Monthly Archives: February 2007

Jesus and Usability

This is a crazy thought I had going out for lunch. Usability has been present since the time of Jesus. God gave us man the 10 commandments. Then Jesus came and I’m sure he must’ve thought “gee… people won’t get this is too complicated…” and he said: “Love each other as I have loved you”.

Usability is everywhere… )


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Filed under fun, usability

Dekoh vs Adobe Apollo

Update: A person from Dekoh just replied to this post explaining all these doubts. 

Today the Dekoh guys have a post on their blog with a comparison of their product and  Adobe Apollo. Some of the points are not completely clear to me:

  1. RSS Support: Dekoh Yes, Apollo No. What does this mean? What kinda of RSS support will Dekoh have? For what I know you can easily build a RSS reader, or even a routine to parse XML (RSS feeds).
  2. Broswer supported: Apollo None. I don’t really think so, is not that they don’t support any web browser, they just use a diferent webkit. What does this exactly mean? Beats me. What I do know is that this webkit has been used in Safari and KHTML. So “none” seems a bit innacurate to me.
  3. Reusable Widgets: Dekoh Yes, Apollo No. What are these widgets Dekoh mentions? Prebuild out-of-the-box widgets? Isn’t it a platform? Can’t developers make some for the Apollo platform? What does “reusable” exactly mean to Dekoh? Can I use them on Netvibes?
  4. Bundled Database: Dekoh yes, Apollo No. Other Databse support: Dekoh though JDBC, Apollo No. Now, can Dekoh connect to SQL o MySQL? By reading this I would say yes.  Can Apollo? It could. From the Apollo FAQ:
    • Will Apollo Applications be able to communicate directly with databases?
      Apollo 1.0 will not have built in support for communicating directly with databases. However, it will be possible to write Database drivers in ActionScript (leveraging binary or XML sockets), which would allow Apollo applications to communicate directly with a database (both local and remote).
  5. Web 2.0 features like sharing, tagging, commenting; Share from desktop, applications or content with personal friend network: Dekoh Yes, Apollo No. Mmm… Ok, I don’t understand this. Tagging, sharing, commenting? Aren’t those feautres that could be built in any platform? Again is this out-of-the-box support for these?

Like these, there are other unclear points in the comparison. You should probably see for yourself and decide. And then comment here 🙂

PS: I first read about Dekoh here.


Filed under adobe, development, webtop

Universal Widget API

Netvibes has opened the registration for the preview (soon as ready) of their Universal Widget API (UWA) announced last week at FOWA (Future of Web Apps).

This API is aimed to help delopers write widgets once for all platforms (Netvibes, Google, OSX, Vista -¿?,  etc.)

I hope it supports webtops too.

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Filed under development, netvibes

Smart Monday: Modifiying CSS

Today I read a post in Pearsonified about how to modify your wordpress CSS stylesheet. I would like to talk about it with a  much wider approach, based on my experience with Sharepoint Portal Server 2003.

Sometimes, as a web developer you have to work with CSS stylesheets handed by some other web developer, or the guy that was previously in your seat doing what you are doing now. Sometimes they have done an amazing job, sometimes you just thank god you never met the poor devolved b*st*rd.

This is how the post I mentioned above says you should work, which is also how I’ve been working with Sharepoint: Don’t modify the current stylesheet, add a new one with the modified styles. If you can’t add a new reference (say you don’t have access to modify html code) add the new styles at the bottom of the current stylesheet with a HUGE comment indicating that it is your modification.

What I do is: Find what you want to chnge in the HTML code. Look into it and find out what styles are applied to it. Find the style in the stylesheet and copy it. Paste it along with all the modifications and start messing with it.

The reasons:

  1. Say you need to keep track of these changes, having all of them in one place is the best way to do so.
  2. If you make a change and all of the sudden everything goes upside down, you can always just remove the last change, or remove all your changes with one press of *delete*.
  3. If there is no “template” for the pages then you will *only* have to add the references to each page to make them all look the same.

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Filed under CSS, development, microsoft, sharepoint

Robert Scoble on Microsoft vs. Adobe

Today I read a post on Scobleizer about Microsoft vs Adobe . I agree and disagree.

He points out two important things. The first one is that Microsoft is facing a lot of competition when it comes to development tools, languages and all. That is true. I like Microsoft, but I can see them loosing a lot of mindshare.

The second thing he points out is that Adobe is the one gaining terrain from Microsoft. That is also true, but I think here is where he misses one point. I have always thought (and found that my developer peers agree) that Microsoft has a maturity level that Adobe (or Macromedia when it was) hasn’t reached yet. I think Microsoft has a better understanding of the developers, has better IDEs and it is easier for a newcomer to get started with VB than Actionscript I’m sure. And while Adobe might be more innovative and have more momentum, you cannot ignore the years Microsoft has developing and perfectioning Visual Studio and their Framework.

I remember when I tried Flex how HARD it was to find solutions on the internet. I gave up on it. With Microsoft you can trust the “I’m feeling lucky today” button when it comes to solution. And the VS2005 IDE is YEARS ahead any IDE Adobe has (Dreamweaver included).

This might (will – I think) change with time. What I would’ve loved seen is Microsoft embracing Flash instead of competing with it (just like Borland did with their .Net Edition od Delphi), using VB instead of ActionScript would’ve been great for both sides.

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Filed under adobe, development, microsoft

OpenID: Simple video explanation.

The explanation to this video is in an earlier post. Thanks to Hans Dorsch for helping me put my SWF in YouTube.

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Why to pass on passfaces – OpenID security

Some people are concerned on OpenID security and the possibility of phising. Some people are giving solutions to it, and while I?m not trying to be the one that’s not part of the solution, this is just crazy:

If you go there you can see that passfaces is trying to implement a security system based on our ability to recognize faces. While it might seem like a good idea at first, doesn’t seem to be if you take a closer look by using their demo. You have to be “trained” to recognize the faces, basically, see a photo several times and learn to find it among other photos of faces.

To ask people to “train” in order to be secure is by far more utopic than asking them to have secure passwords, change password every X months and to have different passwords for different site.

While passfaces might be a good idea, it is just not practical. I don’t think they will gain many users for the service.

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Filed under openid, security