Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

Practice

It occured to me yesterday that the netWindows site doesn't practice what it preaches. It's more or less a static site with a NW toolbar at the top. How utterly dull.

I think that moving to an XML or database backend with some python or PHP in the middle talking to a netWindows component really is the better way to make the site work if I'm going to continue to keep hacking on this thing. I mean, why save the "good stuff" for the sample environment page? I think I started thinking about all of this after tripping over idontsmoke.co.uk yesterday and being struck by the sheer simplcity of it.

But I don't have any idea what the NW component should look like or how it should behave. I think the behaviour is simpler than the look. I'm a back-end coder by habit and I like mucking in the bowels of an application/site. I'm good at it. Making it look nice? I wish I were good at that, but the harsh reality of life is that I'm not. So I'm open to suggestion on this one. Little boxes that you click and expand into things seem like a good idea. And they should get the content when requested. Not before. The whole site should be able to live on a single page (more or less). Not sure what to do about the help pages. They've got their own style sheet, and I think I'd have to write an addition to environ_core.js that lets me import styles from sheets into a running page. A big can of worms, that one.

Anyway, gotta go to another exciting and engaging (cough) poly-sci class. At least I've still got good books to read.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism. It'll kill me yet.

I don't know why I spend countless hours dreaming up things to try, which turn into things to build, which turn into things that later need fixing. But I do. And I keep doing it. For instance, lets consider just my netWindows wishlist:

Each one of these additions or features will add to the already huge bug list for netWindows. Each of these will generate requests for clarification, documentation, explanation, and dissection from any number of corners. It's a lot.

Memory

Button widget comitted.

I'm almost embarassed that 0.2.3 is going to be out less than a month after 0.2.2, but I guess that's the way it all falls out sometimes. Anyhow, the new buttons support internal state management (i.e., they know when they are "active" and when they're "disabled"), can have images, are sizable to any size you choose, are fully themed, and they support both inline and programatic constructors.

On another note, I wish I had a good way to determine how much memory each object and component in the NW environment requires. But I suppose that needing memory optimization for DHTML is a pretty sure sign that I'm doing something unholy. Doesn't mean that I don't want it though.

A Fan

Just found this linked from Scottandrew. CSS and HTML reference in my sidebar? Yes please.

I'm such a fan.

KSync

Ran across this yesterday while looking for more Open Source PIM stuff, and it seems like it would make a logical front end to the versioning system I described on Wed. The more I think about it, so long as we can prescribe that all data be stored in XML format, I don't see why good-ol CVS can't do the job on the backend, it just needs some set of "wrapper" applications to make the interface a lot more transparent to the end user. I hate it when big projects start to seem approachable, 'cause then I find myself working on them. Well, sanity was nice while it lasted.

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