Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Web Standards Group (WebSG) Singapore Meetup #2

Around 35 people turned up at tonight's Web Standards Singapore Meetup #2, held at the Central Lending Library. I didn't do a count for the first meetup. Seems to have more people this time round (I didn't see the two teenaged students though). During the presentations, there was a quiet, even subdued, atmosphere. But the brains were churning, judging from the spontaneous questions and comments during Q&A.

My personal notes from the presentations:

1) “Reality check: Beyond the hype of web standards” by Yuhui
  • Flash is not W3C-recommended. Better to deploy Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).
  • ACID 2 test for web compliance browser verification (apparently, after you run through the test, the more compliant your site, the more of the smiley face would appear)
  • Browser market still dominated by IE (Yuhui showed a chart with 84% share by IE) which isn't Web Standards compliant (partly the reason why Web standards are not widely adopted).
  • Yuhui maintains there's still a need for Web Standards. Implementing Web standards tends to result in lower maintenance costs in longer run (in brief, there's less work involved to effect changes in the site)
  • Some suggested sites for developers: Layoutgala (free layouts); alistapart.com (source codes & loads of stuff); browsershots.org (site for testing webpages by emulating various browsers); www.w3schools.com (tutorial for W3C-recommended standards)
  • Q&A: I asked if vendors would charge more to develop Web Standards Compliant projects. Responses from Yuhui and the floor was that generally it shouldn't cost more. Even if it did (e.g. increased time taken to verify that the codes work across different platforms), the difference shouldn't be too significant.
  • [I would have wanted to ask how a client could verify if a web developer knows about Web Standards Compliance, but we needed to move on to the other topic. Guess I'll ask at the next meetup]

2) Firefox Tips & Tricks by Chu Yeow
  • Even for a non-techie like me, I found this segment interesting. Chu Yeow showed his favourite developer tips, tricks, Firefox browser hacks and cool Firefox extensions that mac users will appreciate. I was just enjoying the "show" and didn't bother to take down specific notes. Oh man, Siva you didn't know what you missed! LOL
  • Also showed keyboard shortcuts like CTRL-Shift-T (opens a tab and loads the last page that was closed)
  • To me, this segment was a peek into "what a web developer does". I don't know why knowing something like that is comforting (from a client's point of view) but it just does. It was also comforting to hear an experienced web developer like Lucian say , "There are things I don't know as well"
  • Lucian also quipped, "Now we know 'what we need to know'". That simple statement may just sum up the spirit and intent of such meetups, i.e. more for participants to get an idea and follow-up on it later, should they choose to do so.

3) - Introduction to Microformats by Lucian
  • I didn't really pay attention to this segment, as I was fiddling with the light switches for the room to make Lucian's presentation show up better. Something about XFN and "Microformats to organise the web". Well, read more here atmicroformats.org

Out of curiosity, I requested Lucian to asked the following questions before the participants left:
  • How many were visiting the Central Lending Library for the first time? (Responses = Five out of 35);
  • How many were visiting a NLB library for the first time ever? (Responses = Two)
  • How many are NOT web designers/ developers? (Responses = Five)
Too bad there wasn't time left for the participants to hang around more to chit chat, and maybe give them a quick tour of the library (maybe prompt some of them to borrow books or graphic novels, heh).

A few of them said it was nice to have the session at the library (free WIFI at CLL) but some felt the session was too short, i.e. the library had to close at 9pm; they would have loved to stay longer to chat and network.

6 comments:

  1. One note - the Acid2 test is more for browser verification than site verification.

    Tools for site verification can be found in W3C site. :)

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  2. Yeah woud have enjoyed Chu Yeow's session! Used to follow his blog. Hardly use FFirefox these days though, moved to Camino. How about you?

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  3. Meetups are great, will have a me@n one soon!

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  4. Hi Ivan,

    Thanks for the recap! I'm glad I could help you come away with some insights into Web standards.

    Yeah, I couldn't stay for long after the meeting too, had to run off. Hope to catch up with you some other time!

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  5. "apparently, after you run through the test, the more compliant your site, the more of the smiley face would appear" -- Acid2 serves to test browsers' ability to handle invalid/in-compliant(?) CSS codes as well.

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  6. @Siva: Now why did you have to go and do that for? :P

    Seriously, I tried out Camino when I switched to the Mac but just couldn't live with the features that Firefox has.

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