The Gilbane Advisor

Curated content for content, computing, and digital experience professionsals

Category: Web standards (page 1 of 2)

XML namespace

XML namespaces are used for providing uniquely named elements and attributes in an XML document. They are defined in a W3C recommendation. An XML instance may contain element or attribute names from more than one XML vocabulary. If each vocabulary is given a namespace, the ambiguity between identically named elements or attributes can be resolved. A simple example would be to consider an XML instance that contained references to a customer and an ordered product.

XLink

XML Linking Language, or XLink, is an XML markup language and W3C specification that provides methods for creating internal and external links within XML documents, and associating metadata with those links.

XML

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards. The design goals of XML emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. It is a textual data format with strong support via Unicode for the languages of the world.

A bit of background from the Cover Pages:

“The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is descriptively identified in the XML 1.0 W3C Recommendation as “an extremely simple dialect [or ‘subset’] of SGML” the goal of which “is to enable generic SGML to be served, received, and processed on the Web in the way that is now possible with HTML,” for which reason “XML has been designed for ease of implementation, and for interoperability with both SGML and HTML.” Note that the “HTML” referenced in the preceding sentence (bis) means HTML 4.0 and 3.2 which were in common use as of 10-February-1998, when the XML 1.0 specification was published as a W3C Recommendation. The next version of ‘HTML’ is expected to be reformulated as an XML application, so that it will be based upon XML rather than upon SGML. As of December 1998, ‘Voyager’ was the W3C code name for HTML reformulated as an application of XML.”

HTML5 is now a W3C Recommendation

While HTML5 has been in use for a few years, the fact that it wasn’t a full W3C Recommendation (in layman’s terms, an official release of the next version of HTML) provided leeway for browser developer interpretation and understandably hindered more widespread adoption. All standards need to continuously evolve to remain relevant and useful so this is not the end HTML development, but now there is a stable specification that will help normalize browser support and encourage reluctant app developers to invest more fully in HTML5.

From the W3C press release:

“Today we think nothing of watching video and audio natively in the browser, and nothing of running a browser on a phone,” said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director. “We expect to be able to share photos, shop, read the news, and look up information anywhere, on any device. Though they remain invisible to most users, HTML5 and the Open Web Platform are driving these growing user expectations.”

HTML5 brings to the Web video and audio tracks without needing plugins; programmatic access to a resolution-dependent bitmap canvas, which is useful for rendering graphs, game graphics, or other visual images on the fly; native support for scalable vector graphics (SVG) and math (MathML); annotations important for East Asian typography (Ruby); features to enable accessibility of rich applications; and much more.

For more details read the full release.

HTML5 Proposed Recommendation Published – Call for Review

HTML5 Logo 128HTML5 Proposed Recommendation published on schedule.

The HTML Working Group has published a Proposed Recommendation of “HTML5.” This specification defines the 5th major revision of the core language of the World Wide Web: the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). In this version, new features are introduced to help Web application authors, new elements are introduced based on research into prevailing authoring practices, and special attention has been given to defining clear conformance criteria for user agents in an effort to improve interoperability. Comments are welcome through 14 October. Learn more about the HTML Activity.

http://www.w3.org/html/wg/

How long does it take to develop a mobile app?

We have covered and written about the issues enterprises need to consider when planning to develop a mobile app, especially on choosing between native apps, mobile web apps (HTML5, etc.), or a hybrid approach that includes elements of each. And have discussed some of the choices / factors that would have an effect on the time required to bring an app to market, but made no attempt to advise or speculate on how long it should take to “develop a mobile app”. This is not a question with a straightforward answer as any software development manager will tell you.

There are many reasons estimating app development time is difficult, but there are also items outside of actual coding that need to be accounted for. For example, a key factor often not considered in measuring app development is the time involved to train or hire for skills. Since most organizations already have experience with standards such as HTML and CSS developing mobile web apps should be, ceteris paribus, less costly and quicker than developing a native app. This is especially true when the app needs to run on multiple devices with different APIs using different programing languages on multiple mobile (and possibly forked) operating systems. But there are often appealing device features that require native code expertise, and even using a mobile development framework which deals with most of this complexity requires learning something new.

App development schedules can also be at the mercy of app store approvals and not-always-predictable operating system updates.

As unlikely as it is to come up with a meaningful answer to the catchy (and borrowed) title of this post, executives need good estimates of the time and effort in developing specific mobile apps. But experience in developing mobile apps is still slim in many organizations and more non-technical managers are now involved in approving and paying for app development. So even limited information on length of effort can provide useful data points.

I found the survey that informed the Visual.ly infographic below via ReadWrite at How Long Does It Take To Build A Native Mobile App? [InfoGraphic]). It involved 100 iOS, Android and HTML5 app developers and was done by market research service AYTM for Kinvey, provider of a cloud backend platform for app developers.

Their finding? Developing an iOS or Android app takes 18 weeks. I didn’t see the survey questions so don’t know whether whether 18 weeks was an average of actual developments, opinions on what it should take, or something else.

Of course there are simple apps that can be created in a few days and some that will take much longer, but in either case the level of effort is almost always underestimated. Even with all the unanswered questions about resources etc., the infographic raises, the 18 week finding may helpfully temper somebody’s overly optimistic expectations.

 

W3C Web Platform Docs – a new resource for web developers

Web Platform.orgW3C announced Web Platform Docs, which promises to be a valuable new resource for web developers of all levels. Imagine a single site that you can depend on for up-to-date, accurate, and browser and device neutral answers and advice for both simple and complex questions. It is brand new and “alpha” but already useful. Below is info from their announcement and a short video. For those of us that prefer textual info see this blog post from Doug Schepers: http://blog.webplatform.org/2012/10/one-small-step/

W3C, in collaboration with Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera, and others, announced today the alpha release of Web Platform Docs (docs.webplatform.org). This is a new community-driven site that aims to become a comprehensive and authoritative source for web developer documentation. With Web Platform Docs, web professionals will save time and resources by consulting with confidence a single site for current, cross-browser and cross-device coding best practices.

W3C Launches Linked Data Platform Working Group

W3C launched the new Linked Data Platform (LDP) Working Group to promote the use of linked data on the Web. Per its charter, the group will explain how to use a core set of services and technologies to build powerful applications capable of integrating public data, secured enterprise data, and personal data. The platform will be based on proven Web technologies including HTTP for transport, and RDF and other Semantic Web standards for data integration and reuse. The group will produce supporting materials, such as a description of uses cases, a list of requirements, and a test suite and/or validation tools to help ensure interoperability and correct implementation.

A rarity these days – an announcement that used ‘data’ instead of ‘big data’! And the co-chairs are even from IBM and EMC.

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