Browsers, Web

New version of Amaya released

The W3C released a new version, 8.1, of Amaya yesterday. Although many industry professionals see Amaya as a write-off and few users use it, I think it is important the W3C tries to continue to try and show browser manufacturers what it and should be possible in all browsers. In other news working drafts of SVG 1.2 and SVG Print were made public. Scalable Vector Graphics is an open reccomendation in XML format which hopefully could make multimedia content (presently being done in flash) accessible for a wider range of control and input from UX disciplines.

How does IE affect web standards?

How does the news that Microsoft are withdrawing IE as a free browsers and instead bundling with MSN for Mac and Windows affect web standards? WaSP has an interesting commentary on the subject.

Relation Browsers: a GUI for IAs

Garry Marchioni and Ben Brunk have been working on GUIs for visualizing nodes and relations in web sites - what they call a Relation Browser. They've published a paper on their work about the quest for a General Relation Browser that provides a picture of IA tools of the future.

JoDI's usability of digital information page other interesting papers, but I won't list them all here.

Apple Safari browser

Wow. Apple has developed a web browser for OS X. Safari is available as a public beta at the moment. It has the same feel as the other iTools. Coolest feature for me is spell checking in form fields. Right click on words see correct spelling. Can underline in red words that spelled miscorrectly. Yippee! I just hope they implement tabbed browsing like Mozilla browsers. I hate having to open new windows.

Will post links to reviews as I find them in the news aggregator. Currently being discussed at:

* Dive into Mark
* web graphics
* 7nights

Scientists redesign the 'back' button

A very badly written article in covers this research project at the University of Caterbury, NZ, which is proposing a temporal model for back button browsing. The paper, Pushing Back: Evaluating a New Behaviour for the Back and Forward Buttons in Web Browsers (PDF), which is explained succinctly here on Slashdot.

Back and forth and back again

Nature is running a story on some computer scientists from NZ who have redesigned the back button. The new design records all the pages you visit in the chronological order not just the pages that you click through.

The way I understand it is; if you click through a bunch of pages then use the back button to jump back 5 and carry on, a conventional browser would lose the pages before you used the back button. The new design would keep a record of all the pages in order. This seems to be a smart move but how users would react to it has yet to be seen, I would like to see trials other than the ones conducted by Cockburn et al.

W3C Release new XHTML working draft

The W3C has published a working draft for a new XHTML standard here. Following on from XHTML 1.1 expect it to be a strict standard with no formatting tags at all.

Moving beyond the Web as a single-user system

There are some instances of Web sites that begin to have interaction that extends beyond the client/server model. Tag Board for weblogs is a subtle example of it. However, the Web itself remains a single-user system. Arguably, the Web becomes more valuable as a greater number of people use and contribute to it. We see the same in Web sites. And yet, the very same Web sites lack the ability to have direct discourse with other people who are looking at the same book at an e-commerce site at the same moment.

All the Web Alchemist

This is really cool or maybe it's really scary. All the Web has a new feature called the Alchemist that will let you write your own CSS to layout their pages as long as their accessible from your browser. You just enter a URL for your CSS in a form and All the Web sets a cookie to remember where to access the CSS. You can also point to style sheets others have written and published on their site. There's even a contest for the best CSS -- you win Amazon gift certificates.

I can see All the Web doing this. They're not the most popular choice for a search engine, but they offer one of the nicest experiences in my opinion. Wonder if the idea will catch on anywhere else. I know the IA Wiki does this.

Mac OS X Cocoa gestures

I just started using BitArt Consulting's Cocoa Gestures Beta. Really excellent and highly configurable. The tool allows you to use gestures in any Cocoa-based OS X application. It won't work for Carbon apps like IE or Office X. It does work wonderfully well in the apps I tested it against -- Chimera and Adium. Adding gestures is simple too. You select "Cocoa Gestures..." beneath an application menu (below preferences) and add gestures by selecting menu actions and defining your gesture with your mouse. Nice. Would be even nicer if it worked with Carbon apps, which are the bulk of what I use (Entourage, Word, Photoshop, BBedit).

I wonder how many people are actually aware of and use gestures. I would guess that the number is miniscule.

Phoenix: Pared down mozilla for windows

Phoenix is sweet. Like Chimera, it's a pared down Mozilla with little of the bloat. You can also use gestures (look in the preferences).

Thanks, webgraphics

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