JavaScript Revolution?

Quirksmode author, Peter-Paul Kock describes the @media conference in the UK in two articles: “You should’ve been @media – part 1” and “You should’ve been @media – part 2” which further describes the changes going on related to JavaScript, standards, AJAX and more. A good read and introduction to what all the changes are about and how to keep up with it. Quirksmode is a well known blog if you haven’t visited it before – lots of great stuff related to web development, and very well written.
While you are at Quirksmode, look for his article “AJAX promise or Hype” in his recent articles. There are additional AJAX articles referenced in case you want even more info about the “new” AJAX concepts.

New Site for Tutorials

Christian Hellmann has a good idea to collect good, up-to-date web design tutorials and replace old ones on the web. His site “Obsoletely Famous” is his offer of beginning this process and several well known developers have joined his efforts. Review the sites and files at his blog and either link to it or subscribe by RSS. There are a lot of very good sites to learn from listed already, and the site should grow.

Stylin’ with CSS: A Designer’s Guide

A new book by Charles Wyke-Smith was brought to me by our Pearson Publisher Representative Angie Smajstria last week, and it turns out to be a jewel. Even Jeffrey Zeldman praised the book in this weeks post! There have been a lot of new books on CSS and many are much better than previous books that were either too technical, or simply did not provide practical experiences with CSS. Two recent books that are very useful to learners and more experienced designers are Dan Cederholm’s “Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook”, and Dave Shea and Molly Holzschylag’s “The Zen of CSS design”.

Stylin’ is written for designers and covers the basics of CSS very well, but also deals with more difficult areas of page layout, including two and three column layouts, use of float and clear and the various methods of applying those properties, creating full-length columns, working with backgrounds in layouts and an excellent section on understanding the various options for creating CSS based menus. The choices are getting much stronger, and there are still several new titles that will be out soon, including another one from Dan Cederholm.

AJAX – What’s New in Web Development

AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript + XML is a collection of existing technologies (standards based XHTML and CSS; the Document Object Model (DOM); XML/XSLT; XMLHttpRequest; and JavaScript) that adds more powerful interactivity to web based documents. It promises to change the way we develop as well as use the web. The primary distinction of AJAX over more traditional concepts such as DHTML is the interactivity with server technology, and basically, avoiding a lot of waiting while the application goes out to the server to retrieve something requested. When a web page loads, the browser actually loads an “AJAX engine” created in JavaScript. The engine becomes responsible for rendering the interface as well as communication with the server. This makes the user experience more interactive asynchronously and independent of communication with the server. Jesse James Garrett’s article tells the story best, as do the links provided below to add to your reading.

This is a major shift in web development, and Google and Adaptive Path have been the lead developers with their new applications referenced in the Garrett article. Google suggest is an excellent example of how it functions.

AJAX: A New Approach to Web Applications (Adaptive Path)
AJAX Patterns – Stylish Scripting: The DHTML & CSS Blog

AJAX Patterns Wiki
The Strange Zen of JavaScript – Scott Andrew
What Kind of Language is XSLT?
Very Dynamic Web Interfaces – The XMLHttpRequest Object
XMLHttpRequest Usability Guidelines
Principles for a Usability-Oriented Pattern Language
Pattern language is a concept from software engineering as well as architecture that is beginning to be reflected in all design disciplines. William Gibson’s recent novel “Pattern Recognition” (2003) reflects this direction. This article will get you introduced to the concepts if you don’t know about it.

Software As She’s Developed: Podcast+Text: The AJAX Web Architecture

And there are two books that relate, both deal with the “new concepts” of using JavaScript/CSS/XHTML. I have asked the library to special order these as they are relatively new, and the only books on the subject that come close to our needs.

Professional JavaScript for Web Developers, by Nicholas C. Zakas, 2005, Wrox, ISBN: 0764579088

DHTML Utopia: Modern Web Design Using JavaScript and Dom, by Stuart Langridge, Sitepoint, ISBN 0-9579218-9-6 .