Rollyo – the build it yourself search engine

I’ve been working on a new site for Bayside Networks, a really great IT consultation company in San Diego. The re-design uses WordPress 2.0 and the K2 theme as a backbone; a great way to build a web site.

I’ve been writing posts for this web site’s blog and wanted to point out the latest about Rollyo, a Yahoo! search-based site that allows you to gather your favorite links and build a search engine around them. I used it to build the Standardista search plugin for Firefox. This is a great way to find the information you need. Check out the post on BaysideNetworks.com for more information on how to use it.

Structure equals accessibility

I will be speaking at the Front End Engineering summit tomorrow with Nate K at Yahoo!. First off, it’s still amazing to me that I just wrote that sentence. If someone told me a year ago that I would not only be working at Yahoo, but also speaking in front of other engineers, I’d.. I’d… I don’t know what I would have thought.

We will be discussing how accessibility is tied to semantic markup in standards-based web design. It’s an obvious connection for me. Accessibility is about offering information to everyone. Semantic markup displays information in the best possible way. One doesn’t support the other, they are the same.

I will be showing some examples of UFO flash detection, using table headers, what’s involved in building an accessible form, and how to use CSS to offer great content and visual design at the same time.

This post is just a tease. I’ll write some posts about the concepts I’ve covered but can’t show the examples until we launch. It’ll be worth the wait… I promise.

Z-index conflict with Flash and DHTML widgets

I’m working on a project that has a Flash movie and a DHTML dropdown menu on the same page. Flash movies like to sit on top of the page and the dropdown would slide behind the movie. Since this isn’t what I wanted, I needed to find a way to make the it have a lower z-index than the dropdown.

I did a Standardista Search for a cure and didn’t see it. But a quick message to the Web Standards Group returned the solution. It’s actually pretty easy.

UFO Flash detection and insertion script

I’m using the UFO JavaScript to detect the browser’s compatibility with the Flash movie and insert it on the fly. This method provides good default content to those without Flash and valid, shiny, happy Flash to those with it.

UFO gives you the ability to insert parameters into the movie and this is what you need to cure the z-index issue. You need to set the wmode parameter to “transparent.”

var FO = { movie:"swf/myMovie.swf", width:"300", height:"120", majorversion:"6", build:"40", wmode:"transparent" }

That’s all there is to it.

Standards-based jobs available! Do you know CSS, XHTML, and how to use the <dl>?

Ok everyone. If you are ready to enter the high-falootin’ lifestyle of the standards-based web developer, let me know. I know a few places in California looking for qualified programmers.

Filling the Vacuum

Other standardistas have been talking about the new web professionals, those who know how to create valid, accessible web sites. And those who are no longer true pros (who still use tables and invalid markup). What they are not discussing is the vacuum being left behind by the early-adopters. Let’s take me for example, as I always do enjoy the subject.

The Ted Factor

I have created a number of site conversions over the past 2 years. I’ve also moved up and up from job to job. I’d finish a conversion, move to the next, finish that, move to the next, etc… But who ends up maintaining these sites? That is the problem some companies are facing today. You hire someone that builds a standards-based web site and then gets tapped on the shoulder by a bigger company. Now the smaller company needs to hire someone that can work with this new creature.

I got an email today from a former employer. They need someone in San Diego who is ready to work. Sundance Kid and I made huge changes to their sites and now they need someone that knows how to continue the work without us. Another former employer has been searching for a web developer for over a year. What do they do? Hire a table hacker that will revert the pages back to tag soup?

Witness the Disney store makeover in Europe. They went from an accessible, standards-based design to a crappy mess. Why? Possibly it was due to lack of understanding. Perhaps they had nobody that could extend it and they felt more comfortable with the old cut-up images.

Education, Education, Education, Education…

As standards-based web developers, we need to educate others. Take someone under your wing and show them how to use CSS, DOM, or what it means to validate. Don’t hold it in. Be kind to your fellow workers and employers. If they are not recognizing your abilities, look around. Jobs are out there!

So, this post has rambled enough. If you are a standards-based developer. Leave a comment, I’ll respond with information on who to contact. Heck, leave a small resume and perhaps someone else will see this and contact you as well. The jobs I know of are in Southern California, but I do have certain connections to a very large company in Silicon Valley that is looking for quality developers.