Web 2.0

HTML5 in IE8 and IE7

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We are seeing more and more use of HTML5, however, it is being held back largely due to the use of Internet Explorer 8. IE8 will be with us for some time because it works on Windows XP and IE9+ require at least Windows Vista.

Well, I've stumbled over some code that creates most HTML5 tags correctly in IE7 and IE8 through JavaScript.

The script is very easy to use. Just put something like the below in the head portion of your code.

<!--[if lt IE 9]>
<script src="//html5shiv.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/html5.js">
<style type="text/css">
abbr, article, aside, audio, bdi, canvas, data, datalist, details, figcaption, figure, footer, header, hgroup, mark, meter, nav, output, progress, section, summary, time, video {
 display: block;
}
</style>
<![endif]—>

After you put this in the code you can use these tags and for the most part they should work correctly (a few still may have problems, so you will need to test your page in IE7 or IE8).

You can get the code here. here.

What I Did on My Winter Holiday

This winter break (or as we used to call it when I was still in school, Christmas vacation), I worked on a little web application. The application was going to be for an automotive related blog that I write on, but once I started working on it I realized that the application was better if it wasn't restricted to just automotive information.

The application is called scovry and it is a web discovery application. You may notice that we at Ajaxonomy love spy applications (notice that in Ajaxonomy labs we wrote delicious Spy and TubeSpy). scovry is kind of a blend of these spy applications along with gathering information from many other social media sites and social networks. Beyond this the site adds a social element by allowing comments and easy sharing of items found on the site.

scovry

From a programming side, in order to load all of the data and keep the server happy I used a lot of caching. The caching code I used was based on the Easy Server Side Caching in PHP article that I wrote a while back. With some small changes, the biggest of which was using readfile() instead of include(). I even modified the caching script to cache images that are loaded from the thumbnail service to make loading much faster (not to mention to reduce requests for images).

You can check out scovry here.

Are Delicious and Digg both Dying?

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A few years ago it would have been hard to believe that both Digg and Delicious (a.k.a. del.icio.us) could ever be on life support. However, that appears to be what may be happening. It looks like both may be dying, but it is happening in much different ways.

In my last post I reported that Yahoo! was killing Delicious. Yahoo! has since released a statement that says that the site will instead be sold off, which still puts it's future in jeopardy. Once someone buys Delicious we will have to see what changes happen to the service. The main mistake that I feel that Yahoo! made with Delicious, is never putting advertising on the site. With a social network advertising is one of the few proven ways to make money. Since Yahoo! is having so many financial problems they are needing to get rid of anything that doesn't make a profit.

With the uncertain future of Delicious, I have exported all of my bookmarks and have imported the to a new service that is looking to take over for Delicious (more about the service later in this post).

With Digg the issue is much different. The problem that they are having is one of many people leaving the site due to the latest version of the site. The latest version is vastly different from how Digg started out. In fact many of the changes are more likely to help SEO and spammer types than those who are engaged in the social network. Because of this many users have started using other social networks and one in particular seems to be making a big splash (more on the service in a little bit).

This pivotal time for the two services has opened the door for a few services that seek to gain users from the networks as their ships may be sinking. Two of these services are Old Dogg, which is an old school Digg like site and ocell.us, which is a Delicious site that is much like the original del.icio.us.

With Old Dogg, many previous Digg users have joined the network and the site is thriving. The site seems to have more of the early Digg feel that made users fall in love with Digg in the first place. I personally like the site and think it has the potential to be the final nail in Diggs coffin.

With ocell.us, you have a simple site that gets to the heart of social bookmarking. The site is very new, but appears to be gaining quite a bit of traction with users looking for a site that promises to be around for a long time. In fact the about page states that the site was started because of the "death" of del.icio.us and guarantees to keep the site running for a very long time.

Below is what the site says about why it was started.

ocell.us is a social bookmarking site started in the wake of the death of del.icio.us. The site allows you to import all of you del.icio.us bookmarks and of course to store new bookmarks. The main reason that the site was started was to give a site that would allow for social bookmarking, without the fear that it would ever be taken down (we have a very low overhead and are able to afford to keep running for a very long time).

So, only time will tell if Digg and Delicious are able to stay alive and on top. Otherwise Old Dogg and ocell.us may do to Digg and Delicious what Facebook did to MySpace.

-Important note: I am creator of the ocell.us site, so my be a bit conflicted in my interest towards the site.

jQuery CSS and Effects - Video Tutorial of the Week

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This week's video tutorial is about creating effects using jQuery and CSS. jQuery is one of the best Ajax libraries available and if you want to learn more about it, then this tutorial will help.


Fun with Twitter or How to Get Over 500 Twitter Followers in Two Weeks!

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As we all know Twitter is one of the most powerful social networks around. The network is so powerful that if you have a lot of followers on the network and post a link you can get an incredible amount of traffic. The popularity of Twitter was shown today when someone tweeted that Bill Cosby died and it was reported as true by some media (in fact Bill Cosby has said that he is getting family calling his house thinking that he had passed away).

Two weeks ago I thought I would have some fun on twitter and decided to take my Twitter account that only had one follower (my wife) and see how many followers I could get. I was using the account to post tweets about my Porsche Blog. So, the first thing I did is change the user-name to something a bit more descriptive as to what I was posting, theporscheguys. The next thing I did was look for other users that where interested in what I was posting. I did this by following people that where also posting things about Porsche and following people that where following them (this was the key as most of these people will be more likely to follow you).

To make sure that I kept the tweets going (people want to follow people tweet often) I used Feedburner's new Twitter feature that puts a Tweet on Twitter every time something is posted on my Porsche Blog and Porsche Social Network.

I started doing all of this on a Friday and by the following Monday I had over 200 followers (yes 200 in one weekend)! It has been about a week and a half and I now have over 500 followers. My Porsche Blog and Porsche Social Network have increased in traffic by quite a bit. Before I started having all of these followers I was averaging about 30 unique visitors a day and now I am averaging over 600 unique visitors per day and it keeps growing.

So, if you follow these tips you can get quite a few followers and possibly much more traffic to your site.

The Future of Social Networks

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We know that there are a lot of social networks, with new social networks launched everyday. Most of these social networks die because not many people use them.

I believe that the issue may often be that these sites do not separate themselves from existing social networks. Most of these networks are almost exactly the same as a Facebook, Twitter, Digg or Flickr and since they are going for the same audience they have very little chance at surviving.

I think that in general the future of social networks is to create social networks for smaller niche groups. Take for instance a site that i have been working on. The Porsche Guys Club, which is a free on-line Porsche auto club. The idea of this social network is to connect Porsche fans in the same way as a traditional auto club, but without the cost and overhead of a traditional club.

You can take a look at the site here.

So, this is an example of what I think the future of social networks will be, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Compress JavaScript with Gzip

I found interesting tutorial today about using JavaScript with Gzip:

The main problem when we are using ajax framework is because of their big size. Of course, it will extremely slow down the sites load time. For example, if we use the standard jQuery, it’s almost 100Kb. It’s even more if we use the complete Prototype and Scriptaculous that will cost around 150Kb.Compress JavaScript with Gzip | Ajax Tutorial, Nov 2008

Read the whole tutorial here.

Visual WebGui web applications framework 6.4 beta 1 released w/ jQuery integration

The new Visual WebGui Web Applications Framework version which was released today offers upgraded performance, scalability and complete developer and designer freedom to design and customize Web 2.0 UIs. Visual WebGui 6.4 beta 1 incorporates about 1,000 complete features either added or fixed from 6.3, including increased customizability with the new control level designer, theme designer and jQuery integration. The new version also includes 4 out-of-the-box skins for simple personalization of the UI look and feel. The new version improves WinForms compatibility and provides a much comprehensive set of events with upgrades to the DataGrid and ListView.

6.4 also presents runtime enhancements with improved performance, memory consumption and CPU usage as well as scalability. The improvement in 6.4 reaches the compatibility areas with greater browser support which covers almost the entire spectrum of prominent browsers in the market.

Visual WebGui SDK with integration into Visual Studio 2010 will be available by the time that a 6.4 release version is out.

As announced before a revised documentation and a new task oriented kit will be soon available for Visual WebGui developers. The kit which will demonstrate all of Visual WebGui's controls, features and concepts will allow a quick live view of all of the platform's components as well as a deep dive for more advanced developers in their work.

Free beta downloads are available here.

Visual WebGui 6.3.11 & 6.4 Preview Released

Visual WebGui version 6.3.11 released after the R&D team had a major breakthrough with a designer issue.

In addition, Visual WebGui 6.4 Preview 4 was released. This version presents an important progress as Preview 4 is the last Preview version of the 6.4 version. Visual WebGui 6.4 allows to take advantage of incredibly fast application development without sacrificing the essential flexibility and customization of designing from scratch.

"The Visual WebGui 6.4 preview version is another step towards simplifying and commoditizing complex Ajax web development . The ease of developing with Visual WebGui combined with the new efficient interface between developers and designers gives Visual WebGui an unparalleled advantage over other RIA development platforms. The market loves our solution and rewards us in its download and adoption rate," said Navot Peled, CEO and founder of Gizmox.

The release version of 6.4 is expected before the end of 2009.

Download Free Preview:
http://www.visualwebgui.com/tabid/639/Default.aspx

Free Downloads Here.

How to Make a Search Based on Google's Product Search

You may have seen the Google Product Search and may have thought that it would be useful to include a customized version of the search into a website or application. Unfortunately, you can't just create a custom search engine based on the Product Search using Google's custom search creator.

So, how would you incorporate the Product Search into an application? The answer is to use the Google Base API. The API allows for you to call a feed and if you use the [item type:products] option it will use the Product Search data.

The API allows you to receive the feed in Atom, RSS and JSON formats. Google has also made it very easy by making a feed URL builder (you can access the builder here).

So, if you want to make an application using the Products Search now you can.

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