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December 17, 2007

I feel like I’d better pop my head up and break the Web Directions-induced radio silence for the sake of getting at least one more post on here before the end of the year. So this will be a bit of a round-up of what’s been on my radar in the past month, in amongst all the craziness.

Web Directions North

The most frequent question in casual conversation these days: how are registrations? This year it’s going really well. I daresay WDN08 is going to quite a bit bigger than 2007. There’s still a lot — an awful lot — to do before the end of January, but the four of us putting it on are starting to feel the pressure lifting a little which is a nice pre-holiday treat. If you missed it, Digital Web is running their snowboard contest once again, and you have a few more days to get entries in for a shot at free tickets to the conference.

24 Ways

Drew and crew are back for another year of holiday cheer. If you missed it, over the weekend my annual contribution was published: Get in Shape, where I spend some time looking at the role of consistency, balance, and completion in design. Given last year’s colour analysis, you could be forgiven for plotting the next few years’ worth according to fundamental design elements like, ohhhh, say line or texture.


You’ve likely heard by now that Opera has decided to engage in legal proceedings against Microsoft. The main points seem to resolve to 1) Microsoft is limiting choice, and 2) they’re refusing to implement web standards.

I’ll reserve judgment on point #2 until I see what’s in store for IE8 as the steps forward made by IE7 give me some hope for what lies ahead. (It struck me IE7 was a quick fix to kill the biggest headaches, so I wonder what they’ve done with the year or so they’ve had since shipping.)

As for point #1, haven’t we seen this movie? Keep in mind that Opera is a commercial company. I think their proposed remedy of including pre-installed browsers in Windows is somewhat telling.

Eric Meyer thinks this is a case of very Bad Timing and though I’m not quite as concerned about potential bad reactions, I find myself agreeing.

Stuff and CSS

And in the other corner, Andy Clarke kicked off a dialogue about disbanding the current CSS working group as a consequence of the Opera lawsuit, making the perceived connection more clear in a follow-up post.

Reactions have been swift and passionate both on-site and elsewhere. For my part, I questioned the financing of such a proposal, but that’s far from my only concern. I think Maciej Stachowiak (Apple, WebKit) sums it up best: those of us in the trenches don’t get feature requests from the general web design & development community, but the browser folks do. Far be it for me to claim what I want is the same as what everyone else wants; the community is too diverse. Removing the people who likely have the most insight and do much of the work seems like a less than ideal course of action.

It’s a good discussion to have; there have to be better solutions.

Update: an insightful late-entry essay to add to the heap, The future of web standards.

Zen Mini-update

Back in October I decided to change the submissions process of the css Zen Garden to either yes, you’re in, or no, thanks for trying. The new way didn’t sit well with me, I’d forgotten that I often don’t/can’t include great work for some reason or another. Rejecting them outright was a problem.

So, another quick change to the publishing process, and we’re back to the old way. All designs are published, but the ones that don’t make the cut are put on the Other Designs list (accessible from “All Designs” in the top paragraph of text). While I was at it I decided to use the metadata for the newer ones that have it, so there’s now a country and date listed for each of these.

A big link list may not be as elegant as the previous categorized designs, but it’s sustainable — I still make a yes or no decision, but at least these the ones that don’t make it have a place to go.

Presents. Did I mention there were presents?

And to end on a positive tone, I’d like to share a few sites I’ve been enjoying lately.

I Love Typography popped up a few months ago as a well-designed new type blog. It was an automatic add, but it’s managed to keep me engaged with great material like font creation case studies. Then little while later I noticed Nice Web Type, which hasn’t been updated much yet, but hits all the right buttons in terms of subject matter. One to watch anyway.

Two personal blogs that stood out this year are Ongoing and rc3. Both are written by programmers, both frequently dive into coding minutae I can’t hope to follow, but both also cover much broader subject matter more frequently in literate and well-considered fashion.

And a brand new find (as a result of a link to Web Directions, if I remember correctly) is FAIRspot. Part blog, part gallery, part directory, it’s kind of like CSS Beauty without the CSS part. Lots of great stuff coming through their RSS feed.

That’s likely it from me in 2007. It’s been a fairly light year for writing on this site, but that’s just cause I’ve been busy elsewhere. Good problem to have.

Optimo says:
December 17, 14h

Thanks for the cool links, Dave. typography has limitless potential for opening eyes and minds.
Enjoy your Holidays

December 18, 06h


Thanks for sharing the FAIRspot and (in particular) I Love Typography links –awesome and inspirational…

Happy Holidays!

Georg says:
December 18, 15h

Opera’s filing of a complaint with the European Commission, is not a lawsuit, and the timing is in step with similar complaints that has been successfully tested. Thus, both the timing and the actual complaint are near perfect. Sadly, it seems to have resulted in a lot of uninformed noise, which hopefully will die down shortly.

The process behind CSS and other standards - and especially the implementation part, will probably gain from being discussed in many fora - as long as nobody seriously suggest that same standards should, or can, be produced without full participation of those who are supposed to implement them.

Ole says:
December 19, 05h

Thanks for the posts you’ve taken time to post during the year that has past. Some very interesting links that I just have to check out even while swamped with deadlines just before the holidays.

Happy Holidays! :)

cam c. says:
December 19, 13h

Interesting timing on this news:

Looks like IE8 is making some strides on the standards compliance…

johno says:
December 22, 20h

Some great links. Keep up the good work with Web Directions–only wish I could make WBN08.

Have a great Christmas typographically exquisite New Year.