Recently, in the Web Design category…

Microsoft announced today that IE8 will, in fact, act like IE8, a complete switch from their previous plan. Why the change of heart? Perhaps to get various governments off its back. From the IEBlog:

While we do not believe any current legal requirements would dictate which rendering mode a browser must use, this step clearly removes this question as a potential legal and regulatory issue.

So in the end it was government regulations, not community backlash, that got this idea nixed. Whatever the reason, I think Microsoft is making the right decision — one that will continue IE’s evolution into a standards-compliant browser.

In the brouhaha over Microsoft’s proposal that IE8 render pages like IE7 unless explicitly told not to, those defending the idea often said something like this:

The same people that don’t know about standards and design only for the current IE are the same people that MS is trying to avoid angering with this solution; they’re also the same people who wouldn’t know about the meta switch. If they do go ahead with this solution, it only makes sense to default to the older version.

The argument is that Microsoft is doing this for developers that don’t know any better—developers that were surprised that their sites broke when IE7 was released and will be surprised again when their site breaks in IE8. I’m having trouble buying that. Clearly, we’re not talking about everyone that builds a webpage but doesn’t know about standards. Your typical MySpace user doesn’t care if their webpage renders properly on their own browser, let alone anyone else’s. Those who work for small businesses don’t care much more, and even if they do their clients might not.

Continue reading “More Thoughts on Microsoft’s Version Targeting”…

Last month, the IEBlog had a tongue-in-cheek post about the name of the next version of IE. Considering yesterday’s announcement, I’ve come up with some new, more appropriate names:

  1. Internet Explorer: Peter Pan — It never grows up!
  2. Internet Explorer: Roman — When in lousy markup…
  3. Internet Explorer: 5·6·7·8 — 4 great browsers, 1 spectacular price!
  4. Internet Explorer: Classic — Enjoy.
  5. IE7 — Because, you know, that’s what you end up with.

You’ll never go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator. — Lisa Simpson, “Lisa’s Substitute”

In the latest issue of A List Apart, Aaron Gustafson explains Microsoft’s new plan for targeting browser versions and Eric Meyer grudgingly endorses the idea. If you haven’t yet, you should read those articles—and maybe skim some of the discussion—because this idea is going to have a major impact on future web development. I also recommend these blog posts on the subject:

The basic idea is this: Starting with IE8, future versions of Internet Explorer will support a new meta tag that will tell the browser what version of IE to use in rendering the page. If that tag isn’t there, the browser will assume the worst and behave like IE7.

Continue reading “Browser Targeting and Rounded Scissors”…

To write this blog, I use the Markdown with SmartyPants text filter. In fact, I use Markdown pretty much anywhere I can. It’s simple to use, and looks good even when displayed as plain text.

And there’s never a reason not to use SmartyPants. It makes such a difference in how punctuation looks, even a design-blind developer like myself can see the improvement.

So when I noticed that text filters are not applied to titles, I was quite disappointed. I set out to correct it, and here’s what I came up with.

Continue reading “Driving on MT: Ain’t “Typography” Grand?”…

I think I’ve figured out why I like Movable Type—it lets me be as anal as I want to be. If I want to micromanage how the list of categories on an entry are displayed, it responds with, “Well, ok, let’s sit down and think about this. I’m sure there’s a way we can do what you want to do.”

WordPress, on the other hand, responds with, “What? That’s stupid. Why would anybody do it that way? That makes no sense. The default version is fine.”

I appreciate software that indulges my obsessions.

This is the first in a series of posts I’ll be doing of MT hacks. Clearly, no sane person would want to do what I’m doing. But hopefully you’ll find some useful information about how MT works.

Continue reading “Driving on MT: Properly Punctuated Entry Categories List”…

First, apologies to folks who read this site via feed reader: You probably just found ten new posts from me in your reader, but only one is actually new. On the one hand it’s annoying, but on the other it’s a signal that you need to go to the site and see what’s changed.

In this case, quite a lot has changed. The Sandbox theme is gone. WordPress is gone. Now I have my own design—“TreeGoat”—built atop Movable Type 4.

I don’t know about anybody else, but I sure feel better.

The last 2.5+ years with WordPress felt like my blog and I were openly hostile towards each other. We never could see eye-to-eye. It didn’t want to do what I wanted to do, and vice versa. That’s what I like about MT—it always wants to do what you want to do.

Anyway, it’s late and I should be in bed. There are no doubt things that are broken. I’m sure there are pages missing, and posts that have been carried through countless redesigns that now look bizarre. Some of those things will get fixed, others won’t. Such is life on the web. That’s why we all stopped using “under construction” signs.

SmartGoat logo Yesterday, we officially launched the all new Smart Goat website. It has a new look, new features, and, with any luck, a new tendency to get updated regularly.

This redesign has been a long time coming. We’ve been working on it off and on for months, when time permitted. In the last couple of weeks, though, it’s been our primary focus. We’re looking at doing a lot of new projects in the next few weeks and we wanted a proper place to showcase those projects.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting here about the technical aspects of the new site — the techniques we used and how it all came together. And on the Smart Goat blog I’ll be writing about why we did it the way we did and the business advantage of those techniques.

To start things off, here are a few highlights of the new site:

  • Movable Type 4 — The new site is completely powered by the new Movable Type 4. MT4 is an absolute joy to work with — so much so that when I get around to redesigning this site, it will go back to being an MT blog.

  • Newsletter — We’re going to be publishing an email newsletter about once a month. It will basically be the same as what’s posted to the blog, except with slightly more stories about goats.

  • Events & Links — The page footer displays business-related links we’ve delicioused and events we’re attending.

Best of all, the design is actually finished, something I never achieved with the previous design. And by finished I mean I still have a list of 30+ things I still want to do to the site. But still, it’s finished.

Angelika Theater filled with programmers On Wednesday we went down to Dallas to attend the OnAIR Bus Tour. We were on something of a tour ourselves, having first driven to Graham, TX for a meeting with a potential client, then to Dallas, then home, all in the same day.

Adobe puts on quite a show. They rented out a movie theater for the day, much to the dismay of all the people who came by wanting to watch a movie. They had plenty of free food, drink, games, etc. It’s pretty cool to walk up to a movie concession counter and have your choice of anything you want, for free.

The sessions were good, too. They walked us through what the Adobe Integrated Runtime is, what you can do with it, and how to get started using it. It’s a pretty interesting runtime. Nobody’s going to decide to build an AIR app instead of a web app, but I can see two scenarios where it would be the way to go:

  1. For web developers/designers who want to use their existing skills to build desktop apps.

  2. For creating widgets to supplement the functionality of an existing site.

And in fact, I’ve already got a few ideas that fall squarely in the second category. I think I’ll play with it and see what I can come up with. Maybe AIR will be useful, maybe it won’t. Regardless, we had a fun (albeit exhausting) evening with the OnAIR folks.

Going to a conference like SXSW is always a tricky decision for a small business like us. It’s a lot of expenses and a lot of downtime for a small shop, particularly one that just went fully full-time.

But we did decide to go, and it was totally worth it. Matt has a good recap that describes the experience well. I will add that there was a definite feeling of renewed energy there — amazing things are happening in our industry right now, good things, and everyone is excited to be a part of it. It seemed like everyone there was working on something, and you couldn’t help but look around and wonder which of the people sitting next to you was working in the thing that everyone will be all a-Twitter about at next year’s SXSW.

I’ll have more details about the conference this week, but I wanted to get down my overall impression first. Suffice it to say, we came home exhausted, inspired, and even further behind. :-) I’m already looking forward to next year.