Forever Beta

April 24, 2006

According to the Sofware Development Life Cycle (SDLC) I've learned in graduate school, the beta stage is the phase where the resources for development would have been greatly reduced and public testing would occur. On the typical Bell Curve, this would fall towards the end of the curve, near the end of the development cycle.

Nowadays, companies, particularly web dot com's, have stretched the bell curve to accomodate a longer Beta phase. In fact, one might think that companies have stretched the beta phase to infinity so that the Beta phase would actually be constant and unending.

The roster goes on like a Web Dream Team: Google's GMail and Calendar, Yahoo's eMail and Microsoft's Search. All of them have adopted the Beta stage as if it was their surrogate child. What's good about it is that it gives tech companies the perfect excuse for continuous improvement and reduced liability for bugs. Testing of web apps seems to have been put on the shoulders of users.

The Beta Phase have answered a lot of questions for the developers and users. It has given tech companies the figures on what to fix and what features may be omitted. On the other side, end-users have seen the beta as an early means to utilize a tool and a way to enjoy innovation. One question that seems to be unanswered is "When will the Beta phase end?"

I've started a new blog that's based on my 100 Random Colors website. The blog is (drum roll please) 16 Colors.

My idea here is fairly new– it's called "Colorblogging." In 16 colors, the posts will be all colors. 16 squares of different hues with their hex equivalent.

I hope the users of 100 Random Colors will embrace its younger brother with its ability to be accessed on feedreaders, news aggregators and other blogs.

Quick answer: Absolutely yes.

Then the next question: How?

Web Standards IS the face of Web 2.0. This 2005 article from Digital Web Magazine supports this idea. The app that users control content, search and do stuff with ("mix and remix") is written with standards-compliant code, is developed with semantics in mind, and implemented with content separated from presentation.

Flickr, Google Calendar, 30 Boxes, Basecamp, the list goes on and on and one thing is clear: web 2.0 means web standards.

Life-saving WinXP tip

March 31, 2006

This is a bit off-topic, but I felt I had to share this.

I recently reformatted my hard drive and I made sure all my files are backed-up. The way my system is configured is that I have a separate partition for the "My Documents" folder. Now the trouble arose when after finishing reformatting and installing a fresh Windows XP, the "My Documents" folder from my previous installation could not be accessed! I was worried that 33GB of data was going down the drain. (Ugh!)

I scrambled for resources on the web on accessing the old "My Documents" folder from a different system or installation. Fortunately, I came upon this tip from Microsoft on taking ownership of files. Life saver indeed.

This is just not right. (In case you don't click on the link, it says Yahoo and AOL plan to charge their email boxes to ensure delivery of email.)

But you gotta give it to Yahoo and AOL for taking advantage of those who "can't tell if items in their e-mail inboxes are authentic or the work of con artists."

Truth about Google?

December 29, 2005

Dan Norman writes an essay about the "truth" on Google's simplicity. He points that Google, in fact, is creating a facade where it creates the illusion of simplicity by not showing the information all at once. Other Google services like Google Maps, etc. have to be "dug" in order to be accessed, in contrast to MSN or Yahoo, which shows everything at once.

My take on this is that Google is, first and foremost, a search engine. Google may have adopted a different approach to it, but its "one-text box-button" look has actually worked. Why? It gives the web surfer focus on the task at hand, which is to search for something.

10 Web Predictions for 2006

December 12, 2005

Yeah, I know. The year is at its tail-end and this is basically your "predictions" article where the author does a Nostradamus and predicts what's in store for the next year. So drum roll please…

  • Blogs with AJAX – People on the bleeding edge of web technology will eventually find a way to integrate AJAX into the mix, with all this Web 2.0 hulabaloo. Functionalities like on-the-fly article display, collapsing, etc. may be getting a lot of screen-time.
  • Browser Wars – Internet Explorer 7 vs Firefox 2.0! It's going to be like 1999 all over again. IE7's has been impressive with the demos I've seen Microsoft– the multiple window preview may turn out to be the perfect compliment to tabbed browsing. The question a few months from now is what feature Firefox will have to compete with IE7.
  • Web 2.0 Saturation – This is actually a misnomer since only the mainstream sites will incorporate functionality while the rest of the world haven't even heard of Web 2.0.
  • More Minimalist Look – Interface-wise, more and more sites will settle for subtle aesthetics. But that doesn't mean creativity will be fettered– Think more iPod-esque visuals. Designers will try to achieve that look.
  • Hot Colors – There will be a lot of experimentation with strong colors– yellows, oranges and reds for mainstream sites, with off-beat accents. Of course, subtlety is the key here.
  • Tables, Still – Unfortunately, web development IDE 2006 releases would still not be able to fully integrate Web Standards in the presentation layer (VS, Sun Enterprise, etc.)
  • New Tools – At the heels of the acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe will churn out a web development tool that will dominate the market, but it will be a "miss." It will suffer from the growing pains of integrating the strengths of the Macromedia product line.
  • It won't be the year of Ruby on Rails – Despite demonstrating great potential for web development, Ruby on Rails won't go mainstream yet. The PHP-ASP(.NET)-JSP elite club won't be accepting new members in 2006. Maybe 2007.
  • Bigger Resolutions – 800 x 600 will see a massive reduction in monitor resolution share (~15-20% share) and designing for 1024 x 768 will be the de facto standard (~50-60%).
  • Up and Coming Web Fonts Rule – Gainers: Lucida and Vera. Loser: Verdana. Stay-put: Trebuchet and Georgia.

Make sure check back here a year from now and see how far off I am. 🙂