The hard-working developers at Mozilla.org released Mozilla 1.2 yesterday. This is the first stable release to include Type Ahead Find. For some time Internet Explorer's Macintosh users have been able to focus on text links by keying in their first few characters, an important accessibility feature that allows links to be activated from the keyboard without having to tab through the entire document.
In addition to focusing on text links, Mozilla's Type Ahead Find extends this concept to allow any page text to be found this way, and promises to render Ctrl-F (or Command-F) obsolete in very short order once you've started using it.
This version also introduces Link Prefetching. Using the
link element, page authors are able to tell Mozilla which page or pages its user will likely be interested in next, and Mozilla will start preloading the material into its cache during idle time on that page.
The W3C has promoted both SVG 1.1 and the SVG Mobile Profiles Tiny & Basic to Proposed Recommendation status, and has also published the first Working Draft of SVG 1.2. In addition, a great set of tables has been published showing how 15 different SVG implementations fared when run through an extensive test suite. Be sure you send in any comments you have on SVG 1.1 or the Mobile Profiles before the December 20th deadline.
The good people at Opera Software have been re-engineering the Opera web browser to play faster, look more fashionable, and to groove with DOM standards more effectively. They've been refining their licks for a while now, and this week are getting on stage to provide us with a sneak preview show.
Opera 7 Beta 1 for Windows (only Windows right now, alas) can be dowloaded right from the Opera home page this week. Don't expect everything to work perfectly, it's a beta version. Consider this just the warm up session.
WaSP commends Opera Software for its ongoing commitment to web standards and you can bet we'll be camping in line waiting to beg, buy, or scalp copies the day the full version's released.
The AltaVista search engine relaunched today with a new design, but the spare interface doesn’t use valid markup. No DOCTYPE, even. Sad. As Eric Meyer did with KPMG and Dylan Foley did with MSN, Trip Kirkpatrick has taken it upon himself to fix AltaVista’s markup, showing how easy it would be if AltaVista’s designers cared to do it. Note that the site is still ugly. Don’t blame Trip for that.
Today, Macromedia announced Macromedia Contribute, a new application that promises to make life easier for both standards-aware designers/developers and the clients who love them. Based on the Dreamweaver MX code engine, Contribute creates beautifully standards-compliant pages for people who both know nothing about markup and have no desire to learn anything about markup. Designers can create standards-compliant Dreamweaver templates, and Contribute users can then add and modify content using those templates, without the possibility of messing up either the markup or the design.
This product will allow designers to get back to the job of designing sites (rather than maintaining pages) and clients to maintain sites (rather than trying to track down the designer to get a phone number changed). Everyone gets to do their job without having to worry about breaking the site. Windows-only now, Mac OS X version sometime next year (our guess is Q2 '03).
Congratulations and welcome, Contribute!
In Issue 154 of A List Apart, for people who make websites: “Flash Satay” by WaSP’s own Drew McLellan. “This site uses Flash. This site validates as XHTML. They said it couldn’t be done. Now it can be. Have your Flash and standards, too.”
IN A WORLD...where legacy content and gargantuan management systems routinely churn out inaccessible, invalid HTML...the liveSTORYBOARD CMS is a taking a giant step in the right direction. Like many tools, liveSTORYBOARD offers WYSIWYG editing from the browser, but saves the input in an XML format, using an XSLT engine to transform the content into valid XHTML/CSS output right out of the box. Tweakable templates allow designers to get dirty with CSS and XSL to provide customized layouts without ever touching the content. It's nice to see a CMS designed with the same attention given to the quality of the markup (you know, what visitors actually use) as to what lies under the hood.
The folks at the Asilomar Institute for Information Architecture understand the benefits of structured markup and logical separation of content from style - they've launched the AIFIA site with an attractive XHTML/CSS layout that degrades nicely in older and text-only browsers, and even throws Netscape 4 a little love. (Hat tip: Victor Lombardi)
In his new article, Box of Tricks, Joe Gillespie shows how to create multiple link styles, fashion buttons using borders, and create CSS rollovers. A great article, especially because it demonstrates to visual designers the emerging power of CSS over table-based, graphic-heavy designs.