Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bookmarks, bookmarks.....everywhere

I don't know how many people here use a service that is, or is simlar to,, but I have been using delicious for a very long time. Long enough that I have about 4700 bookmarks on the site.
With the recent turmoil this year surrounding delicious, specifically Yahoo! doing their a-typical "we don't need this anymore routine", put the delicious site up on the chopping block and looked for a buyer or threatened its shutdown. Users like myself, who have been using it religiously and love it, were a little taken aback by the possibility of impending doom for our beloved bookmarking site.
After following the issue for a couple of days I decided to check the net and see what similar sites existed out there. I found a list of similar sites (or what was said to be similar), but was not really impressed with most of them. My issue with most of the sites I found was that all I was really looking for was a bookmarking site. I wanted something that operated like delicious, but wasn't delicious. The sites that I stumbled upon ended up being what is affectionately referred to as social bookmarking sites that actually allowed you to bookmark a site, but then took it to other levels of sharing by integrating with your other social networks and getting you involved in other ways of sharing your bookmarks. I was not looking for all that though.
Sure, I don't care who sees my bookmarks, that isn't the problem. My problem is that those sites had an excessive amount of features and some were even cumbersome and confusing to look at the demos of. Call me simplistic, but that's kind of what I was looking for.
Now, before you go asking me "Why didn't you look into the firefox bookmarks as they sync online", I did. I tried them briefly, but I found that the syncing was not automatic and it took an excessive amount of time for what I bookmarked to show up. Why? Who wants to wait? Not me and not many in this day and age.
Well, needless to say I found a site that was very up and coming and still in its early infancy. The site is called Grazely. At first glance it seemed new and inviting, and was. I created an account and imported my bookmarks into it, all 4700 of them (approximately). After doing so I took a look at the toutal count of bookmarks on the site and it was just under 20K. So essentially, about 1/4 of the sites bookmarks came from me. I was on the site for about a month and a half when the developers announced that they would be shutting down for about 5 days to do some major maintenance. The maintenance lasted about 2 weeks and ended up being a total site overhaul, redesign and recoding.
I got back in yesterday with a fresh invite (having already had an account previousl) into the Beta launch. They completely changed it, yes and so far, I have not put together an opinion of the site as of yet. The developers apparently changed it to be a secure bookmarking site, where you bookmarks are encrypted. Personally I am not sure how I feel about this yet. I don't see the need right off for my bookmarks to be encrypted. The bookmarks I have are saved because I found the link useful or plan to revisit it and I would love for someone else to find them useful as well. I have a very open source mindset and that comes from me developing with open source, so I do not yet understand their need for security of bookmarks. If I want to have a bookmark that I don't want anyone else to see but me, I just need to be able to mark it private and its hidden. 'Nuff said.
With that, if you use any other bookmarking site and are curious about Grazely, hit me up. I have an invitation to the site to give away and yes, its first come first serve. I don't know how popular bookmarking sites are with everyone, but hey, you never know so I figured I would offer it up.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thoughts on HTML5

Let me preface this post by stating that I am one of those coders that believes in doing things the right way. It is absolutely appalling to come across messy, uncommented code that leaves you scratching your head trying to figure out exactly what it does. Its just as appalling to come across a website, look at the code and discover that they used tables for the layout of the site. To top it off, none of their tags are closed making people with my coding beliefs shudder.

I know there are people out there reading this who say "So what? What's the big deal?". There are standards out there for a reason. Granted they are a bit more enforced in HTML when you use the XHTML standard as you are forced to close your tags, but that still doesn't stop people from using tables for the layout of their site.

I have been looking at HTML5 as a means for creating my new website and am finding that there are things I do and don't like about it currently. One of the things that I am non-plused by, but am going to have to live with is that the people responsible for HTML5 regressed and decided not to enforce the need to close all of your tags, as XHTML required.

I found this to be a good thing, forcing coders to make their code a bit nicer and actually pay attention to the details. By opening this up and allowing people to use thier own styling choice, this is going to make supporting someone elses HTML5 code a bit of a headache.

That point aside, I am finding that to code in HTML5, you have to add a lot of checks into your code to see if certain new add-ons are supported in the browser that is accessing your site. For instance, with forms, they have added a lot of new types which make browsers that support them have a bit more intuitive reactions to those fields (like date pickers or color pickers for dates, or even the email type that tells a mobile browser to configure it keyboard to support email addresses specifically). Unfortunately, at this time, the only browser out there that has support for all the forms additions in Opera. While Opera supports a lot of HTML5, not a lot of people use Opera. Its use is dwarfed by that of Firefox and Chrome.

I have been really thinking about whether I want to use HTML5 and write the code to do the tests, but that really isn't going to be an option going forward. HTML5 is out there and is here to stay. The support in browsers will only continue to increase but the concern is going to be users. There are too many people out there using older versions of browsers. Listen people (you know who you are), just because its working for you doesn't mean its right. You are not only forcing a lot of developers to code for the fact that you are refusing to update, you are actually not getting the proper experience out of a lot of websites that the rest of us are.

I guess I will just have to suck it up, code it once and reuse it.
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