations or litigation attempting to invalidate the Apple patents.

It certainly seems counter-productive for Apple, which has been part of the W3C committee working on the HTML5 spec, to try to claim a proprietary and licensable interest in these somewhat obscure technologies, both of which have to do with accessing secure information from a browser. But of course at this point we have only the W3C's position on the question. It may well be that Apple held or applied for the patents before the technologies were incorporated into the HTML5 specification, in which case the fault lies not with Apple but with the Consortium.

Still, regardless of where the fault lies, good corporate Netizenship would suggest that Apple not try to hold these technologies hostage from Web developers wishing to adopt the HTML5 emerging standard in their Web work. Hopefully, Apple will see the light before this gets too out of hand.
 

John Allsopp: “Hybrid Phone Apps Are BS”

SitePointe columnist Louis Simoneau had a good piece on the role of hybrid apps in the skyrocketing world of smartphone and portable device app development the other day. Featured in his article was a link to a fascinating podcast with long-time smartphone guru and conference organizer John Allsopp.

In this podcast — and lots of other places on the Web — John faces the issue of hybrid apps head on, opining that they are essentially dead ends that there are "a whole pile of reasons" not to engage in. His view is that Web apps built using HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS are destined to be far more successful and less prone to sudden shifts in the markets caused by disruptive technology and marketing decisions by the owners of the few App Stores out there. I've been saying this for some time, of course, but it isn't only the fact that John and I agree that causes me to recommend this podcast. Listen carefully to what he says; he offers software developers of all stripes a cogent look at the near-term future.

Is WebGL Unsafe At Any Speed?

The open source component that allows HTML5-compliant browsers to display 3D content may be a dangerous gateway for malicious activity and should not be used, according to Context Information Security Ltd.'s Web site.

WebGL is the component in question. The Context folk claim it opens a user's machine to a broad range of potential abuse (exploits) primarily because it allows the Web browser in which it is implemented low-level access to the user system's hardware. If these allegations — based, as Context admits, on very limited testing — turn out to be true, this discovery could be a setback for the early adoption push for HTML5. I can't tell whether Context has an axe to grind here and I don't know if their jabs are real or just designed to get a conversation going.

I'm not sure, though, how big a deal 3D is going to be in the early adoption process. Clearly video and music are far more important and the other advantages HTML5 brings to the party are pretty compelling. So maybe it won't delay HTML5 adoption, just 3D adoption.