Open Web Podcast #1

Decided to start something new with Dion Almaer (of fame) and Alex Russell (Dojo frame) – a podcast! We talk about the “Open Web” (the topics break down in to standards, development, JavaScript, tools – all sorts of things). We’re working to get it up on iTunes (I’ll be sure to update when it that’s the case) but in the meantime you can subscribe to the RSS feed.

Dion has written up a nice overview of the first episode, which I’ve included below:

Welcome to the inaugural episode of a new podcast to cover news, happenings, and our opinions on the Open Web (download the Open Web Podcast episode one directly or subscribe to it). When I say “our” I am talking about the founding podcasters: Alex Russell, John Resig, and myself. It is a pleasure to be able to share air time with two of the real leaders of the Open Web, and specifically the Ajax space thanks to Dojo and jQuery.

What is the state of the Open Web?

That is how we started out the podcast, and we got to see very different opinions. John discusses the decentralization and new openness that we see across the Web. Alex was a little more wary, and talks about how he wants the Open Web to progress faster. He noted that a lot of the good work has been a little away from the client, and instead in the area of identity, transport, and formats.

We then move on to HTML 5, where we discuss items in Mark Pilgrim’s This Week in HTML 5 piece including Web Workers (think: Gears Workers), and the clarification of alt tag usage in the img tag to have you using alt="{diagram}" and the like.

We have a detailed chat about Web Workers, and where we see them being useful. John talks about issues around not being able to talk to the DOM, Alex talks about mashups, and I talk about some tests showing how they can help performance in a few areas. Matthew Russell did a demo using the Dojo 2d code at OSCON, and showed how he doubled the performance by pushing out computation into a Worker. John also talked about a special case for passing DOM fragments or the like to a Worker with special serialization. Of course, security is a concern for all of this.

John brought up the new data- embedding tactic that showed up in the HTML 5 spec. A conversation ensued around how you should separate your data from presentation. Is the DOM there to store data? Isn’t it a good place to keep it? Is “data-” just too long?

It is exciting to think that the W3C Selectors API will soon be implemented in Firefox 3.1, Safari 3, IE 8, and probably Opera 10. That seemed to happen pretty quickly. John and Alex talk about how this is going to mean a lot of chopping code from their frameworks, the increase in performance, and the subtle differences between the spec and how they were doing things.

The discussion leads to a new feature, named scoped CSS, that allows you to say “this CSS only works over here.” This could be huge, especially if you have an application such as a CMS, where people upload their own content that can mess with your application structure itself.

Next, we delve into the world of Firebug. John talks about how Firebug development is being bootstrapped by Mozilla and other contributors, and he discusses the upcoming versions and what you can expect. Stability and performance are top of the list. Don’t forget the Firebug Lite improvements too, which mean that you get more than just console to play with in non-Firefox browsers. I just posted the notes on that meeting, kindly taken by Steve Souders.

We talked about the Open Web Foundation, and Alex discussed what he would like to see come of it. He is optimistic, and thinks that the real test will be if we see the incubation of projects that really push the Web on the client side, as well as the identity side.

Finally, there is news in the Dojo community and Alex spills the beans. After over 4 years of service, Alex is stepping down as the project lead of Dojo, and handing over the reins to Peter Higgins who has shown great chops as both a commiter and an external leader. We wish Pete the best of luck! Alex isn’t sneaking off into the sunset though, as he talks about in his post on the subject, he will see be an active member of the Dojo community for a long time to come.

Finally, thanks again to John and Alex for taking the time to start this up with me. Please let us know what you think, and what you would like us to talk about.

Posted: August 9th, 2008

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