Try Ruby Programming

Apart from the occasional JavaScript tinkering I have basically not touched programing since the ancient days of Lingo and Hypertalk. I have wanted to play around a little with Ruby on Rails but have been put off by not knowing Ruby, but I have a strong feeling this little online Ruby tutorial might change my mind. This is web based training at its best, a really simple integration of a terminal in a web page with interactive instructions, smart, clean and effective!

Multi gesture user interface


At first I was a little skeptical about this multi touch interface demo but when they start to pan rotate and zoom maps with one two handed move I was sold. Make sure you watch the video the impressive stuff starts around half way in. And the fact that Apple has a patent on some related technology makes me all giddy that we may see some practical application of this in the not impossibly distant future.

Yahoo Design Pattern Library

David forwarded me a link that Yahoo has launched a design pattern library. It is still a sparse compared to Welie’s pattern library but has some nice dynamic dynamic patterns like auto fill in and dynamic rating. One thing that is extra nice is that yahoo have licensed it under the creative commons license.

Making better multilingual forums and communities

Multilingual comunities

More and more people are multilingual but multilingual sites rarely or never take this into account and instead offer you a binary choice of language. One of the rare exceptions is Google that will allow you to pick multiple accepted languages to your queries. Some sites that could really exploit multilingual users are forums and community sites. Lets say that when you join a forum you can pick multiple languages instead of one. This means that you will see what is going on in multiple parts of the site, but not only that, the people that have multiple languages can act as bridges between the linguistic communities essentially fuzzing out the fixed languages borders.

Update: Talking with JP the other evening we came upon a great example where this would make huge sense. In Belgium there is a hugely popular dating site called Rendez-vous that has three language section, French, Dutch and English but the English section has completely failed to reach critical mass. If they had a system where you could belong to multiple language sections I'm sure the english section would also reach critical mass in no time.

No Functional Spec

Jason Freid of 37Signals explains why we should not write functional specifications and instead concentrate on building the interface.

Don't write a functional specifications document. Why? Well, there's nothing functional about a functional specifications document.

Functional specifications documents lead to an illusion of agreement. A bunch of people agreeing on paragraphs of text is not real agreement. Everyone is reading the same thing, but they're often thinking something different. This inevitably comes out in the future when it's too late.

This rings so true! The only way we can be sure we are talking about the same thing is if all the players are looking at the user experience though interface mock-ups.

Fold n' Drop

Christian pointed me to this uber cool folding window interface metaphor, so simple one can't help to wonder why nobody implemented it yet. In a way it does similar stuff to Apple's expose but whereas expose is good when you don't know where your target window is located this folding window interface is ideally suited to when the target screen is right under your current one.

AJAX Dangers

AJAX is the hot new web framework that makes web application act more dynamic and responsive. Essentially what it does is allow a web page to update portions of itself by communicating and parsing little xml snippets back and forth with a webserver. Gmail is a good example of an AJAX application.

Although a lot of web application would benefit, there is also potential to make some serious mistakes using AJAX