Muschamp Rd

Reflections on Web Directions North Day One

February 10th, 2007
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This postings consists of the slightly edited point form observations I took from the first day of Web Directions North. The first thing I noticed after registering was there was no WiFi. There actually was WiFi it just was dodgy and the hotel was not prepared for a conference where every attendee had a Powerbook, an iBook, a MacBook, or even in some rare cases a Windows based laptop. I never saw a single person running *Nix.

This conference had many more actual attendees than the last conference I went to, MMEC 2005. There wasn’t much press at all, and although there were a lot of presenters there were a lot of normal folks who had paid to attend, or their company had paid for them to attend.

Opening Keynote

Someone else’s recollection/notes are available online at the conference website now.

  • Molly E. Holzschlag
  • David Shea started us out by introducing her
  • Explained how an Australia conference come to Canada
  • Conference focusing on Web Standards and Accessibility
  • David Shea gave keynote at original Australian conference
  • Right people reading your blog posts, anything can happen
  • Conference will have entirely never seen before presentations.
  • Pete LePage and Angela Bashly of Microsoft actually introduce keynote speaker
  • Molly has published 30 books
  • Since 1993 she has been doing web stuff only two years longer than me.
  • Presentation is on Breaking the Web Standards
  • Pete LePage is the Product Manager for Internet Explorer, wasn’t going to introduce themselves.
  • Angela is with Expression Studios.
  • Presentation focused on looking at code crimes hers and other peoples
  • No GUI in 1993, the web was never intended to be graphical.
  • Molly was funny but you needed to be able to read HTML to follow her presentation.
  • Video of Eric Meyer ranting about Marquee Tags and Blink tags
  • Then the web design world was in search of WYSIWYG
  • Adobe GoLive code, shown it is horribly difficult to read
  • The product manager for Adobe GoLive is in the room.
  • Then she shows old FrontPage code
  • Then showed Dreamweaver code
  • Neil C Ford video, apologizing for nested tables and spacer images
  • Next to be made fun of is Outlook and Word
  • Calls Mosaic the biggest crime against Web Standards
  • More Eric Meyer video
  • Rise of iCab and other alternative browsers
  • Box Model Hack
  • What is * html syndrome, no parent of HTML element
  • The Web Standards Project, sat down with Microsoft over delay in browser upgrade
  • 6 Microsoft people in audience
  • We had to applaud the release of IE7
  • Presentational hacks predate space gifs and tables
  • WYSIWYG led to table madness
  • 4 WC3 people are in audience
  • Forgiveness is a virtue that shall be rewarded.
  • David Storey is next asked to stand, he is the Chief Web Opener at Opera, makes sure websites work in all browsers
  • How many Daves are in the audience?
  • Can not do non-standard stuff with John Allsopp’s software
  • Audience now has to confess their crimes

During the morning tea, I think I may have upset some of my table mates by expressing my dislike for PHP syntax. I also dislike PERL and VBA syntax perhaps the most of all of anything I’ve been forced to use recently.

Design & Coding at the Cutting Edge – Cameron Moll

Notes provided by Cameron himself are available online already.

  • Cameron to talk about the Disciplined Designer, but I found his presentation danced around a lot of topics which didn’t seem all that disciplined to me.
  • Has four sons age: 6,5,3,1
  • We are bombarded with 3000 messages per day
  • Shows the Minority Report Interface
  • Discusses Natural Mapping
  • Machine Efficiency vs User Efficiency
  • Quotes Jakob Nielsen “Users don’t read they scan.”
  • Typography is making information available
  • Made fun of the Adobe updater
  • 2.7 billion mobile phones in use today, by 2010 4 billion users worldwide, UN predict 6 billion humans by 2010.
  • XHTML-MP preferred markup language of WAP 2.0

Tantek Celik on Microformats

This was to fill in for Douglas Bowman who I wanted to see, who was suppose to give a talk. Tantek’s notes are also already available online.

  • Now with Technorati, prior to that worked for Microsoft on the Mac version of IE.
  • Microformats presentation is licensed under creative commons
  • separation of markup and style
  • keep class names semantic
  • XFN blogroll relationships early Microformat
  • hCard for people and organizations
  • resumes have the hResume microformat
  • most stuff will just work using semantic markup on diverse devices
  • hCard to vCard in one click
  • search engines are coming online that grok microformats
  • Mentions OpenID about not needing to a new account for every website
  • Microformats are the fastest and simplest way to provide an API for your website. The number one reason to use Microformats.
  • Microformats believe in supporting humans first, machines second
  • Simplicity, a lot of microformats are simple such as rel-license
  • used a priori how very Kantian
  • Used an example for BarCamp Vancouver to subscribe to their events auto-magically in iCal
  • quicker to support the microformat and than use a link to convert to proprietary/less open formats say for Calendaring apps.
  • Microformats have grown from 2004 to having over a dozen in use and more in development.
  • Flickr added geo microformat in august 2006
  • January 2007, LinkedIn started using them and there are now 9 million hResumes
  • Your public profile is now an hResume
  • Announced a new mailing list called microformats-new, for people who are new to microformats

Trascendent Design with Javascript and CSS

There were two speakers and unlike the previous session they were both on stage at the same time and interacted and handed off frequently. I originally kept notes on what each person said but now I will merge Andy Clarke‘s and Aaron Gustafson‘s words. More official notes are now available online at the conference website.

  • New Riders person introduced them as they are the publisher of their most recent books
  • 1999 was the start of CSS in conferences, that was when I began using it and advocating it while at Shell Canada
  • Made a slight jab at Jakob Nielsen
  • Noodle Incident and Blue Robot website were shown
  • Rob Chandanais was the real name of Blue Robot
  • Thinks positioning is back, it is the new DOM scripting
  • Showed off some of his favourites from the CSS Zen Garden
  • Showed Shaun Inman‘s “this is cereal”
  • Product design is not web design.
  • Think of content first, the importance of doing justice to the content
  • Benefits for accessibility and search engine optimization is one of the reasons to use good HTML syntax
  • S5 presentation engine, that is what Tantek Celik used for his presentation
  • How to markup things we see around us?
  • Talked about making a glossary of a webpage that was marked up to use abbr tag
  • Javascript VS PHP audience question? Why do people love PHP so much?
  • Andy Clarke got a column rule img property added to the proposed CSS3 spec and it quotes Hakon Wium Lie of Opera.
  • Everyone likes striped table, they use class odd and even previously I used some Java code based on the row number being even or odd then writing in the appropriate class, back in my developer days. I think I made a WOComponent for this at least once.
  • Slick, nicely degrading, FAQ example giving using CSS and Javascript
  • Got on to talking about proposed and working CSS3 spec.
  • Finally visual layout will not be dependent on source order
  • When asking a question, ask a question, don’t give an opinion!
  • CSS Working Group mainly consists of paid participants that work for browser vendors, possibly conflict of interest?

Closing Keynote

Although I have less bullet points below than for the previous speakers, this is due to my laptop battery being almost gone, not due to Joe lacking things to say. Joe Clark had a lot to say. I typed a brief summary of his speach when I returned to my friend Dave’s house.

  • His passion is accessibility for the disabled, visually challenged, or whatever the politically correct terms are.
  • Used Acrobat for presentation, S5 or whatever the presentation format is
  • Made some controversial or at least flippant claims, advocated the end of WCAG 2.0
  • Used the Toronto Transit Commission website as a case study on redesigning a website to be accessible and support web standards. Many suggestions and hypothesis were mentioned, but no prototype replacement mock up was shown, perhaps because Joe and Co. plan to bid on the contract.

Well that was all I had for Day One, I of course went to Day Two. Now I mainly work on this website but hopefully I have a new job soon as I have a lot of experience building websites and web applications but that is not exactly the job I’m looking for. If you have any thoughts you can leave them below. The official conference website is offline after all these years so my account may be one of the last online.


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