Updates from March, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Joe 10:37 on March 27, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: cms, Content management system, content site, kinderysiotherapie,   

    Howto: add news section to WordPress Content Site 

    It makes much sense to use WordPress for a simple content site, consisting of just a bunch of (static) pages which need to be updated once in a while. For example, I used this approach for the (Dutch) website of Kinderfysiotherapie Den Haag Centrum.

    WordPress gives you a handy-dandy Content Management System (CMS) and there are lots of available templates to base your design on.

    Compared to the default configuration, you need to put some effort in the setup to use pages for the site’s navigation rather than blog posts, but this can be done by setting some options and tweak the menu structure of the template, which is all documented fairly well elsewhere (Customising WordPress – twine).

    Then comes the inevitable moment that you want to add a somewhat more dynamic news section to the site. It makes sense to use the excellent blog system, which WordPress essentially is, but then “inside out“, embedded in a news page rather than the primary site feature.

    There are a few possibilities here, but I settled for the Inline Feed plugin. Once activated, this plugin displays a list of your posts in any content area, with a few configurale options like sorting order and length of title etc.

    Now you can use the excellent native WordPress authoring and publishing system for posts for your news section, with all hidden gems like RSS feed generation, optional comments and all gazillion plugin powered extras.

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  • Joe 12:32 on March 24, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , Handhelds, , , , Smartphone   

    Android and iPhone 3.0 compared 

    iPhone 3G vs. Android G1
    Image by inju via Flickr

    When I received my Android powered T-mobile G1 phone, I was a bit disappointed by its form factor (clunky design) and – as I felt it – lack of integration between the available apps. I knew the iPhone from seeing it in use around me (hey, everyone has an iPhone, right?) and this is definitely the more elegant one of the two.

    But soon came the insight that Andoid may well be much more powerful, especially compared to the – still current – iPhone 2.x OS. What, no background processes on the iPhone, are they kidding? Also, the Android process management is really very clever. I still don’t have any hands on experience with the iPhone, but I suspect that the Andoid process management compares to the iPhone as pre-emptive multitasking to cooperative multitasking (exactly what made the old Mac OS 7..9 so incredibly sensitive to hanging programs, and which is now completely solved by using the Mach kernel in OS-X).

    Anyway, I just found a decent breakdown of Andoid vs iPhone features compared: Android Versus iPhone 3.0: The Showdown (lifehacker). I think Android has still much room for improvement, but also the best opportunities due to its open nature and multi-platform support (say netbooks). Let’s see what the Cupcake release will bring and then do this comparison with real phones again!

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  • Joe 09:39 on March 16, 2009 Permalink  

    Zemanta: semweb at work for your blog 

    Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
    Image via CrunchBase

    Since about three months ago, when I started using the Zemanta wordpress plugin, the uptake has been huge. Searching for “Related articles by Zemanta” on google gives now 110k+ hits.

    To me, this is currently the most practical example where semantic web technology really does make a difference. Just like with Twine, the real benefit of this technology lies in the background, where associations are made and retrieved, “just in time”. All without bothering end-users with ontologies, RDF and SPARQL endpoints. Using Zemanta, all these bloggers are benefiting from the ever increasing web of linked data to enrich their blogs. And the benefit may well be mutual: by carefully selecting the auto-suggested related articles and imagery, you as a blogger tell implicitly what categories your post matches to, thus linking back to the very same pool of linked data.

    Give it a try yourself, get the Zemanta plugin (many platforms are supported) and share your experiences!

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  • Joe 15:01 on March 6, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: declarative, model, , , , , xforms   

    MozCamp – XForms and Declarative Applications 

    Steven Pemberton, author of the ABC programmin...

    Steven PembertonImage via Wikipedia

    XForms and Declarative Applications” – Steven Pemberton

    HTML Forms are a great success, the basis of the e-commerce revolution etc. but unanticipated at the time.

    After more than a decade of experience time to move on, move away from the misconception of HTML as a presentation language. More abstraction is needed for advanced purposes. Compare presentational HTML to the Zen Garden approach of basic HTML and rich CSS.


    • Ease of authoring
    • Good user experience
    • Ease of changing
    • Device independence (mobile platforms anyone?)
    • Accessibility
    • i18n
    • Validation

    The essence of XForms

    Complete separation of Date from Content: Instances and Controls

    The instance specifies the values being collected. Datatypes specify client side validation and constraints for values entered, even more complex logic like state is only required if county equals USA. Submission actions define the target for the data and what should be done with the result. Together this forms the model, the datasheet.

    Abstract or intent-based controls. These are bound to the data (values). Syntax is simply binding an input control to a data item, by which the input knows what data type should be expected and the correct control is chosen. E.g. input for birthdate, whre birthdata is of type date, renders a calendar input popup.

    The default XForms give you a toolbox which is very similar to a spreadsheet, no programming needed for common use cases. The actual XForms definition consist of standard XML and the data / values are transferred as XML as well.

    Any XML data can be bound to a control, so there’s nothing which prevents editing a xhtml document (as instance) by using XForms syntax. Any page element can be bound by using XPath. Only restrictions: the page must be well-formed xhtml and the server must accept PUT or POST in order to update the page.

    Other nice features include:

    • i18n for all form elemens, including labels.
    • auto-complete on form fields (demoed with live google translate per word, as you type.
    • live search: flickr images
    • geo-location as pair of lat/long or a map, bound to the same resource and so updating each other on change.

    Implementations vary from plugins (for msie) and native (mozilla). Big vendors use XForms as part of their CMS and Application servers already. Most of this is not user visible, you just experience a rich user interface in the browser.

    As a proof of concept, someone built a google-maps like application entirely in XForms which needed 25k of XForms data, compared to over 200k Javascript for Google Maps. Experience learns that one order of magnitude more code takes 34 times as much of effort (time, costs, bugs).

    Current browser support is still limited, but the ubiquity-xforms library aims at extending existing Ajax libraries to add XForms support for a broad range of browsers.

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  • Joe 12:50 on March 6, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , mozzilla foundation, , project   

    MozCamp – open innovation 

    Mozilla Foundation logo
    Image via Wikipedia

    Explained by Tristan Nitot

    The numbers are huge:

    Now both numbers are huge, but there could be even more innovation happening with even more contributors. Most often these are just people “scratching their itch”. These are not only coders – for example an artist who couldn’t bear looking at the crappy logo designed an elegant new logo.

    So what does the Mozilla foundation do to help this happen?

    • provide improved frameworks for development (under a OSS license)
    • organize events, Mozilla Labs nights and café (Paris & London)
    • concept series (online) and contests.


    • Ubiquity (command driven UI)
    • Personas (profiles beyond skins, more lightweight and easy to use, based on just a PNG image)
    • Weave (sync profiles between Firefox and Fennec instances)
    • Bespin (online collaborative source / text editing).

    So what does the innovation cycle look like?

    We start out with a smart idea, make a prototype which is in fact a bad product, see if it can live up to its expectations and either improve it to turn into a real product, or abandon it and work on something else.

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