Yahoo

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.

Override alert() with a YUI Dialog

We all know that using alert in a finished application is not good design, but we often overlook this for the ease of using alert. Well, over at YUICoder they have put together a good post on replacing alert with a YUI dialog box.

Below is an excerpt from the post.

You know and I know and everyone knows the alert boxes generated by the browsers are OLD-SCHOOL and look like garbage. Well using YUI you can easily change that by just including a little code in you page. Simply add the code below to the bottom of your page just before the end body tag then add the body style to the begining body tag called “yui-skin-sam” and that’s it. Oh and don’t forget to include your YUI Framework base and the additional scripts “container”, “dragdrop” and “animation”. For an example on how to included the YUI Framework and load specific parts check out for a quick start guide for YUI Loader and Yahoo CDN.

AlertDialog = new YAHOO.widget.SimpleDialog("dlg1", {

  width: "200px",
  effect:{effect:YAHOO.widget.ContainerEffect.FADE,duration:0.15},

  fixedcenter:true,
  modal:true,
  visible:false,

  close: true,
  constraintoviewport: true,
  buttons: [ { text:"close", handler: function(){this.hide();}, isDefault:true }],

  draggable:false,
                effect: [
                      { effect:YAHOO.widget.ContainerEffect.FADE,duration:0.1 }]

});
 
AlertDialog.setHeader("Alert");      
AlertDialog.render(document.body);

window.alert = function(text) {
  AlertDialog.cfg.setProperty("text",text);

  AlertDialog.show();
};

You can read the full post here.

While this post was written for the Yahoo! User Interface library, it should be fairly easy to port it to a different framework as the concept is the same. So, now we have no excuse to use the standard alert.

YUI 2.7.0 Released

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The Yahoo! User Interface team has released version 2.7.0 of its JavaScript framework library. The new release brings official support for IE 8 and graduates some components out of "beta" (Element, ProfilerViewer, and Selector).

What's new?

  • The YUI StyleSheet Utility. Allows you to create and modify CSS stylesheets on the fly. It addresses the need to apply style or style changes to multiple elements in a more efficient way--using dynamic CSS--than traversing the DOM and applying changes directly, which generally incurs the cost of a page reflow for each change.
  • The Charts Utility gains several new additions, including rotated axis labels/titles and new series styles that allow greater control over look of the chart lines, borders, and fills.
  • Many enhancements and fixes to the TreeView Control. Improvements include multiple selection node highlighting (including propagation up/down) and better focus/event handling.
  • The addition of new methods to the DOM Collection, including getComputedStyle(), getElementBy(), setAttribute(), and getAttribute().

All together, there were over 180 bug fixes and enhancements in the release. You can download YUI or use the YUI Configurator to select a custom component mix.

Learning the Yahoo! User Interface Library - Book

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I've been looking at a book from PACKT Publishing about Learning the Yahoo! User Interface Library. The book is one of the few good books available on the YUI. If you are like me you enjoy reading blogs for quicker reads, but for in-depth reads you find a traditional book better.

The book takes you from installing the YUI and and Code Placement through Ajax calls and Drag and Drop events. Learning the Yahoo! User Interface also takes you through debugging the YUI way and using content containers and tabs (just to name a few more topics).

Each chapter goes over a small example project about the topic of the chapter. For example Chapter 7 talks about navigation and AutoComplete with code for navigation options and a nice AutoComplete example. The book is well written and has an easy to follow format.

You can read the full table of contents here.

One thing that is really nice about books written by PACKT Publishing on an open source project is that they pay a royalty to the open source project. So, you not only get to learn about the open source project, but you also support it with the purchase of the book.

This book is a must for anybody that is interested in implementing a project with the YUI JavaScript library. I would recommend it for those of you that are new to YUI and even to those who have used it for a while.

You can purchase the book here (available in traditional and e-book formats).

If you want to see a fun application written with YUI check out World of Solitaire (watch out, you can spend quite a bit of time playing it!)

YUI 3.0 Preview Release 1

The Yahoo! User Interface development team has released the first preview version of YUI 3.0. According to the team blog, there are 5 goals for the new release: lighter code (in kb), faster code (fewer HTTP requests, more compact code), greater API consistency, more powerful API capability, and more securable code.

What's New?

  • Sandboxing: each YUI instance can now be separated from other instances via YUI.use()
  • Modularity: YUI 3.0 is architected to use smaller, more re-usable modules.
  • Self-completing: With the seed file in place, you can tell YUI what modules you want to use, and it will download them in a single HTTP request.
  • Selectors: Elements can be targeted via CSS selector idioms (much like jQuery)
  • Enhanced Custom Events: Custom Events in YUI 3.0 have been enhanced with support for bubbling, stopping propagation, assigning/preventing default behaviors, among other things.
  • Nodes and NodeLists: You can now reference elements via Node and NodeList facades, allowing a more fluid API.
  • Chaining: YUI is adopting a fluent interface style, using method chaining to achieve greater expressiveness (and compactness)

For those who don't like the jQuery-style fluent interfaces in YUI 3.0, a more explicit/verbose API is still available. YUI 3.0 will not be completely backward compatible with YUI 2.0, but there will be a limited compatibility layer.

You can download the preview release here. A final release is not anticipated until next year.

Yahoo Lets You Be BOSS

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In an attempt to beef up its ad-search business by opening up its search technology, Yahoo has launched a new program called BOSS (Build your Own Search Service). The move is part of the new "Yahoo Open Strategy", a strategy that aims to attract more users and developers to Yahoo's technology and services by opening them up. It's not a totally free lunch, of course, as traffic over a certain "query threshold" will require some type of agreement with Yahoo, either hosted ads, revenue, or some type of exclusivity agreement.

With this first release of BOSS developers can fetch search content for Web, News, Image, and Spelling Suggestions. The API itself is a RESTful web service, with the option to receive data back from the service in JSON or XML formats. Full documentation on the search API is here.

Yahoo! Design Stencil Kit

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If you are working on a project you probably want to have a quick mock-up so the business can easily understand how a web application will look. Well, Yahoo! has just made it easier to do so with their new Design Stencil Kit.

Stencils kits are available for OmniGraffle, Visio (XML), Adobe Illustrator (PDF and SVG), and Adobe Photoshop (PNG) and cover the following topics:

  • Ad Units
  • Calendars
  • Carousels
  • Charts and Tables
  • UI Controls
  • Form Elements
  • Grids
  • Menus and Buttons
  • Mobile - General
  • Mobile - iPhone
  • Navigation and Pagination
  • OS Elements
  • Placeholder Text
  • Screen Resolutions
  • Tabs
  • Windows and Containers

To use a design stencil, download the stencil kit compatible with your design application, launch your design application, and start adding stencil objects to your projects. Adobe Illustrator, OmniGraffle, and Visio users can ungroup stencil objects to customize and manipulate size, layout, and aesthetics.

You can read more about the stencil kit here.

You can go directly to the stencil kits here.

So, get the Design Stencil Kit and show the business what you are working on. Or even better, get your favorite Business Analyst to do it for you.

YUI based Color Picker Widget

Dynamic Drive has posted a new color picker widget built with the YUI JavaScript toolkit. This widget can be integrated in a form field to provide an inline or floating color picker. A control can also be assigned the color picker, activated with a click, with an option to set the control's background color based on the value chosen in the color picker widget. Since each color picker is defined as an empty DIV on the page, you can surround it with content and style it as you like. This new implementation also supports multiple instances of the color picker on the same page. So, two form elements can have two separate color pickers, as opposed to having one picker shared by all elements.

Visit Dynamic Drive for the script, demos, and installation instructions.

YSlow 0.9.5b1 Released

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Announced today at the Yahoo! Developer Network, YSlow 0.9.5 beta 1 has been released to address issues with Firefox and Firebug Compatibility.

In this release, you'll find:

  • Firefox 3 beta 5 support
  • Support for the latest versions of the different Firebug branches
  • Pie chart representation of the components in the Stats tab
  • Improved display in the expanded CSS expressions rule report in the Performance tab
  • Support for disabled Firebug Net Panel (default behavior in Firebug 1.2)
  • Misc fixes for the reports in the Tools section

You can download the tool here, report bugs here, read the performance rules, and participate in the performance mailing list discussions.

Read the full announcement

If you haven't heard of it before and are wondering what it does, YSlow analyzes web page performance and tells you why performance is slow. It's integrated into Firefox as a plug-in for Firebug. You can learn more about YSlow by reading the user guide.

Learning the Yahoo! User Interface Library

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If you are a developer using the Yahoo! User Interfaces then you are always looking for good resources for learning more about coding with the library. You've probably already gone through a lot of the information on the Yahoo! Developer pages and perhaps you would like a good book about the library. Well, I have come across a book called Learning the Yahoo! User Interface Library.

Below is what you will learn from the book

  • Explore the YUI Library—utilities, controls, core files, and CSS tools
  • Install the library and get up and running with it
  • Handle DOM manipulation and scripting
  • Get inside Event Handling with YUI
  • Create consistent web pages using YUI CSS tools
  • Work with Containers—implementation, skinning, adding transitions, and tabs
  • Debug, maintain, and update applications with the Logger control
  • Examples included in the book:
  •     Calendar interface
  •     Autocomplete
  •     Creating panels
  •     Dialogs
  •     Custom tooltips
  •     Forms
  •     Split button
  •     TreeView Control
  •     Browser History Manager with Calendar
  •     Simple animation
  •     Custom animation
  •     Creating tabs and adding content dynamically
  •     Dragging and dropping
  •     Implementing sliders
  •     Logger at work
  •     Logging custom classes

The book retails for $44.99 and below is the information that you would need to pick it up at your local book store.

Language: English
Paperback: 380 pages [191mm x 235mm]
Release date: March 2008
ISBN: 1847192327
ISBN: 13 978-1-847192-32-5
Author(s): Dan Wellman
Topics and Technologies: Open Source, AJAX

You can read more about the book and purchase it here.

It is good to see more resources for great libraries like the YUI. If you have a chance to read the book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it (you can leave a comment or blog about it on this blog using your free Ajaxonomy account).

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