« April 2005 | Main | June 2005 »

May 31, 2005

Style Master 4.02 for Mac OS X released

Mac OS X 10.4 (aka Tiger), while introducing many exciting new features for Mac users, also introduced a few challenges for many developers of Mac apps. Those of you who upgraded to Mac OS X 10.3.9 or 10.4 will probably have experienced a few problems with Style Master 4. Since the release of Style Master 4, we've been working to eliminate these problems, and to address some other minor issues that have arisen.

Now we are happy to announce that Style Master 4.02 for Mac OS X has now been released.

If you purchased or paid for an upgrade to Style Master 3.5 or 4 then you'll shortly be receiving an email with download details. If you'd like to demo the application, then an unrestricted 30 day demo is available (you'll get 30 days even if you have demo'd Style Master 4)

Style Master 4 includes the following improvements and fixes.

  1. The Statements drawer is now part of the style sheet window. This has been requested quite often, and we feel this makes for a more usable application. It is likely that the editors drawers will be similarly incorporated in the main style sheet window in an upcoming release. You can resize the statements list much like resizing the mailbox panel in Mail.app in Tiger.
  2. The Statements List now has its own contextual menu.
  3. As often requested, the style sheet window now supports common command and control arrow keys (including shift keys for selecting) including
    • command left arrow - go to the start of a line
    • command right arrow - go to the end of a line
    • control up arrow - go to the start of the current statement (or to the previous statement if at the start of this one)
    • control down arrow - go to the start of the next statement
    • command up arrow - go to the top of the style sheet
    • command down arrow - go to the end of the style sheet
  4. Numerous redrawing problems for the design pane in Tiger have been fixed
  5. X-Ray is now working properly in Mac OS 10.3.9 and 10.4
  6. A number of features, including previewing, and the info windows had problems when working on documents saved on a different volume as the application Style Master was. This has now been addressed.
  7. A number of minor issues with syntax styling have been fixed.
  8. Performance when hand coding style sheets, particularly large ones has been significantly improved
  9. The design pane now resizes smoothly when the style sheet window is resized
  10. When opening a style sheet from an HTML document, or creating a new style sheet based on an HTML document, Style Master now makes the HTML document the preview file for that style sheet automatically

May 31, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2005

Musical baton

This morning, on someone's blog or other (may well have been that anglophile Molly), I saw what I thought was a pretty cool idea - the musical "baton". The idea was you let people know a little bit about your musical tastes and pass it on to 5 other people.
And lo, a little later today, everyone's favorite blue guy, Cameron Adams passed it on to me.

So here goes.

Total volume of music files on my computer:

0MB (given that I just got a new HD after my brand new powerbook's HD failed. But on my iPod there is 1283 tracks (7.05GB))

The last CD I bought was:

Well, not often do I purchase CDs, but I did pick up a copy of the Unforgettable Fire a couple of months back. Analogue recording well over 20 years old, this transitional album by U2, produced by the evergreen Brian Eno simply has not dated.

Song playing right now:

well, I often listen to internet radio these days, so tracking what I have actually listened to is tough, but according to my iPod, the most recent thing I listen to was "From Amnesia with Love" by RebeL9

Five songs I listen to a lot/mean a lot to me:

  1. Bad, U2 - the Live aid live version. 12 minutes of the past and future or music, check it.
  2. Thinking of You - Sister Sledge. If you don't like disco there is something wrong with you. This is the best disco track ever. Full stop.
  3. Being Boring - Pet Shop Boys. Pop music's survivors. When I lived in London, moons ago, it was grey and miserable. This song was a ray of light.
  4. Guitar Solo 5, Dead Man soundtrack - Neil Young. The soul of one of the best movies ever made.
  5. Disco lite - Teenage Fan Club. Just you try to play it only once. Why these guys never took over the world is totally beyon me.

Ironically, there is little by way of electronic, drum and bass stuff in that list (i.e. none) given that's what I mostly listen to. Wonder what that means?

Five people to whom I am passing the baton:

  1. Maxine Sherrin - cause she'd probably kill me if I didn't
  2. Tantek Çelik - something tells me that will be an interesting list, but they can't all be his girlfriend's records :-)


And now here is a turnup for the books. Rather than me handing on the baton to 5 people, how bout you take the baton, run with it, and trackback to this post?

May 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2005

Off to Japan

On Tuesday morning I am off to Japan for nearly a week for WWW2005, in Chiba, near Tokyo.

Tantek Çelik and Eric Meyer have organised a DevDay focussed on Microformats, an emerging standard for adding semantics to XHTML. Keep an eye on this subject it is going to be huge.

I feel privileged to have been invited to speak on the subject, and in fact I will be speaking twice - once on link microformats (like XHTML Friends Network, and VoteLinks) and later in the day on "Microformatting SGML". I'll publish my presentations here shortly.

On Saturday night, Kazuhito Kidachi, from Mitsue Links, and a great supporter of Web Standards in Japan has organized a dinner with Japanese developers and Eric, Molly Holzschlag, Tantek, and me. I'm really looking forward to that. If you are in Japan and would like to come along, drop me a line, and I'll forward your email onto Kazuhito.

I'm really excited to be going to Japan too, even though I'll have little time to see the sights. If you have any "must see" suggestions for Tokyo, please let me know,

John

May 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 05, 2005

Web Essentials 2005

Those who have read this blog more than once will probably know of Web Essentials, the conference that Maxine and I at westciv ran with the wonderful Peter Firminger and Russ Weakley from Webboy/Max Design/Web Standards Group.

Early last year, the four of us, as much through naivety as enthusiasm decided to put on a conference in Sydney devoted to standards based web development. Both Peter and Russ, and Maxine and I had long thought of doing something like this, but frankly both groups were smart enough to realize that it would be a shipload of work, too much for two people to handle as a part time "do it for love" thing.

Somehow together we pulled it off with Web Essentials 04. Douglas Bowman, Dave Shea and Joe Clark all somehow agreed to come, and what's more actually made it! (we'd been told that is was common for late cancelations with any conference).
220 people from all over Australia, from New Zealand, Japan and even the UK came.
The sessions were fantastic, both from the international stars and the local speakers.
And the crowd loved it (well, the told us they did).

It was one of the very proudest achievements of my life, and I am sure Russ, Maxine and Peter would say so too.

Web Essentials opened my eyes to the importance of physically meeting with and listening to people. Particularly here in Australia, we tend to rely on the web, email and chat to form and keep relationships with our peers. For years, in all honesty, I'd never even met many Australian developers.

So much was I struck by the importance of meeting with people, Maxine and I decided we had to get to South by Southwest this year. We even went so far as to sponsor their Web Design Awards.

Now, I keep promising to write about our experience there, but simply struggle to find the time. In short, it was genuinely fantastic. Some of the content was great, some of it was so so, but above all, the opportunity to meet with your peers, formally and informally was amazing. I even forwent seeing Malcolm Gladwell speak (I am a huge fan) since Jeffrey Zeldman and I (we'd known each other since last millennium, but had never met) were having lunch together. And I don't regret that in the slightest.
In all I caught up with dozens of people like that, whom I had known for months or years, but had never physically met.

And we came away from SxSW even more enthused about Web Essentials. While it will never match the several thousand attendees of SxSW, we wanted to catch something of that atmosphere, where after the sessions are over, and even in between sessions, you meet new and fantastic people, swap ideas and stories, talk about what you've just heard.

All of this went into the blender when it came to finalizing Web Essentials for this year.

So, we went looking for even more speakers than last year, and looked to broaden the base of the conference. Last year was very much about motivating and inspiring those who came, where this year we wanted the focus to be almost entirely on learning practical skills and new ideas.

Last year the focus was standards based web design and accessibility. This year we wanted to broaden this to include "User Experience" (which is really exploding as an issue, and rightly so), emergent semantics (tagging, and particularly Microformats, which is the breakout star of the web this year I reckon, based on SxSW and the upcoming developer day at WWW2005 in Chiba - at which I am speaking), and management/strategy issues as well.

For some months we have been negotiating with speakers, and we've finally got all our ducks in a row. Here is how they stack up.

Our keynote speaker is Molly Holzschlag. She's funny, smart, eloquent, and amazingly well published. She's recently published, with Dave Shea, the Zen of CSS Design (link proceeds to the authors). It's a brilliant book. Fingers crossed she'll be signing copies at our book signing.

In the field of User Experience, few come close to Jeffrey Veen from Adaptive Path for expertise and knowledge. He's also a brilliant presenter, funny, smart, and very tall. Last seen on these shores as part of Jacob Nielsen's usability world tour a few years back (that's like touring with the Rolling Stones), miss Jeff and you will kick yourself.

Eric Meyer needs no introduction. Seriously. He is Mr CSS. I'm so excited that we've lured him here. I've known him for many years, but we only met at SxSW. Saw his presentation there and it was fantastic.

Tantek Çelik is probably best known for the Tantek hack. This is kind of unfair, as

1. he must be one of the smartest people on earth (I don't say things like that lightly)
2. I'd be prepared to say that he is as responsible as anyone for the success of CSS. Before IE5 for the Mac, CSS was long on promise and short on delivery. Tantek showed the world what CSS could do by building the first halfway decent implementation a rendering engine which supported CSS. (The rendering engine in IE5 mac was called Tasman, so there is a nice connection with Australia too)
3. His girlfriend is a famous DJ, and even the women at SxSW could not stop going on about how beautiful and sexy she is! I reckon I do one better in this department as I have a beautiful sexy wife who is a sports broadcaster.
4. loads more, check out his bio.

We've also managed to lure three other speakers form the US and Canada.

First we have the return of Douglas Bowman. Doug enjoyed WE04 and Australia so much he simply wanted to come back again, so we thought it would be ridiculous to have him on our shores, and not have him speak.

At SxSW I had asked Kelly Goto to speak on my panel. She sadly had to pull out because she was leaving the morning of the panel, but when we spoke in Austin, it transpired she often comes to New Zealand for work (she's setting up an office of GotoMedia there) and jumped at the invitation to speak.
Kelly will bring a great deal to WE'05, it's a privilege to have her.

One of the definite rising stars of web world is Canadian Derek Featherstone. He's a developer who knows his stuff backwards, and with a strong interest in accessibility. He'll bring a lot of practical accessibility know how to WE05. He's also a load of fun, and a really nice guy as well as great engaging presenter.

I think the success of WE'04 was really the content. We worked hard to develop a programme that met the needs of developers. We then went looking for the very best presenters here and around the world to deliver.
This year we followed the same plan. Unlike many conferences, still 6 months out we have a complete programme published, and a full roster of speakers.

There'll be a lot of work in the coming months, no doubt, but I'm really excited about WE'05, and can't wait for September.

May 5, 2005 in Web Essentials | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 04, 2005

Upcoming Blogging conference in Sydney

Last year, as many of you will know, I was involved with Web Essentials, which was generously supported by the University of Technology, Sydney.

UTS are also associated with an upcoming blogging conference blogtalk downunder, and with speakers including Australian Democrats Senator, Andrew Bartlett, if you are interested in the wider phenomenon of blogging, this might well be for you.

It's on in Sydney next week, so check it out,

John

May 4, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack