Archive for the ‘microformats’ Category

Speaking about the web of data

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Today at 19:00 CET I’ll be speaking at a local web meet-up about the web of data. There’ll be a live feed of the talk available and since I’ll be speaking in English you can tune it. This is a quick translation of the abstract posted on Slovenian sites:

Numerous services are emerging on the web that provide data in a computer friendly form through APIs, microformats, feeds,… Even your blog is actually a database as it syndicates its content via feeds and new posts trigger a ping you can subscribe to.

This fact opens new ways of collaboration – so called mash-ups, but this isn’t really a new concept. What’s new about it is the fact that we don’t use this word anymore as all the new services are some sort of a mash-up leveraging existing services. But accessing data is not the only way to leveraging these services – it’s becoming increasingly easy to create an application that lives in other applications without their approval through browser extensions and bookmarklets.

Marko Mrdjenovič from Zemanta will talk about what you can do to make your site more mash-up friendly and why that’s becoming increasingly important. As a developer I’ll also present what options you have and give a few tips on what to do and what to avoid when developing these kind of apps.

If you have any questions during the talk use twitter to tell me and I’ll try to answer them. Or put them in the comments.

Update: The video is now online. It’s in English so go watch it and tell me what you think.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Firefox 3 Release Event 2008

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

So I’ll be talking at Firefox 3 Release Event at Kiberpipa today. Feel free to come listen to the talks or just come to the party. If you can’t come you can watch the whole thing online (the link is likely to be available somewhere on the event page).

Redesigned media

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

A couple of Slovenian newspaper sites redesigned recently (today?). I got the news on Twitter. I’ll try to review what they’ve done1.


Newspaper vendor, Paddington, London, February 2005Image via WikipediaFirst notified by had, I was eager to see the new design and code. The design is very very wide — a good link to the newspaper that is probably the widest/biggest in Slovenia. At 1024×768 you see all the content, but the banner on the side is missing — I hope they subtract these users when selling ad space (or they should get ToboAds that actually count only the ones that are seen by the user using advanced JavaScript).

The design is boring with only the RSS icons giving it some color. It gives no feedback on links, the font on the front page is too small (11px) and it doesn’t hold its text–resizing well. The content is a bit hard to read with the font size at 12px, width of 600px (50em) and line–height at normal. There doesn’t seem to be any vertical rhythm applied. It’s also very hard to figure out where you are in the structure since some of the navigational elements seem to vary in color for no apparent reason.

The underlying code is disappointing. It’s really something that you would just delete and start over. It suffers from inline styles, divitis, classitis, inline scripts, validation errors (163 for the front page) and overall ugliness. The front page needs 67 requests and 724kB to load in 3.24 seconds (there are a few banners on the site though). Disappointing but expected is the fact that they don’t use Microformats but I was positively surprised that you can use OpenID to log in — I’ve never left a comment on local news sites because you need to register with each one. And I never do.


Posted by Tomaž Štolfa it’s actually not available yetavailable now through but can be accessed directly through It’s a nice page but with a shift in concept — the magazine is a weekly publication while the online edition will publish daily (or probably all the time). It too is wider than the previous version with a width of 1024 leaning on the left side of the browser.

The design is nice and gives good feedback in use. It’s made on a simple 5—column grid with the 5th column being used only in the head and for the banner. The only thing that is quite annoying is the banner at the top that moves the whole page down another 90px for no good reason (at least not for the users?). The content is much easier to read with a 12px font size, 1.5em line–height at 563px width (~47em). It also makes use of few different typeface which adds to the overall experience of surfing. Vertical rhythm in text is achieved through crappy code with paragraphs being spaced with <br /> elements.

The code is nothing to look at. It has 71 validation error on the front page with the first ones starting in the head element (unclosed meta elements). It too sports inline styles and scripts (which are at least wrapped in CDATA) and it too suffers from a heavy infection of divitis. It even has some <center> tags that I haven’t seen for quite some time now. The front page loads in 2.54 seconds for 58 requests and 582kB with all requests except Google Analytics going to the same domain. Microformats are nonexistent and so is OpenID — no need to have registration if you can’t leave comments2.

  1. No need for a disclaimer anymore — I don’t know who designed or coded these pages and I don’t work at their competitors. back
  2. WHAT? Isn’t this supposed to be the most open and future thinking newspaper? back

Another year gone by

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

A few days ago this blog celebrated its second birthday. It’s been a good year, with links to my article published by such notable authors as Luke Wroblewski and Ethan Marcotte – the same article was translated into Russian. The blog was also included in Planet Microformats.

I’ve written only 61 posts (down from 100 in the first year), gotten 134 comments (down from 155 in the first year) and more than 70.000 spam comments (up from 17.000). I have 56 subscribers according to FeedBurner, which is more than a 100% increase from 25 a year before.

Firefox is the dominant browser with 47%, Internet Explorer lost some market share and is down to 44% with Safari rising to 4% and Opera to 2.5%. Almost 90% of the visitors have Flash 9 installed, an additional 4.5% are stuck at Flash 8. Screens grew a bit with only 27% having 1024×768 or less (32% year before) and less than 2% 800×600 or less. Windows have a share of 85%, Mac OS 10%, Linux 4%.

Top content is still This page contains both secure and nonsecure items, Messing up the interface coming in at a distant second with merely a third of the visits.


I’ve had a redesign planned since day 1, but as usual it took quite some time to get here. Since I’m not a design I couldn’t just create a fancy look with everything else left the same. The idea was to shake everything up and try to come out with a layout that would be worth redoing everything. When I posted about what a TV network / news page should have when being redone I was also setting my own targets.

Tableless layout

This goes without saying. All the pages should validate, although there might be some crap left.


I increased the width to 850px with the addition of 140px to the left used only for design purpose, not content. The main content is only 410px wide which means you can easily read this blog on devices like the Nokia n800.


Not really that relevant since the page only creates about 15 requests which might even decrease as I compact the JavaScript. There are a bunch of other requests made that are content related – images, Zemanta pixies, favicons…


Every page is supposed to be valid hAtom and the About section is an hCard with adr and geo. Links to others are of course XFNed. The about page is planned to be an hResume.

There’s no need to talk about blog compatibility and screensaving for banners. I don’t use OpenID there are no log-ins.

Context sensitive

Markos recently pointed out the fact that not many pages on the internet make use of the possibility to change the page for different users and different context. This, of course, is not an easy job, especially if you’re doing heavy processing – doing this for each user might be a bit to heavy. It is something I think differentiates the internet from other media and should be used to provide a better user experience.

User based

Returning visitors of this page will get special treatment. Since they’re coming back they don’t need to see the About section and they will also not have banners displayed.

Referrer based

People coming from search engines will see their query parsed into words that will be colored for easier findability. They will be able to switch them on and off and be able to repeat the same query on the internal search with the last option available only if the referrer was an external search engine.

Location based

Even though many blog themes have the same sidebar for all the pages (as did the previous one I used) this doesn’t follow the normal architecture rules. The sidebar is normally context specific – in my case a regular user reading a blog post will currently see nothing in it (while others will see the About and the Ads.

Other candy

Grid and baseline

The page is set to a 7 unit grid, with units 60px wide with a 10px gutter in between. It’s also set to a baseline height of 18px that is respected throughout the page. Images and other non-text blocks on the page are corrected with JavaScript to a half of the unit (9px).


The links bar will try to retrieve the favicon of the link – if it succeeds it will use it instead of the default icon.


If you click on the Google Maps link in the About section they will open as small inline maps with a link to open them in a new window.

Yet to be done

You might have noticed that post categories are nowhere to be found. I didn’t forget them I just found out that I’ve changed my categorizing pattern and had to rethink the display. I also wanted to add the Elsewhere section with links to or even content from other pages where pieces of me reside (Twitter, Flickr, Marela, Pownce, Facebook, LinkedIn,,…). Another thing missing is the Projects and Experiments sections, I’ll tackle these in a separate post sometime in the future…

Zemified relaunched

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

What we got:

What we didn’t get:,

  • yslow – >160 requests for >450k – but it takes more time to load, probably due to javascripts in the head
  • microformats – wishful thinking
  • openid – wishful thinking

What I didn’t check but I think it’s safe to say we didn’t get:

  • blogs compatibility
  • screen saver for banners

Another thing we lost in the transition is the TV guide. I don’t know where they lost it but you can get it here.



Friday, March 28th, 2008

the webSource: ShutterstockA big Slovenian media house is announcing a relaunch of the biggest Slovenian web page (according to Alexa). Since they own two TV channels they’re advertising it with a short commercial that shows a glimpse of the new design. Another hint is a very very small, almost unreadable banner on their front page which “reads e-volution / evolution continues / next stage in [4] days”. What I want to know is whether it is to be an evolution in technology. That’s why I’ll list a few things I’d want if I was the client:

Semantic use of HTML (tableless layout)

The current page sports a fat table layout. The time of lame browsers and the need to create such a layout has passed and using semantic HTML for all the elements is the standard now. As a fan of XHTML Strict I’d also opt for that, allowing users to use the page as a source of content.


The current page is 800px wide with a skyscraper banner on the right. I think a wider default with a hint of elasticity (that would make it almost or completely useful on smaller screens) would be a great choice. If elastic is too difficult I’d opt for 960px.


The current homepage needs more than 180 request and more than 700kB to download. It takes about 5 seconds to do all this. I’m sure that with a little smarter use of CSS and image sprites these numbers could be much lower. A smart thing would be to move the static content to so the browser could download all the resources faster. I’d also want the styles to be on the top and the scrips on the bottom. And since they use their own system to deploy banners I would expect them to use WEDJE to deploy them without stopping the site.


Since all the content on a certain page is actually a news feed I would want them to use the hAtom microformat, with hCard for people and hCalendar for events and the TV schedule also possible. There’s no need to use propriatary format in the age of interoperability.

Blogs compatibility

I don’t think they should offer blogs, but it would be nice if they had a way to embed their content into blogs commenting on the current events. It would also be great if news posts would allow trackbacks so other people could see who blogged about the news.

Screen saver

I’ve noticed lately that when they have a few heavy banners that it’s important to close the tab the page is in to get the full power out of my computer. This could easily be solved with a screen saver JavaScript that would hide all the banners when a user doesn’t interact with it for some time.


With OpenID providers around every corner I really don’t see why anybody would want me to register on their page anymore.

Can you think of anything else?