Aza Raskin Talks About the Future of Browsing

Aza Raskin, head of User Experience (UX) of Mozilla Labs, gave this talk during the Future of Web Apps London event earlier this month. He shared what the next three years could be like in the browser space. From more user-centric features to payments using the browser, what could be is very intriguing:

You-Centric: The Future of Browsing from Carsonified on Vimeo.

Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium Promo

The folks at Advance Insight Innove Inc. are running a promo for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium.

The mechanics are fairly simple: Buy an OEM Mac version of Adobe CS4 Design premium and you get either a 13″ MacBook, a 20″ iMac or a combo of a Mac Mini and a32″ Samsung LCD television. The price the software is PhP 101,400.00  (or approximately US$ 2147.00). This price is exclusive of VAT.

I think his is a good deal as the Adobe CS4 Design  Premium currently sells for US$ 2315 at the Adobe store.

For more information, you can contact Ms. Fria Alivio at advance.insight (at) gmail.com.

Drive Through Adobe Creative Suite 4

Adobe will be having “drive through” sessions of its Creative Suite 4 here in the Philippines. The two sessions, scheduled on August 26 and September 3, 2009 in Makati City, will focus on two tracks: Print and Web.

The folks from the Philippine Center for Creative Imaging (PCCI) will lead the sessions. The Print track will take up the morning sessions from 9am-12nn and the Web track is tabbed at 2-5pm.

These sessions is intended to give a glimpse to existing users of older versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite. For those interested in the Web track, here are some of the topics covered, particularly in Dreamweaver CS4:

  • Quickly find and open related files using new Related Files feature
  • Searching nested styles easily using new Code Navigator feature
  • Easily synchronise images with new Photoshop Smart Objects command

If you’re interested in attending the Drive Through Adobe Creative Suite 4 event, you can register at the event website.

4th Mini Web Design Conference: A Look Back

And the Philippine Web Designers Organization keeps chugging along: The 4th Mini Web Design Conference happened last Wednesday, March 18 2009 at the G2VC Bar at the Orient Square Building in Ortigas, Pasig City.

The event had a pleasant surprise as the folks from G2VC and Elymar Apao treated the event’s participants to dinner and the hearty meal sure made everyone happy (and that includes me). After dinner, the program for the evening commenced and the lovely emcee Sarah kicked-off the talks. Here’s a list of the night’s speakers & topics:

My blunder for the evening: I raffled off a web design/development book,  but I left it in the office! (My bad!) But we raffled it off anyway, with me handing the book personally to the winner.

Many thanks to Ia and Mae for tirelessly facilitating the Mini Web Design Conference. The next one will be on June 2009. :)

Check this out: more photos of the event: Azrael’s Multiply site.

Sun Microsystems & Microsoft Pair-up for Survival

In the news, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft recently agreed on a distribution deal to include Microsoft’s Live Search Box in the download of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

How desperate times can make bed fellows out of former foes…

In 2004, Sun and Microsoft were embroiled in a legal battle where Microsoft ended up settling with Sun for a cool $2 billion. Fast forward to 2008, Microsoft is a weak third force in the search engine wars against Google and Yahoo! and Sun just bled another $1.7 billion in the previous quarter.

So in essence, the deal makes sense because Microsoft wants the traffic and Sun needs the cash. However, I find this deal a bit annoying because I can’t imagine a Microsoft prompt in a Java installer. Why? It’s a bit irrational, but I worked with a Sun project before and I saw how the battle with MS was very tight. And now they’re friends all of a sudden? Sheesh.

Anyways, the deal also is a copy-cat move from Mictosoft to catch Google. If you remember, Google and Sun partnered in a similar deal a while back, but the deal is now defunct.

Let’s see if this odd couple can score a win.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 and Web Standards

Adobe CS4
Adobe Creative Suite 4

The fourth installment to the Adobe Creative Suite series was launched yesterday with updates to the web and graphic designers favorite software tools. The list of new versions go a long way: Photoshop (with two versions), Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, After Effects, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere and Soundbooth. With a tagline “Shortcut to Brilliant,” Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) aims to build on the addition of former Macromedia products in the previous version.

I looked at the features list of Adobe Dreamweaver CS4, the app that focuses on the building of websites and web pages, and there’s a feature that caught my attention:

CSS Best Practices
Implement CSS best practices without writing code. The new CSS tab in the Properties panel shows the styles for the current selection as well as all the applicable CSS rules. Hover over any property to view a tool tip with no-jargon English explanations of CSS principles. New CSS rules can be created and applied in the Properties panel and stored in the same document or an external style sheet. Dreamweaver CS4 even gives you control over the specificity of your rule: Just click Less Specific or More Specific in the updated New CSS Rule dialog box to target your style precisely.

I haven’t tested the actual software myself, but this looks promising, especially for the budding web designers who need to layout easily and get familiar with Cascading Style Sheets. However, I do hope that it won’t spoil the designers into taking CSS for granted, ie, not caring enough to work with CSS without Dreamweaver or similar tools. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’m not too high on the prospects that CSS becomes a mere “feature.”

Let’s see when CS4 ships and how this new feature pans out.

Working with Drupal

I’m doing my MBA internship here in Infosys in Bangalore, India and my 2-month project here involved architecting and building a throw-away prototype of a system to be developed in the future. I was tempted to develop it from scratch using some PHP framework (like CakePHP or CodeIgniter) but I decided to create it with Drupal, after sifting through several resources and reviews. I took some time to evaluate if Drupal could create what I wanted to achieve based on requirements documents and while I wasn’t yet 100% sure of the fit, I went ahead with Drupal in the interest of saving time. (Yes, I have a tight deadline).

So far, I’ve been living off modules developed by the Drupal community for version 6 and I would say that 60% fo the functionality I need is already out there, with minimal customization. My strategy so far has been “DBA”– Don’t Build Anything— meaning I’m trying to avoid writing code and always look for some module that approximates what I need. This is the really the first time I appreciated the open source community effort for its effect on my actual work. (I’m not counting the WordPress community becuase I’ve used it primarily for personal purposes.) I also saw this class site from the Univesity of Michigan on Drupal that is extremely helpful– with slides and screencasts to boot!

I’m also at that point that I’ve exhausted the available modules out there and I may start to hack and write code for a Drupal module. My issues really stem from altering the workflow of the base package by adding layers and layers of moderation and review. (I absolutely welcome any suggestion in going about writing a workflow module.) My only nitpick about Drupal is its rather unique user interface– too unique that it takes a lot of getting used to and for some reason, my installation in my test server is terribly sluggish.

I personally am optimistic that I’ll achieve 100% of the funtionality that I need and if there’s anyone out there who can give nice resources for Drupal, I’d be very thankful. :)