Today I’ve learned from The Cangelog news blog about Jeremy Keith’s proposal to add a relation between a project/document and its souce code by using
rel="source" somewhere in the HTML markup. Sounds good, but it would only be a unspecific relation between a document or project or whatever and something related to some unspecific type of source code container :) I really miss the improved semantics here. And we already have options to describe it.
I got chatting to Aral about a markup pattern that’s become fairly prevalent since the rise of Github: linking to the source code for a website or project. You know, like when you see “fork me on Github” links. […] We were talking about how it would be nice to have some machine-readable way of explicitly marking up those kind of links, whether they’re in the head of the document, or visible in the body. Sounds like a job for the rel attribute, I thought. […] I’ve proposed rel=”source”.
The “fork me on Github” link has at least 3 different meanings:
A human can see the difference, a machine not. If we add code to markup to make the relation machine-readable, a
rel="source" wouldn’t do the job. A machine really needs a very clear description about “X has a relation to Y”, the machine need to know about X, Y and the relation. A machine needs a object, a predicate and a subject to understand the fact.
The brainstorming page about
rel="source" at the Microformats wiki describe the use case as:
When an author links to a project’s (or document’s) source code (e.g. on GitHub, Google Code, etc.) a rel value of “source” could be used to explicitly define that relationship.
It already describes the problem: is it the source code of the (software) project or is it a link to the source code of the document (content of the webpage)? X (the object) is not defined here, a simple
rel="source" do not imply entailment, there is no logical consequence. Machines would have to guess what the object is.
While there is a discussion about the label on the brainstorming site, a machine only cares about the semantical meaning, “sfuzcfzcsz” could be the name of the property that relate a software project to it’s download archive.
rel="source" don’t say anything about the subject or its type, it only describes that the related resource has to do something with source code.
You may able to use
rel="source" on a meta and anchor element in HTML. Please try to use it on a PNG image — e.g. a computer generated fractal — to describe a relation to the source code of the generating program. Good luck! There is no Microformat vocabulary to wrap it in. Leads to the next problem:
If you have a listing of software projects on one webpage, how can we set the correct relations. Using
rel="source" multiple times on various links? A machine would only see multiple source relations on one HTML document because currently there is no proper vocabulary in MF1 and MF2 that you can use to describe the software project or web document, maybe h-item but according the spec “h-item is almost never used on its own.”
According to a “
rel usecase repository”, Keith writes:
The benefit of having one centralised for this is that you can see if someone else has had the same idea as you. Then you can come to agreement on which value to use, so that everyone’s using the same vocabulary instead of just making stuff up.
Good advice :) There are alternative options developed by the RDF and Microdata communities, developed months or years ago:
The DOAP project “create an XML/RDF vocabulary to describe software projects, and in particular open source projects.” The DOAP vocabulary provides properties like repository and more to describe relations to Repositories, Downloads, Wikis, Issue Lists and a lot of more stuff. You can add DOAP to your HTML via RDFa and Microdata.
The schema.org vocabulary provides concepts like CreativeWork, SoftwareApplication, Code and properties like codeRepository and downloadUrl, also useable in you HTML markup via RDFa and Microdata syntax.
Update (Feb 21): there is already a rel-vcs Microformat that is used and supported by various tools. But t is not listed in the “the official registry for rel values.” Of course it shares most of the problems with rel-source regarding semantics.
We don’t need to live in a religious Microformats-centric world with the Microformats wiki as your bible. :) And
rel="source" would be probably not so awesome because:
Me not. In my opinion it doesn’t matter if we find the design beautiful and eye candy. Everyone has different preferences. The design is some kind of poster and magazine style that has been (or is) trending recently. It looks close to a print product. This isn’t a problem because CSSOff is done to get challenged at a very high cutting edge level. Transferring this layout to the web keeping the document accessible and good structured, this is really a challenge and fun because we could try out all the new techstuff we usually can’t use in payed client projects.
PSD templates mostly suck, this too: The usage and layering in the PSD file contains all the “nice” stuff that is hated by developers, e.g. weak names for the layers (I can’t see if it uses layer groups as I don’t have Photoshop) and filter effects not rendered to raster graphics (at least as layer copy).
Dependence on closed commercial software: if you don’t own a copy of Photoshop you can’t access the PSD file format. The sources come with PNG as fallback but this is a joke. It is a flat image without any other informations. If you don’t have the correct version of Photoshop you could run into problems. If your PS version don’t support the right layer effects, you have a problem. If you use another software to open PSD files but that software lacks full PSD support, you simply can’t work with the sources. Check the difference between the fallback PNG (right) and the PSD file opened in Gimp (left):
Other words needed what the problem is about?
The source archive don’t includes layout annotations and raw data: it only contains the PSD, the PNG fallback and a very small Readme file. The only useful information is about the used Google Webfonts. No annotations about used font sizes, weights and lineheights, no info about the grid, no raw/single/retina versions of the used images, no text file with the text blocks used in the layout, no info about used angles on rotations, nothing. Only the useless
__MACOS meta folder so everyone can see that someone owns an Apple machine. Probably you really need Photoshop to get your hands on all this important facts. Some attenders filled the gap and provide info on used fonts, source images and texts.
The sources are not free (as in freedom): this is really a problem because the competition terms demand that all results have to be submitted under a Creative Commons CC-BY license. We would need also sources under a free license for that. Propably all images from the layout stay under copyrights and they are not released under a free license. There is no picture old enough that it could be under public domain. I don’t think that product images (barbie box, transformers bluray) are under CC-BY, same for the altered Abbey Road cover (barcode instead of cross-walk stripes) by the Beatles or the stock photographs. You only can get free usable results on free useable sources, and free as in freedom, not as in free beer. You can’t use everything that you can copy for free from web, at least not in a open competiton asking the attenders to illegaly claim other copyrights.
Probably there are some more critical issues with the layout resources but my points above are enough for now.
I wish everyone good luck with the competition. I would like to attend but I don’t have full access to the sources because I use Linux and don’t own a copy of Photoshop. This is sad because the layout is technically complex enough that it could have been a good play with all the nice cutting edge tech. But it is graphically not overcomplex, it could have been easily done with Inkscape and images really released under CC-BY.
> Many years ago now Google actually paid for a usability study for one of the features I was speccing (microdata) and it was absolutely fascinating to see how people’s actual performance was so divergent from their impressions. We’d ask them questions like “which would be simpler, this or this” and then we’d actually test them by having them use the options, and there was just no relationship between what people said they wanted, and what people were actually able to use.
> Often when people send feedback (not just authors, pretty much anyone who hasn’t been in the process for a long time starts this way) they send feedback along the lines of “I want to add feature X” or “I want feature X to be extended in manner Y”. But when we drill down, ask them “what problem are you trying to solve”, or “what’s your use case” (same question but phrased differently), we often find that either (a) they actually don’t have a real problem, they just thought that it would be a good idea, or (b) their solution wouldn’t actually solve their problem. Often we’re able to come up with much simpler solutions (or point to already-existing solutions), which is quite satisfying.
> The average computer user is unaware there is a war for freedom going on that will determine the path of modern society. Software Wars is a movie about the battle for our right to share technology and ideas. This software will not be ‘owned’ by corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who are mostly impeding technological progress. — Source: Software Wars @ indiegogo
> The main producer is Keith Curtis, a Seattle-based author and programmer who spent 11 years at Microsoft before being converted to the world of Linux and open-source software. The movie is based on a portion of Curtis’ book, “After the Software Wars,” but he’s working on the project with an extensive virtual team out of L.A. — Source: GeekWire
I already had Curtis’ book from 2009 on my list “20 Free Books on Linux, Open Source Software & Philosophy.”
I wondering if that movie is going to be a objective documentary about the subjects Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) and proprietary systems. I guess it won’t be like that. But at least it could be a movie nice to watch, and it can be used in campaigns for free software projects and as an opposite to proprietary software campaigns that people usually watch every day at TV/commercial breaks.
So let us support the crowdfunding campaign of Software Wars.
Semantic enhancements and structured data on websites helps to improve your SEO. Usually you use Microformats, Microdata and RDFa/Lite for it but you (or your developers) have to learn the syntax markup and vocabularies first. Now, Google added the Data Highlighter to the webmaster tools: a point-and-click tool that helps you to “show Google patterns of structured data on your website without modifying your pages.”
Google loves structured data because they use it to get more information about your content, better understanding of you content could improve your ranking in search engines. Google pushed a lot of initiatives to invite website owners to create more structured data:
All these initiatives depends on webmasters and developers who are able to add special markup to their pages. The Data Highlighter now “improves” that process because you can use a point-and-click tool to describe your actual content, no markup additions are necessary.
This makes things easier but could harm the web ecosystem because if you use the Data Highlighter to describe your content then only Google knows this description. This may help you to rank your site better in Google but it puts you in a situation with strong dependencies on Google. No other search engine provider like Bing, Yahoo or Yandex can use that structured information, no other indepentent tool can see those semantic enhancements. Second, if you change your site structure and markup you need to perform the Data Highlighter tool again on your website, even if it still contains the same data.
Test and use the Data Highlighter (be aware: it currently only works with events! Do not define your shop items as events :) ), use it to learn what Structured Data is and how it can help to improve your business, but please don’t rely only on this tool. Learn how to add structured data and semantic enhancements directly to your website (or just pay someone who knows how to do it), long term this will perform better.
The blog is back, maybe without a bang but with some advent calendars for developers:
Please contribute your suggestions if you know other calendars for developers.
7 months after version 2.0, the new PubwichFork 2.1 comes with improved support for responsive mobile layouts and updated social media service classes.
After saving original Pubwich from death, PubwichFork 2.0 was downloaded appr. 350 times, installs from the repository not included, it attracted attention in some weblogs for web developers, PubwichFork powered sites were shown on barcamps and featured in a professional journal.
Now PubwichFork 2.1 comes with some minor but nice improvements.
Check the changelog for a detailed list of changes.
PubwichFork aggregates your latest Social Web and Social Media content across multiple service websites, e.g. your Twitter stream or Flickr photos. Then it renders one single website featuring all your content. PubwichFork is written in PHP and licensed Open-Source under a GPL.
A little bit more than a month ago Zend Framework 2 stable finally has be seen the light, after all the years of development it was finished earlier than the new Berlin Airport, a never ending story and source for jokes :)
Zend put a new website online and used new URIs for downloads but it seems that they forgot to set redirects, so some install routine of Zend Framework enabled software had to get updated.
Everyone who wants to dive into the new version of the well known PHP framework, check out those nice resources out there:
Since the first release of ZF2, the developer community released two more minor bugfix releases: recent version is 2.0.2.
I was a bit hasty when I said that all Twitter RSS feeds are dead because currently you can use the Twitter feeds via Twitter API v1. It seems that Twitter stopped to support special feed URIs some days ago, that following URIs won’t work anymore:
Twitter still supports the RSS output for their API version 1:
As version 1 of the Twitter API is deprecated now and Twitter only supports JSON with version 1.1 you should prepare your applications, Twitter are going to stop support for RSS and version 1 in March 2013.