Today Microsoft unveiled the successor to Windows Mobile 6.5. It's called Windows Mobile 7 Series and is a complete redesign of their mobile platform. It's very exciting stuff and I'll be very interested the to find how capable it's default web browser Internet Explorer will be. Will be it a pocket version of IE8? I hope so because their current mobile IE sucks!

2 comments |

If you've been reading the newspaper technology lift outs and tech blogs recently, you would have noticed that the web-o-sphere is all a flutter about Adobe Flash and its future.

So why is everyone talking about Flash?
Because only about two weeks ago Apple announced a brand new product called the iPad. The iPad is a 10 inch tablet PC that runs the iPhone operating system.
"What does this have to do with Flash?" I hear you ask. Well the iPhone (and now the iPad) has been famous for not supporting Flash because according to Apple, Flash is the single largest cause of crashes on the Mac and consumes way too much CPU . In fact, there seems to be a bit of a feud between Apple and Adobe on this issue.

For a long time we've all operated with the assumption that everyone has flash. It's become a defacto standard. According to Adobe, Flash has a 99% install base. The only problem with this statistic is that they only count Flash capable browsers – so the 40 million iPhones out in the world have no bearing on this as they don't support Flash.

So what does this mean? In short, we can no longer rely on people having flash installed.

Wait a minute. So what if people with iPhones can't use Flash? There are plenty of mobile devices that do support it. After all, iPhones only have 15% of the smartphone market. Why should we change the way we deliver content because of just one device? Namely because the iPhone is responsible for 50 times more search requests on Google than any other mobile handset Google; AT&T shocked by iPhone usage). So while there are plenty of smartphones capable of browsing the web, it looks like no one is really using them to do just that.

Having said all this Peter-Paul Koch of Quirksmode argues that we shouldn't focus on the iPhone when developing mobile content and I completely agree. The web is for everyone, not just those using a particular browser. Remember the days when web developers would code for Internet Explorer because "that’s what everyone used"? We don't want to repeat this. The iPhones’ only saving grace is that it uses WebKit as its rendering engine which – as any web developer should know – is one of the most standards-compliant web page rendering engines out there. A lot of the other browsers (eg Internet Explorer) are still playing catch up when it comes to matching WebKit on standards compliance.

But what does this have to do with Flash? Well we've known for a long time that Flash is not a great platform for delivering accessible content. It has a whole raft of deficiencies that make it terrible for disabled people and search engines. If the web is for everyone then Flash isn't really the medium by which to deliver content. The fact that there are 40 million mobile devices that don't support Flash only reinforces this sentiment.

1 comments |

This post is really just for Sydney Uni webmasters. If you're not one then feel free to tune out now.

You may have noticed that the University recently launched its new brand. One of the most prominent aspects of the brand's launch was the transition of the University's website into the new template.

An important feature of the new template is the addition of a new style of "banner". We call them "featured links" (see Figure 2).

Diagram explaining the different banner styles

Featured links are designed to replace Banners (see Figure 1) and have several advantages over the old style banners:

  • They conform to our new brand
  • They don't use a custom font
  • They don't use gradients
  • Allow more than 2 lines of text
  • Less reliance on using photoshop to create them
  • You can build them yourself! Don't need to ask DPM to make them for you.

Creating a featured link is very simple. All you have to do is make a link with a specific "class" and give it an appropriate "id". Check out the code below.

<a href="http://sydney.edu.au" class="featured-link" id="my_unique_id">My featured link</a>

Then in your featured-links.css CSS file found in your sites "styles" folder simply add a CSS reference for your new featured link. e.g.

a#my_unique_id.featured-link { background-image: url(../../images/content/featured_links/my_unique_id.gif); }

The image you link to in the CSS needs to be 40x40 pixels in size.

Now all you have to do is add the HTML anchor link to a text field in an unbordered feature pane in the CMS. Simple isn't it? Ok, maybe the process could be easier. We're working on it so watch this space.

You might be thinking "Oh what! I have to replace all my banners with featured links?". The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes because style of banners doesn't conform to the University's new brand. But don't worry too much - we don't expect you have all the banner replaced overnight. These things take time, so what we have done is used CSS to make banners render in a similar way to featured links (see Figure 3). They don't look 100% like featured links but they are close and a good temporary fix.

1 comments |

I've made a New Years resolution and that is to give this blog some TLC. For one reason or another we haven't blogged anything in ages. :( In 2010 it's all going to change.

I hope to blog at least once a week. The web is always changing and the University is always doing cool new things so it shouldn't be hard.

0 comments |

Mozilla released Firefox 3.5 today. 3.5 delivers greater web standards compliance with support for HTML5 and CSS3. It's also much faster that Firefox 3. I would recommend all Firefox users download a copy.

Meanwhile a few weeks ago Apple released a new version of it's web browser, Safari 4. Recent benchmarking tests have shown that Safari is the fastest and most standards compliant browser out of all the big browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Google Chrome). And yes even faster and more standards compliant that the just released Firefox 3.5.

Anyway both Firefox 3.5 and Safari 4 are available in Windows and Mac versions.

By the way if your using Internet Explorer (any version) I would recommend switching to either Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 or Google Chrome. All of these browsers are vastly superior to Internet Explorer.

1 comments |

There is a growing movement on the Internet to discontinue support for Internet Explorer 6. Here are some sites all about stopping support for IE6:

2 comments |

Microsoft has officially released Internet explorer 8! I recommend this for anyone who uses Internet Explorer 6 or 7.

Microsoft has spent a fair bit of time working on improving standards compliance and now finally IE passes the Acid2 web standards test in Ie8 standards mode.

On a related note... Please, if your still using IE 6, please upgrade. Your using a 8 year old browser which doesn't support modern web standards and is now 2 versions old. :(

1 comments |

Link building rap video transcript

Once again thanks to Nick Evans for finding this video.

3 comments |

SEO Design Video transcript

Thanks to Nick Evans for finding this video.

1 comments |

A quick shout out to the School of IT who are really getting into some new media technologies and have made a great video page to promote their school.

1 comments |

About the Blog

Know and love the templatedata
More