QuirksBlog monthlies

This is the monthly archive for April 2009.

28 April 2009

Voices That Matter JavaScript Events + Y! video

| Conferences

I've just put my Voices That Matter presentation online (PDF, 600K);
and I've also published it on Slideshare.

This presentation overlaps with my recent Yahoo! one for about 40%,
and it's somewhat more basic. (Still, it was the most advanced
JavaScript presentation at the conference.)

By the way, the good people at Yahoo! have already published the video
of my presentation; including a complete transcript (it's odd to read
through it).

As I said during my VTM presentation, the Yahoo! one contains the
solution to the focus/blur event delegation thing, as well as some
information on events in the mobile browsers.

25 April 2009

Google presentation: The Open Web goes mobile

| Conferences

The slides of my Google presentation are now online (PDF, 841K).

This presentation, too, has been taped and will be published online.
I'll let you know when that happens.

I also caved in to Jon Boutelle's peer pressure and now publish my
slideshows on Slideshare.net; including this one.

continue reading

24 April 2009

Yahoo! presentation on JavaScript Events

| Conferences

The slides of my Yahoo! presentation on JavaScript Events are online
(PDF, 1.7M).

The presentation has been taped and will eventually be published
online; I'll let you know when that happens.

continue reading

20 April 2009

Introduction to W3C Widgets

| Mobile

As I said before, I’m currently working for Vodafone on mobile
browser compatibility and W3C Widgets. I’ve discussed some
mobile browser problems, and you can look over my shoulder while
I’m at work dissecting their odd behaviours. If you want the
latest scoops on my mobile adventures, you can follow me on Twitter.

The time has come to talk about the W3C Widgets part of my job.
Exactly what is a widget, how do you create one, why would you want
to, and which systems support them?

Personally I firmly believe that widgets are the future of the mobile
web. They are easy to create, they’re based on open standards,
they save the end user quite a bit of network traffic, and many people
around the world already know how to create them.

In contrast to other recent publications about widgets, I’ll
tell you the whole story — or rather, a condensed version

continue reading

13 April 2009

Google sponsorship, compatibility tests, and my SF visit

| Conferences, Site

I’m pleased to announce that Google has graciously agreed to
sponsor my work on my compatibility tables. We’ve entered an
agreement for this year; after that we’ll see what happens.

Therefore, if you go to the compatibility tables now, you’ll see
a tasteful little sponsor bar at the bottom of every page with a
well-known logo in it.

continue reading

 6 April 2009

Making <time> safe for historians

| Standards/W3C

The HTML 5 spec introduces the <time> element to mark up a date
or time. Although I support the inclusion of these semantics in HTML,
I believe that the current specification of the <time> element
is vague because it avoids the question whether the element is safe
for historians. Right now it hurts historical research more than it
helps. In this entry I’ll explain why.

Although I will concentrate on the HTML5 syntax here, what I have to
say also applies to the microformats datetime design pattern. The
Microformats site adds one important detail to the discussion that the
HTML5 spec overlooks: the point of having a <time> element (or a
datetime design pattern) at all:

Use the datetime-design-pattern to make datetimes that are human
readable also formally machine readable.

Who needs machine readable dates? As far as I can see there are two
target audiences for this operation. The first is obviously social
applications that have to work with dates, and where it can be useful
to compare dates of two different events. An app must be able to see
if two events fall on the same day and warn you if they do.

However, as a target audience social applications are immediately
followed by historians (or historical, chronological applications).
After all, historians are (dare I say it?) historically the most
prolific users of dates, until they were upstaged by social

This raises the question whether the <time> element should be
tailored for historical use at all. When I started writing this entry
I was convinced that it should.

In keeping with the definition of its purpose I the see the
<time> element as a tool for an Internet-wide chronological
search-and-compare system. Such a system will be a boon to historians,
who would be allowed to quickly and easily look up events that
happened around the same time as the event they’re writing

In history, just as in other academic disciplines, serendipitous
discoveries are the meat of exciting new theories. A history-compliant
use of the <time> element that allows automatic search and
compare would broaden the horizons of historians.

However, now that I’ve reviewed some of the more common problems
that have to be solved in order to decrease potential harm, I’m
starting to doubt whether the <time> element can easily be made
to fit history.

Right now, though, the specification is a vague compromise that
doesn’t make the <time> element useful for historical
research, but still allows it to be used historically.

I feel this ambiguity should be removed. I feel that the specification
should clearly state whether the <time> element is meant for
historical use or not. The current vague, implied “No”
should be changed to a clear answer. I prefer Yes, but I can live with

If the <time> element should be made safe for historians,
there’s quite a bit of work to be done; some of which is
discussed in this article. If it should not be made history-safe, we
have to add a cut-off date to the specification. Dates before this
cut-off date would be ignored.

continue reading

See the March 2009 archive.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, freelance front-end
consultant, agent, and trainer. You can also visit his Elsewhere
on the 'Net linklog, or you can follow
him on Twitter.


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