Geeknotes 20081231: The good-riddance-to-2008 edition

(Note: this entry was originally written for the Skyscanner Geeks blog.)

HTML, CSS, JavaScript

  • YQL (Yahoo! Query Language) allows you to easily grab XML or JSON data from Yahoo’s services (Search, Flickr, weather, social, Upcoming, et al.) using a SQL-like query language. Christian Heilmann explains. (Being a massive Yahoo! fanboy, I can’t help but jump up and down excitedly.)
  • Dustin Diaz on using a super-simple skinny doctype. One benefit of using this is that you save bytes. Personalyl, I can never remember the proper syntax and URL for the HTML doctypes, so this is going to save me the hassle of looking it up every time I make a new page. (Templates? Phooey.)
  • Cameron Adams built a drum machine in JavaScript: the JS-909. (Via Dan Cedarholm)
  • Chris Anderson of Sitepoint takes a look at CSS3, and how we can use it to create box shadow and rounded corner effects. (Remember that cross-browser compatible does not have to mean cross-browser identical.
  • The YUI Doc tool is an alternative to JSDoc for generating documentation of JavaScript code.
  • A suite of feature detection tests to use as an alternative to browser sniffing. (Via Ajaxian).
  • A new “Lorem Ipsum” generator: gives you chunks of lipsumized HTML, instead of just lipsum text. (Via Andy Clarke)
  • Steve Souders looks at the state of web performance in 2008 See.also Douglas Crockford’s talk on Ajax Performance.

Scaling, clouds


Software development

  • They Write the Right Stuff” by Charles Fishman in FastCompany. An article on the software developers who write the code for the Space Shuttle: “The group’s most important creation is not the perfect software they write — it’s the process they invented that writes the perfect software. It’s the process that allows them to live normal lives, to set deadlines they actually meet, to stay on budget, to deliver software that does exactly what it promises. It’s the process that defines what these coders in the flat plains of southeast suburban Houston know that everyone else in the software world is still groping for. It’s the process that offers a template for any creative enterprise that’s looking for a method to produce consistent – and consistently improving — quality.”
  • Daphne Dembo, Engineering Director at Google, describes some of their challenges in developing a fully international search engine.

All the rest