Recently in Ramblings Category

W3C announced the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 as Proposed Recommendation:

Written for designers of Web sites and content management systems, these guidelines describe how to author Web content that works well on mobile devices. Thirty organizations participating in the Mobile Web Initiative achieved consensus and encourage adoption and implementation of these guidelines to improve user experience and to achieve the goal of "one Web." Read about the Mobile Web Initiative.

That's actually a very interesting document. It's definitely a must for anybody targeting Mobile Web, which is a very different from the Web we know and it's not only because of limitations:

Mobile users typically have different interests to users of fixed or desktop devices. They are likely to have more immediate and goal-directed intentions than desktop Web users. Their intentions are often to find out specific pieces of information that are relevant to their context. An example of such a goal-directed application might be the user requiring specific information about schedules for a journey they are currently undertaking.

Equally, mobile users are typically less interested in lengthy documents or in browsing. The ergonomics of the device are frequently unsuitable for reading lengthy documents, and users will often only access such information from mobile devices as a last resort, because more convenient access is not available.

Still there is dream about "One Web":

The recommendations in this document are intended to improve the experience of the Web on mobile devices. While the recommendations are not specifically addressed at the desktop browsing experience, it must be understood that they are made in the context of wishing to work towards "One Web".

As discussed in the Scope document [Scope], One Web means making, as far as is reasonable, the same information and services available to users irrespective of the device they are using. However, it does not mean that exactly the same information is available in exactly the same representation across all devices. The context of mobile use, device capability variations, bandwidth issues and mobile network capabilities all affect the representation. Furthermore, some services and information are more suitable for and targeted at particular user contexts (see 5.1.1 Thematic Consistency of Resource Identified by a URI).

Some services have a primarily mobile appeal (location based services, for example). Some have a primarily mobile appeal but have a complementary desktop aspect (for instance for complex configuration tasks). Still others have a primarily desktop appeal but a complementary mobile aspect (possibly for alerting). Finally there will remain some Web applications that have a primarily desktop appeal (lengthy reference material, rich images, for example).

It is likely that application designers and service providers will wish to provide the best possible experience in the context in which their service has the most appeal. However, while services may be most appropriately experienced in one context or another, it is considered best practice to provide as reasonable experience as is possible given device limitations and not to exclude access from any particular class of device, except where this is necessary because of device limitations.

From the perspective of this document this means that services should be available as some variant of HTML over HTTP.

What about "Web 2.0"? Well,

No support for client side scripting.

I recently got Motorola RAZR V3X - cool 3G phone (btw 3G really rocks) and all of a sudden I'm all about Mobile Web. This is fascinating technology with huge future. I've got lots of plans that gonna make me millions... if I only had some more spare time :(

15 years old C# MVP

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This guy Matt Cassell is 15 years old and now he's got C# MVP award. Boy, I feel like a dinosaur now...

Ward Cunningham leaves Microsoft to work for The Eclipse Foundation. Wow.

Daily joke

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This is from a very well known software company's site:

This site provides you with unique Technical Resources and Relationship Services available to XXXX! Check this page weekly for updates on a wide variety of XXXX-related issues!
Check a page weekly? I found myself treating it as a bad joke. It just sounds unnatural already to check a page on a regular basis to see if there is anything new. Alas syndication isn't everywhere yet...

Useless RSS feeds

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I was writing very enthusiastically about upcoming MSDN webcasts RSS feed. It's really nice to see more and more orange XML icons on Microsoft sites. But what about quality? I was trying to make use of the the webcasts RSS feed and found it merely useless. What information would you expect from a feed about some events? At least event description, link and a date. Surprisingly upcoming MSDN webcasts RSS feed contains no information about when announced webcasts gonna happen. Weird. Can you guys fix it?

I has hoping to leverage the webcasts feed for updating events module on a site I'm building. But with no webcast dates, what I do? Screen scrapping, just like it's still ninetieths?

VB6 is dead? Amen

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks | 1378 developers, including 203 MVPs signed petition to bring VB6 to Visual Studio .NET. Sounds crazy, huh? While I understand the pain of backwards compatibility issues, I'd rather sign a petition against it.

Creepy one

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I just noted a weird thing in microsoft.public.dotnet.xml newsgroup. Somebody who identifies himself as Paja, posts the same question (verbatim!) to the newsgroup once in a month or so. He's got answers, but never replies, but keeps posting it again. Take a look here - Oct 17 2004, Nov 7 2004, Nov 17 2004, Dec 23 2004 and now - Jan 23 2005. Creepy...


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Tim Ewald shares some info on the MSDN2. Now that's soooo coooool! I think that's the best thing could happen with MSDN. And now I just don't believe they let Tim to leave MSFT!

USPTO did it again. Fun is going on. Now Oracle has been granted a patent on CMS. Patent 6,745,238 says:

The web site system permits a site administrator to construct the overall structure, design and style of the web site. This allows for a comprehensive design as well as a common look and feel for the web site. The web site system permits content for the web site to originate from multiple content contributors. The publication of content is controlled by content owners. This permits assignment of content control to those persons familiar with the content.

Is it sane actually?

Reading Feb 2004 MSDN Mag

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Well, it's Sunday. Calm and peace around newsgroups, forums and blogs. But in Israel it's workday, really. And I like it btw. RSS waves brought me today really enjoyable reading - MSDN Mag February 2004 issue. Nice. Here are couple of cynical comments though:

"Console Appplications in .NET" by Michael Brook.
I'm console-oriented guy too and my first .NET application was nxslt.exe command line utility for running XSLT (in fact I rarely run it in real command prompt, using as external transformer in XML Spy instead). But I'm not so wacky as Michael is! What he is showing in the article is "the world's first command-line RSS reader". Well, it's really hard to think up good samples for an article...

"Comparing the Timer Classes in the .NET Framework Class Library" by Alex Calvo.
I didn't realized there are three different timer classes in .NET FCL - System.Windows.Forms.Timer, System.Timers.Timer and System.Threading.Timer. Good to know. Here is a summary comparison table.

"WEB Q&A", Nancy Michell is still not aware of XInclude way for combining XML documents. Too bad, DTD sucks on combining loosely coupled documents. XSLT doesn't, but hurts perf. XInclude is the way to go.

"XML in Yukon. New Version Showcases Native XML Type and Advanced Data Handling" by Bob Beauchemin. It's excerpt from upcoming "A First Look at Microsoft SQL Server "Yukon" Beta for Developers" book. Good intro. Here are some perls:

The introduction of this native XML data type, coupled with the emerging industry standard XQuery language, should spark a revolution in database application development.
I'm pessimistic on that. I hope for some changes, but not a revolution. And do we really need another revolution?
Having XML data inside a relational database may offend some relational purists, but it means that your data lives in a single repository for reasons having to do with administration, reliability, and control.
Hehe, poor relational purists, it's time to think XMLish.
In addition to the query capabilities of XPath, XQuery allows element and attribute construction via XSLT.
WTF? I'm sure it should be "like XSLT".

"The XQuery Designer in Action" - cool. Now I'm dying to give it a shot.

Listening to blah-blah

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I've been attending Microsoft conference on Biztalk 2004 in Tel-Aviv today. Well, probably the only worth doing outcome is a mug with Biztalk logo. Beside that only one presentation by Cobby Cohen was at least substantially interesting to some degree, all other talks were pure blah-blah-copy-n-paste-from-biztalk-overview. By the way we've been shown Biztalk 2004 not-beta version, which is what I'm looking for now. Does anybody have a clue where fresh Biztalk 2004 builds are available to download?

Quote of the Day

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The length of a spec is directly proportional to the size of the committee that produced it, multiplied by the number of years spent on the effort (which also increases with the size of the committee).

Michael Kay

Bookworm's joy

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By the way, Fawcette XML and Web Services Magazine has piblished a free book chapter of the "A First Look at ADO.NET and System.Xml v. 2.0" book by Alex Homer, Dave Sussman, and Mark Fussell. I've devoured the chapter last night and now I think I'm going to buy the book to be prepared for the future. As per my taste it's too data-oriented, but that's exactly what document-oriented guy with HTML/Docbook/XSL-FO past like me really needs.

Oh, and recently published "The C# Programming Language" by Anders Hejlsberg et al of course!

Quote of the Day

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From saxon-love-in-department:

>> How did Michael do it .

The biggest factors are a total absence of project managers, marketeers, junior programmers, and paying customers who think they know best.

Michael Kay

Revolutions everywhere

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I've been some time offline travelling around Israel with my wife, Mom and mother-in-law. Now, coming back to my mail and RSS Bandito I feel like I missed a revolution in the industry. The crowd is talking about declarative programming on Windows, Elliotte Rusty Harold likes Microsoft XAML design, hmmmmmmmm what's going on?

By the way I'm reading Elliotte's new book, "Effective XML" (check out some chapters online) right now. Well, that's the most interesting XML book I've read last years, probably becuase Elliotte doesn't try to teach us XML, but sorts out well-known XML problems and pitfalls and explains best practices how to solve them to make using XML effective. Of course not all he's writing I'm agree with, but still interesting. In fact it's java-related book, so "Effective XML" addendum for .NET world is needed. I believe it could be great subject for an article.

In the related news, by Mark Fussell:

Ubiquity and deployment! What planet are you living on! Where does deployment fit with the DOM! The DOM is a dying API, superced by improved XML stores such as the JDOM and in .NET the XPathDocument, now that this is editable in the System.Xml "Whidbey" release.
Ahhha, a honey for my soul...

GotDotNet Workspaces get mature

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To my delight, GotDotNet Workspaces have been upgraded to v1.1. Newly added features now make the environment really competing with et al. Finally!
  • Workspace aliases. Now I can use human readable alias URL instead of machine-readable long id-based URL for XInclude.NET project! Wooohoo! (Cough, cough, actually it doesn't seem to work now, probably some time is needed to propagate the URL alias).
    Dare, book alias before somebody takes it!
  • Documentation. Finally we can place html and images to customize workspace home page and provide online documentation for projects. A must stuff I really missed.
  • Access control, by user and group, notifications, cool control knobs.
Well done guys!

MVP Awards

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New MVP Awards List for 2003-2004 has been published. My sincere congrats to Christoph and Kirk!

I've been told I was nominated too, but seems like I'm not lucky enough. May be what I'm doing is not enough or I'm doing something wrong, who knows. Well, may be next time.
Today's mentallogram:

Are you romantic?

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From Mono CVS Commit Rules:
Also, remember to pat yourself on the back after the commit, smile and think we're a step closer to a better free software world.

Outlook and news://

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Isn't it strange that Microsoft Outlook doesn't support reading newsgroups? Almost decided to move from Mozilla to Outlook 2003 today, but at the very last moment realized I have also to use Outlook Express for reading beloved newsgroups. That's really disappointing to use 2 apps instead of 1... so I'm still on Mozilla.

New horizons

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VSIP is free now. Terrific news!
Don Box:
I started a new book today
Here's the first sentence:
Software lives at the boundary between objective and subjective reality.
More to follow.
Enough said.

Tim Bray on well-crafted spam: ongoing aloihin Backhuhn ambulant chopin. That's funny. You know, spam became a part of our life. But being behind mozilla's junk mail filtering I'd agree - we are winning.

May Issue of .Net Developer Journal is available for free in PDF format. Good for those not subscribed like me.
[Via Roy Osherove].

Ubiquitous Web Services

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Web Services rock! As I found out BizTalk Server is actually dead and is going to be transformed to Jupiter suite this year. Not surprisingly, Jupiter is Web Services-based product. It will use Business Process Execution Language for Web Services and integrated with Office and Visual Studio.NET.

Chances are I'll be involved in a project, which uses first Jupiter beta soon, so I'm happy I shouldn't learn all that boring BizTalk stuff, but BPEL4WS instead.

Funny Piece of Spam

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What a mail I got today from Taiwan, really nice one:

"Mozilla thinks this message is junk mail". Well, probably ;)

Snowing and hailing time

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They say it's snowing in Jerusalem again (at the end of March!) and as I can see outside it's hailing, thundering and heavily raining here near of Tel-Aviv. I know, winter rains are a blessing for Israel, Kineret goes up 10cm everyday and this is daily-good-news here. Still almost two meters below the ecologically normal red line today:

But I don't know why it all makes me pessimistic. Blogs are almost empty these days, 100 emails at the morning was probably this year minimum, newsgroups are more dead than alive, the stuff I was working on last few weeks has stuck at the final stage for the reason I have no influence on... Well, I need to start doing something new and fresh, so I'm going to return to XInclude for .NET project. Kirk Allen has joined the team yesterday, probably more invitations are needed, lets spam newsgroups then ;)

PS. At least such news save me from the depression:

Saddam's ads is filtered out

Is blogging infectious?

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Well, blogging is really infectious disease and finally I got the infection. I have installed Movabletype engine on my site quite easily (c'mon, it's cgi based) and here is my first record.

Lets see how it works. Administering is not bad and default template looks really nice, but I'm sure I'll modify all the style once I get some free time.

I named my blog "Signs on the Sand" (it took me the whole evening and the night to formulate my feelings), because I believe that's what all these words worth and that's their final destiny. Hmmm, whatever, I like it.

So happy blogging to me.