June 29, 2007
iPhone and openness
yeah yeah, more iPhone stuff.
There seem to be two strongly opposing views on the iPhone, and the fact that there is only one way for your apps to run on it (unless you are Google or Apple) which is as web apps.
There are those decrying the lack of openness, the lock down proprietary nature of the platform. A good example is found in this post by Nik Cubrilovic, founder of OmniDrive, and great Aussie success story. Nic writes
My biggest disappointment is that the same hackers and technologists who cherish, support and have fought for the openness of the web, open standards and open platforms are blinded to the proprietary nature of the iPhone.
But there is a different position, and one which I think Nic is overlooking. The very fact that the only way for third party apps to run on the iPhone is if they are webapps, and that the browser on the iPhone (which is also on Mac and Windows) is about as good a supporter of standards as any (and it is based on an open source engine) is, intentionally or not, it really doesn't matter, quite possible one of the most important shots in the arm for a standards based web, and particularly the mobile web you can imagine.
Surely by opening up the iPhone as a platform for which you could write "native" apps which only ran on the device, that would be the proprietary strategy. Now, I'm not arguing that any of this is Apple's intention, simply observing what I think the implications of their decision are.
June 28, 2007
Web Directions South - early bird about to end
Just a quick note for anyone interested in coming to Web Directions for the super discounted price of $200 off, only $795AUD, then you had better move quickly. As has become a tradition, we are extending this discount period for a few more days, until next Wednesday, July 4th - but that really is the final deadline early bird.
Registrations this year are way up on the same time last year, which is really exciting for us.
It's going to be the best conference we've done and then some.
See you in September
June 18, 2007
Westciv's free courses - back up and running
After far far too long, we've got round to sprucing up our long standing standards based development courses (first released in early 2001 if memory serves me correctly), and we'll be running them online for free in installments, as we have done in the past.
This week we're restarting our free course program, kicking off with the brand new edition of our CSS Level 1 course.
CSS Level 1 starts with the absolute foundations of CSS and standards based web development so it's probably a little too basic for regular readers, but I thought it was worth posting about here for you to pass around the office to anyone who might be interested in learning a bit about the code from the ground up.
All it takes is to come back to the site every Monday for a short while over the next 12 weeks, to get a really solid grounding in hand coding of CSS, and a deep understanding of all the principles of standards based web development.
Over the years many many thousands (tens, if not hundreds of thousands truth be told) have done the courses, and we always get a lot of very positive feedback. I remember being at SxSW a couple of years ago and a now very famous web design expert came up to us and thanked us for helping him get his start with standards based design through our courses. True story.
So if you know anyone who might benefit, do pass this on to them!
June 14, 2007
Safari 3 beta and Style Master
Ahh, the joys of beta software.
Yesterday, with all the excitement over Safari 3, a few of our users gave it a try, and found that it breaks Style Master :-(
Because we embed Webkit, the heart of Safari in our Design pane, when installing Safari 3, you in effect update Style Master to use the latest and greatest version of Webkit.
I spent yesterday fixing the problem this caused, and have a beta version that should be the final version ready to go.
It's available at
If you are using Safari 3, and care to grab the latest Style Master beta and give it a whirl, then please let us know if all is well for you.
Thanks in advance
June 12, 2007
More ruminations on the iPhone and Safari
I've been thinking about iPhone/Safari all morning. I've posted the article over at our blog for Web Directions South, to shamelessly get some traffic over there ;-)
The essence of my thinking is that the iPhone/Safari is the Mosaic of the Mobile Web.
I've been enthusiastic about the mobile web for many years. I played around with developing a WAP development tool coming up to 10 years ago (good thing I didn't go on with that), and it has long seemed obvious to me that a ubiquitous web is inevitable (which is why the obsession with offline webapps is kinda short sighted - sure interim things like GEARS from google makes sense, but one of the strong drivers for Adobe's AIR (formerly apollo)) and other such non browser based webapps frameworks is offline webapps, something I don't think there is a crying need for right now, and a lessening need for over the next few years. Style Master had support for the CSS molbile profile years ago. But none of these initiatives (WAP, CSSMP, XHTML Basic) ever really drove widespread mobile web adoption.
So, to say that the iPhone, particularly it's web focus, and use of Safari is exciting for me is a huge understatement. I think that in the same way the arrival or Mosaic and then Netscape signalled the arrival of the web, iPhone/Safari signals the arrival of the mobile web.
Why Safari for Windows?
Safari is the SDK for iPhone.
Safari for Windows
Just ver three years ago, I speculated about the possibility of Safari on Windows. So much has happened in the interim, then out of the blue today Apple announced a beta of Safari for Windows.
Three years ago, Safari would have gone head to head with an aging IE6, and little else (yes Mozilla was around, but the amazingly successful spinoff Firefox was nothing like the contender it is today.)
Aboveall, I'm intrigued by the strategy of Safari on Windows. Time will tell.
June 08, 2007
quoted in story about building businesses using th web
I recently did an interview with one of Australia's really connected clued up business/technology journalists, Brad Howarth for the newish Smart Company online magazine. It's published online today, and there's a few quotes from me. You might be vaguely interested. I'm interested in other peoples thoughts on the issue of using the web to build a business - whether that's an online or more traditional business. It's somethign that I've been thinking about, and doing for 15 years.
I also do consulting along these lines ;-)
June 05, 2007
Australian web developer contract job
A well known local business in the travel sector is urgently looking for someone to come in house for 3-5 days to tie up some loose ends in their social networking portal they are building for our 10,000+ a day customers, and to be able to help them out after that.
From the development team:
The site is written using Visual Studio 2005 and ASP.NET. MasterPages are employed. AJAX features are provided by the MS AJAX library (server side only).
The database, data-access and data abstraction layers are solid and need no work. It's the front end and the graphic design with which we need help.
The member space is mainly synchronous, but we'd like to introduce more AJAX stuff into it to eliminate some page loads.
The dashboard area is mainly asynchronous, but some of the coding is messy and we'd like it tidied up and componentized.
In essence we have a really solid backend which ties in to our current customer system. which is where our programming team has the most experience. What we really need is someone to work on the layout and interface part of things. We're not looking for fancy graphic work, more of slick interface that works seamlessly.
Get in touch with me and I'll pass you on to them.
June 02, 2007
aussie wifi whine - part 35
A few weeks back I posted from Las Vegas airport a blog post about how cool their free wifi was.
Last night I was waiting for a flight from Canberra, our nations freaking capital where there is no wifi whatsoever, not even telstra's extortionately priced variety.
Meanwhile my hotel last night wanted to charge me 55c a minute for ethernet web connection.
Every hotel I go to has a different policy, different provider, different pricing. It's a complete mess. And while the NSW government's announcement some time back about public wifi in Sydney and other cities coming some time soon initially excited me, I fear it simply has chilled any thought of any one else building a decent wifi service.
Like Australia's woeful broadband service and pricing situation, this is a serious issue for our national economies competitiveness.
Not at all sure what can be done, but it sure irritates me every time I travel around Australia.