SitePoint Podcast #160: Adobe and HTML Sitting in a Tree

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Episode 160 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of our regular host Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Kevin Dees (@kevindees), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves) and Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy).

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Episode Summary

The panel discuss Adobe launching a host of Cloud services to go with CS 6 and also kicks off a new website dedicated to the open web. We also take a moment to remember web design pioneer Hillman Curtis and talk about the future of advertising on the Web.

Here are the main topics covered in this episode:

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/160.

Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Louis: Hello and welcome to another episode of the SitePoint Podcast, it’s a full panel show this week to talk about the news and happenings in the world of the Internet; hi guys.

Kevin: Howdy.

Patrick: Hey!

Stephan: Hello, hello.

Louis: Very dynamic intro, I felt really energetic about that one.

Patrick: Yeah, yeah, you sound — you’re a pro; you’re an old pro now.

Louis: Ha, ha, seasoned hand (laughs).

Patrick: You are.

Louis: How you all doing?

Patrick: Pretty good, pretty good. I actually got an email this week that was pretty short and to the point.

Louis: Congratulations (laughter).

Kevin: A whole email, Patrick.

Patrick: Yeah, I got an email (laughter) through my contact form, and I’ll tell you the email, it was from Sam, Sam at sam.com, I doubt that’s the real address, but it was just one sentence and it was, “So, if you are a web designer do you think your website looks good? It looks like crab.” (Laughter) And that is “crab” with a b.

Louis: I think I saw that on your Facebook or your Twitter or something.

Patrick: Yeah, I like that.

Louis: (Laughing) pretty classy. So many things wrong with that.

Patrick: Right. I’m not a web designer, I don’t think my website looks good necessarily; I’m not that high on myself.

Louis: It definitely doesn’t look like a crab.

Patrick: Yeah, I’m not — it looks like crab; it’s not even red. Anyway.

Louis: Alright, so with that out of the way let’s talk about people who are web designers, or who were web designers.

Patrick: Yeah, so I picked up a story through Nathan R. King on Twitter that Hillman Curtis had passed away, and I’ll just read from the New York Times story about it by Paul Vitello, the title is: Hillman Curtis, A Pioneer in Web Design, Dies at 51. It says that “Hillman Curtis was an art director of a San Francisco software company, in ’96 he designed the first website for a new technology called Flash Player, a browser plugin that could be used to turn out high quality animated imagery quickly, before then the process would take hundreds of hours. His mastery of the technology which had been developed for several years before but never fully deployed in a way that unveiled its creative potential made Mr. Curtis a revered figure in the emerging world of web design. His Flash Player design technique set the groundwork for a format that later evolved exponentially to accommodate online advertisements, Facebook applications and video sites like YouTube.” And Mr. Curtis, again, was 51 and is survived by a wife and two kids, so it’s just kind of a noteworthy story.

I think it’s funny for me because I’ve been playing around with the Web since, uh, late 90’s let’s say, and for some reason one of the web designers that I had heard of first, or one of the web designers that stood out to me name-wise that had a name that was being bandied about, or whatever, was Hillman Curtis, and it’s a name that’s kind of stuck with me over the years even as he retired from that field specifically and moved into music, definitely one of those names in web design that you know like Zeldman and like some others.

Louis: Yeah, looking at this actually the name did not ring a bell to me, but I’m perhaps a bit later to the Web than the rest of you so maybe I wasn’t around it then, but I have seen a copy of his first book, Flash Web Design, I’ve definitely seen that around when I was first learning web design.

Patrick: Yeah, and it says here it sold over a hundred thousand copies, I mean you don’t know how hard it is to sell a book called — with ‘web design’ in it over a hundred thousand copies, that in itself is a massive milestone.

Louis: Definitely, at SitePoint a big successful book, I don’t think I can talk about numbers, but 100,000 let’s just say is out of the ballpark.

Patrick: Right.

Louis: And you know like obviously this was a different time, and you can say what you want about Flash web design and sites made in Flash, but at the time it’s state-of-the-art and really exploring a new medium, an interactive medium that no one had really had the opportunity to play with before and turn it into something that was both beautiful and expressive. So, yeah, I mean definitely too soon, right, at 51.

Patrick: Yeah, and the article says he died from colon cancer.

And it made me think about web design as an industry and I guess as a popular industry, so for me I guess that goes back to the 90’s, early 90’s, mid-90’s really, even though the Internet existed earlier than that obviously, but that sort of hot profession and all of these companies and agencies that were born out of that era and some of the big people in web design, the big names, and how as an industry we’re coming up on 20 years, or may have already passed it or whatever, and the icons in this field are starting to get older. So I think it’s always a reminder, death is always a reminder to take advantage of the people that you have while they’re still here, and to appreciate the people that have done a lot of work in your space.

Stephan: Yeah, I mean to me Hillman Curtis was kind of a baseball star, I don’t know if I can use baseball as an example, but when I was learning web design like Hillman Curtis was The Man, right, Jeffery Zeldman, right up there with that same type of aura, so, he’ll be missed and it kind of makes you think about I am getting older now that I think about it, so.

Patrick: You said it.

Kevin: Yeah, speaking of Hillman Curtis and his relation to Flash and how that kind of helped change and shape the industry, Adobe, though they bought Flash they didn’t really come out with Flash, they’re doing something new, they’re changing up their business model and they’re doing this thing called the Creative Cloud, and they’re launching it with the Creative Suite 6; have you guys heard about this?

Patrick: Yeah, a little bit, I saw Rachel Luxemberg who is the group manager at Community Adobe tweeting about it today; I guess the hashtag CS 6 and Creative Cloud were both trending on Twitter.

Kevin: Right.

Louis: I definitely saw it float across my radar; I maybe didn’t pay a huge amount of attention.

Kevin: Well, basically this is kind of — it’s actually kind of a big thing. Adobe is now subscribing out their software, and they’ve been doing this for a while but they have this package now where it’s included in this Creative Cloud, and you have online services and all kinds of apps in this, but basically for $50.00 a month with an annual subscription you can get access to the master collection, so for close to $600.00 you can have the entire master collection at your fingertips. The thing that excites me about this, and if you signup for the annual subscription I believe it’s still month-to-month that you pay, you don’t have to pay it in a lump sum, but the thing that excites me about this is a shift in the way Adobe thinks about its products; it’s no longer this wrapware, it’s now literally Cloud as a service, and I think this is a really good direction for Adobe to be taking, especially when you think about their premium products like Master Collection where you’d have to pay close to $3,000.00 for this software, and to see that price come down to an accessible rate is really nice, not only from a professional perspective but also from the perspective of a student, right, because if you’re going to take a semester or you want to try something you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy this entire suite of software, you can subscribe for just a month, their month-to-month rate it’s only $80.00 to try out all their software, and it’s not packaged in the same sort of way where you would have I believe it’s, and you guys can correct me if I’m wrong, but they have like the Production Suite and like the Web Suite and the Creative Suite and the Creative Premium, like it’s no longer kind of boxed in these little separate sections.

So, I don’t know, I’m excited about this, I subscribed to the service last night, of course this came out yesterday which would have been the 22nd.

Patrick: Yeah, and the thing that I wanted to point out about this, and this may be just one of those stupid things I point out that is obvious to most people, but when you hear the name Creative Cloud you think ‘In the Cloud’, the apps may be in The Cloud, but you do actually download the applications to your desktop and run them like you normally would the Creative Suite, according the FAQ on the Creative Cloud website.

Kevin: That’s correct.

Patrick: So just kind of a point of terminology there. You are downloading software, you are installing software on your computer, you’re just paying that monthly subscription, and the subscription pricing is something we’ve talked about before on the show, and I don’t know how long ago it was, but Adobe going to that model. So I don’t know if you recall that; is this sort of an evolution of that? Is that service maturing? Are they offering extras beyond just the software now?

Kevin: So right, Patrick, you’re correct. I watched some of the videos that they had provided, and I read a little bit on this, so the information I have is not complete, but from what I understand basically it’s more than just the software suite, the Adobe Suite, it’s also inclusive of their online products which they released a while back, which also includes Typekit. And so that’s part of also what makes it exciting. And basically the pitch that they’re making is the Creative Cloud is this way to work within The Cloud, you don’t necessarily have to use Creative products from within another server or on The Cloud, you download them to your machine, but you’re subscribed to those services so you can access them anywhere. So it’s this kind of idea that the world of web design and design in general, no matter what industry you’re in, has changed completely because you’re using different devices like the iPad, the iPhone, your computer.

So this is kind of the direction that Adobe has decided to go, and I only see it growing and going further and further in this direction.

Patrick: Yeah, just to add on to what you said I’m reading through the post at TechCrunch and it says, like you said, “It’s not just a subscription to Adobe’s tools,” this storage and sharing component they call “The hub for making sharing and delivering creative work,” so you can sync your files to the cloud and edit them with mobile tools and anywhere else, so not just having the applications but being able to sync that work and then edit it from anywhere, and because I assume you can use the software on different devices and machines to edit the work and you’ll have about 20 gigabytes of online storage and also access the Typekit which provides about 700 fonts, so those are sort of the value-added services beyond just the software itself.

Kevin: That’s correct.

Louis: Yeah, it’s some interesting product. You know I haven’t used any of the Creative Suite products in some time just because I don’t really spend a lot of time doing any design work but, yeah, it looks definitely a bit more accessible and with some improved toolkits.

Patrick: Now, I mean it comes across as a bargain for what you get; $49.99 a month timed by 12 is $599.88, so $600.00 a year for all of these applications.

Kevin: Right, and the Creative Cloud.

Patrick: Is there a reason why you wouldn’t want to do this?

Kevin: I see no reason why you would not want to do it. I’ve already subscribed and it came out yesterday, in fact, I subscribed as soon I heard about it.

Patrick: Like is there a reason to purchase the Master Collection for $2599?

Louis: Well, in our case like on Australian broadband downloading the Master Collection over the Internet would probably take the full year, so that’s $600.00, you’d have to multiply it by two if you wanted to actually use the things.

Kevin: Right, and then the updates on top of that.

Louis: Yeah.

Patrick: Right, that’s a good point, yes.

Louis: But, yeah, no, it definitely makes more sense for designers, and I think that a lot of people who might have been off put by the $1,300.00 pricing even for the basic editions of the software in the past, or nearly $2,000.00 for Design Web Premium editions of the suite, this is a lot more accessible, and if it so happens that there’s a period of time when you’re not doing as much design, you know, if you use it for a year but then you move on to do something else then you don’t have to keep paying for it.

Kevin: So to point out one last thing to wrap this up, it’s also that you can download each package of software from the Creative Suite separately, so you don’t have to download the whole thing at once, which is nice if you have limited space or bandwidth.

Patrick: Right. So if you just need Flash you can download Flash, if you just need Photoshop extended you can get that and you don’t have to download the whole thing and have that suck down all your bandwidth for a few years.

Kevin: Correct.

Louis: Man, you actually for a second there when you said that I had to go back and look at the thing, I’m like oh is Flash still in this, is that still a thing that they’re doing.

Patrick: Yes, yes it is, Flash Professional and Flash Builder they’re both a part of the Creative Cloud membership.

Louis: Um, yeah, speaking of Adobe, another thing that they launched yesterday as part of this whole announcement that’s really interesting, at least to me, is they launched a website called Adobe and HTML, which is a kind of awkwardly named site, but it’s at html.adobe.com. There’s a blog post on the Adobe Web Platform Team Blog sort of announcing this new webpage, and it’s just sort of a collection of the work that Adobe is doing with regards to sort of web standards and the open web platform which is really great to see from Adobe, which obviously has had to move away a little bit from its previous focus on Flash for the Web.

So if you go to html.adobe.com you’ll see it’s divided into three sections, one of them is web standards, they’re talking about a few of the standards that they’re working with the W3C to finalize, and also they’re doing implementation work on WebKit to get these CSS features implemented, so there’s CSS regions, shaders and exclusions, I won’t go into huge detail about what those things are, you can go and check it out if you’re interested, but yeah, just sort of highlighting the work that they’re doing on standards and open source. There’s another tab of open source projects covering some of the stuff they’re working on, and that includes Apache Cordova which is actually PhoneGap, I don’t know if you remember we did talk about this on a previous episode of the show, right.

Patrick: Yeah, episode 134.

Louis: That Adobe had purchased PhoneGap and was going to open source the code, and so that’s been — I think they donated the code to the Apache Foundation, am I correct in remembering that?

Patrick: It looks to be the case because the project page is at the Apache Foundation website, so, and it’s Apache Cordova now, so either way Apache is all over it.

Louis: Right, so Apache Cordova, which is the open source base of PhoneGap, and then PhoneGap I guess is Adobe’s distribution of that software, they’ve also contributed heavily to jQuery Mobile, and the work that they’re doing on WebKit like I said, when you look at the web standards, have been finalized, they’ve got a tools and service tab which is just sort of highlighting some of the tools that they provide, and that includes some new stuff like Adobe Edge which is their CSS3 and JavaScript animation tool, so similar to Flash in that you can build animations in a graphical environment, but the output rather than being a Flash file is HTML5 and CSS3 and JavaScript, a few other tools like that.

So, yeah, definitely some cool stuff, like it’s a little bit light on content at the moment, I get the feeling it’s something they just launched, but if they really do go ahead and update this and are looking to participate more actively in web standards and open source then that’s awesome, you know, it’s a little shift of direction for Adobe and one that I think will be very welcomed by the web community. And I just want to highlight one other thing, if you go to the tools and services page it’s got all their tools split into five categories: design, produce, code, inspect and publish, and under code all it says is “We think there’s a need for a different type of code editor. We’re working on something and we’ll have more to share soon.” So that could be — I’m excited by that, by the potential of — it’s definitely a wait and see kind of thing, I’m a big fan of a very lightweight code editor, and very little of Adobe’s software at the moment is lightweight, but I am excited to see what they’re working on.

Stephan: I guess all I can add is good for them, like I think it’s a good step in the right direction.

Patrick: And this website’s pretty slick also I have to say.

Stephan: Yeah, it is.

Kevin: Yep, it’s nice and responsive.

Louis: (Laughs) have you been doing the thing where you drag the window around?

Patrick: I didn’t even play around with that. Oh my gosh.

Kevin: The whole time you were talking, Louis, I was over here —

Louis: Dragging the window (laughs).

Kevin: — going back and forth, back and forth, exactly (laughs). Like a small child.

Patrick: Welcome to our lives folks.

Louis: Ah, man, now I’m gonna be dragging this thing back and forth all day. No, it’s a cool site and some cool initiatives, and it’s good to see Adobe taking a step in this direction and contributing this stuff to WebKit. Yeah, and with them working on WebKit and all the work that Microsoft is doing on IE10 it’s really invigorating to see all these big companies that previously we would’ve thought of as the worst enemies of web standards and the open web suddenly taking kind of a leading role in that space.

Patrick: And our last story of the day is a — well, it’s a press release from the IAB, the Internet Advertising Bureau.

Louis: Boo ads.

Patrick: And they —

Louis: (Laughs) sorry.

Patrick: Well, it’s a part of what we do.

Louis: Obviously I’m kidding.

Patrick: So — please advertise on the SitePoint Podcast! Please! Email sitepoint.com, there’s a contact page, just go there and email them, we need your money! no. So it’s kind of on the state of Internet advertising and the numbers and where ad revenue went in 2011 versus 2010. So I’ll read some of the high-level numbers here and we can then talk about them. So, ad revenue as a whole was up 22% to 31 billion dollars in 2011, mobile had the fastest growth of any category, it was up 149%, digital video was up 29%, search revenues were up 27%, and display ads, the revenue generated from display ads, was up 15%. And they also break it down a little further to talk about how these categories fit into the overall online advertising figure, like what percentage of that 31 billion is search, for example, or display ads. And so you can see where some units are maybe trending down or trending up. Search ads were up about 2% as far as the overall total, but what I found interesting was that display ads were actually down a little bit as far as the percent of that total, so they were 37% of the ads spent in 2010 there were 34.8% in 2011, so display ads and the revenue they contributed to the overall pile was down. Mobile was up a lot, as we discussed, email was flat, lead generation was about the same, classified ads and directories were down a little bit, and search as I said was up. So display ads was down and that was kind of picked up by search. And then they also break it down to revenue models, impression based ads, performance based ads; impression based ad revenue as far as that overall pile was actually down from 33% to 31.3%, where performance based ads were up by about that same amount.

So, I mean overall they’re not huge trends, but display ads were down, impression based ads were down, performance based up, and other types of ads, especially mobile, were up. So it’s a lot of info; thoughts?

Louis: I actually — I came off with ‘boo ads’ but I’m going to take this as good news, I think that one of the reasons we have this visceral reaction to ads in the online space is that kind of focus that’s existed in the past that came over from print and focus on impression based performance metrics, and the focus on display ads which were generally speaking annoying banners, and furthermore, because they’re impression based they kind of gave flawed incentives to content producers to either paginate content when it wasn’t necessary to paginate it just to drive up impressions or to publish link bait, and also irrelevant ads could do well in terms of performance but not be helpful to us as the reader or the consumer of content. So I think a focus more on performance metrics where you want people who are actually interested in the product that you’re advertising, and a focus on contextual advertising, which is more the case in terms of search and maybe less the case on mobile, but mobile I think that growth just comes from the fact of the growth of the platform, not so much of a shift in the mentality of advertisers. But I think apart from that this move to performance metrics and the move more towards search, and therefore contextual advertising versus impression based display ads, I think is a good direction for the Web as a whole.

Patrick: Yeah, I found the story via Revenues, via TechCrunch, and to add to what you said though, and part of the motivation for serving ads, they break down the display category just a little farther to digital video commercials, ad banners/display ads, sponsorships and rich media, and in those four categories ad banners and display ads were down as far as an overall percentage of the revenue, and rich media ads were down as far as their take in the revenue. Actually revenue generated from rich media display ads, the dollar amount was actually down itself about 220 million dollars to about 1.3 billion. And then to make up for that, sponsorships were up and digital video commercials were up, so sponsorships, you know, generally would lend themselves to not being as impression based, people who are sponsoring this content, this page, this website, they’re paying more for a time allotment than they are for an impression, so that goes to your point.

Louis: Yeah, and I think sponsorships is another one of those things that is a little bit more palatable to media consumers because it implies a bit of trust, it implies a recommendation on the part of both parties that are involved in a sponsorship deal, which in a traditional banner advertisement isn’t necessarily the case; I can see an ad for something and I don’t necessarily think that there’s any endorsement implied on behalf of the site that I’m visiting, whereas if I see this site probably sponsored by that implies a bit more of an association, and I tend to carry along some of the trust that I have in either of the two parties onto the other party, so I think it can be mutually beneficial.

Patrick: And it’s worth pointing out as much as you put it in kind of that light where it’s kind of better for visitors, which I agree with, it’s also important to just point out that the dollar amount kind of dwarfs these other figures, like the ad banner display ads were 6.8 billion, sponsorships were 1.1 billion, so it’s going up and it was up quite a bit, but it’s still much smaller in the overall ads spent.

Louis: Yeah, that’s true, but if you look at search, however, which was 11.6 billion in 2010 went to 14.7 billion in 2011, so huge growth in search advertisement, which as I said because it can be a little bit more targeted and a little bit more contextual I think it’s a lot less intrusive.

Patrick: That’s a great point.

Louis: It’s interesting to see mobile jump up, I mean obviously I don’t know how proportional that is to the growth of the platform and the gross of mobile users, but it is interesting to see, and it would be interesting to see a further breakdown of how much of that comes into mobile website advertising versus advertising in mobile applications, for example.

Patrick: That’s actually a good question as well; it isn’t broken down that far, but like you said, it was up from 641 million in 2010 to 1.59 billion in 2011, so obviously that’s something people are exploiting. And, I don’t know, I found it was interesting an email was included here, I don’t know what I found that so interesting, it’s just because I don’t do much with email ads and I wouldn’t think about it, but that it’s tracked and it’s 213 million versus 195 last year, kind of flat, it’s email is always heralded as sort of a great thing for getting the word out there about something, like a new product announcement or something new that you were offering, but advertising-wise it’s obviously just not as accepted.

Overall good news for advertising and people who just plain old advertising I guess, revenue is up and you should probably get into mobile.

Louis: Yeah, alright, you guys want to do some spotlights, I think it’s that time of the week.

Patrick: Why don’t you go first so I don’t have the opportunity to snipe you.

Louis: Alright, let’s do it, I’m gonna go first; either the likelihood of you sniping this snapshot is so abysmally low — so my snapshot is a browser game that aims to teach you how to use the VIM code editor.

Kevin: Ooh, this sounds fun.

Louis: Was that where you were going, Patrick?

Patrick: Well, if Kevin says it sounds fun probably not (laughs).

Louis: Alright, so the URL is vim-adventures.com, that’s vim hyphen adventures.com, so for anyone who doesn’t know VIM is a console based text editor which takes place entirely in your terminal, your command line terminal, and it’s an extremely powerful editor, it’s what I use at work, and the main advantages of it is all the navigation and moving around and selecting text and cutting and pasting text is all done via keyboard combos, so via the home row, so you almost never use the mouse when you’re working with Vim, and it can be a really fast way of editing code, however, the learning curve is notoriously steep because obviously you have to learn what all these different keys do and it’s not obvious.

So this guy’s put together this little — it’s almost like I don’t know what I can describe it as, it’s like a kind of a Zelda-like look to it, it’s sort of this isometric thing where you’re wandering around, you’re just basically a flashing cursor but in this graphical environment, and you wander around via the same keys that you would use in VIM to navigate a text file. So there are only a few levels that are online so far, so far it’s still in an early stage of development, but it’s really cool and if you’re looking for a little fun way to learn even just the basics right now, like I said, it only has sort of how to navigate the cursor, either one space at a time or by entire or jump across words, and that’s all you can learn now, but I’m really looking forward to seeing how it develops further with respect to like cutting and pasting and searching for things. So, yeah, that’s my spotlight.

Patrick: I didn’t mean Kevin liking it was a bad thing, I just meant he’s a developer type more; I probably need this very much (laughs).

Stephan: Well, I know what I’m playing tonight (laughter).

Patrick: Everyone’s gonna be crowded around the computer playing some old VIM adventures.

Louis: The only thing, like I said, the two levels that exist at the moment, or the two or three levels that exist at the moment they’ll probably take you maybe ten minutes to play through, so there’s not a lot of game content there at the moment, but I think it is a really interesting approach to learning a tricky technology, and it’s also an impressive — it’s a good-looking game and nice and fun.

Patrick: Yippee, that’s from the game, sorry. So my spotlight this week is Jim Gaffigan’s new comedy special Mr. Universe, I’m incapable of suggesting something that’s web development related. And I’m a big huge fan of Jim Gaffigan, as far as comedians go I think he’s probably my favorite comedian bar none, and I’m going to see him live in July, always love his stuff, and he actually put this one out direct online, similar to what Louis CK did; for five dollars, you pay five dollars you can download it, there’s no DRM, you can do what you want with it, and so it’s only five bucks, It’s certainly I’m sure well worth the money, and he’s a very funny guy and we’ll have a link to the trailer in the show notes.

Louis: Yeah, that’s great. I think I’m really, really happy that this business model has sort of taken off, and happy that it was so successful for Louis CK and that therefore a lot of other people are considering it, because it really just is the best deal for consumers, right, and it’s the best deal for the content producer as well, everybody wins; we get what we want at a reasonable price, easily accessible and in a way that we can use, and then they get a lot of money.

Patrick: Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting to follow. There haven’t been any, as far as I know because I’ve kind of looked, results, articles as far as how many he sold or how much money was made, so it will be interesting to see how it compares to the Louis CK special. And another comedian that did this actually that I heard about was —

Louis: Aziz Ansari

Patrick: Aziz Ansari, yeah, and I didn’t pick up his, but —

Louis: Yeah, and it’ll be interesting to see how Jim Gaffigan goes because a lot of people who were trying to sort of naysay the success of Louis CK’s alternate business model adventure were saying it works for you because you’re on television, you’ve got a show, everyone knows who you are, you’ve already got this massive audience. And I think Jim Gaffigan’s a slightly less well-known comedian, and so it’ll be interesting to see how well that translates across if you don’t have a million followers on Twitter or whatever.

Patrick: Yeah, actually I was just looking at the follower count because I was curious to see what the difference was between Gaffigan and CK and Ansari, Aziz Ansari actually has the most of the three with 1.84 million followers, and he’s on TV and whatnot, so he’s a popular comedian also, and Louis CK has 1.172 million, and Jim Gaffigan bringing up the rear of the three with 1.01 million followers, so just crossed that barrier, in your face Louis, just crossed it (laughter)!

Louis: Alright, so scratch what I just said about that.

Kevin: No, I’m curious, Patrick, this is the Hot Pocket guy, right?

Patrick: This is, this is the one and only. And he tours, I went to one of his shows in Baltimore, my whole family was sick, it was terrible, like bad sick, but we still went, it was the day before my birthday actually, and it was a great show, he packed the house there, and yeah, I mean he’s — it’s interesting to see because I don’t know but I wonder what like the touring numbers are for these guys versus what they sell online and whatnot. But it’s definitely exciting to see and I think it’s, I don’t know, it seems like it’s all part of this moment in time, it’s all related, like one story we cut from the show was about Kickstarter and how much money they’ve helped people make, obviously super popular, and there’s other services like that, I think indiegogo is one, am I saying that right, and so this sort of direct to consumer kind of cutting out the middle man, not saying the middle man has no value, but it all seems to be shifting to self-something.

Louis: Well, yeah, not that the middle man has no value, but if the middle man wants to have value they have to provide value, right, providing just a network or providing just a conduit between a producer and a consumer isn’t worth anything anymore because that conduit is available for free, and any content producer can be their own conduit, but there’s definitely space for that middle man role if it’s, for example, curation role or a role that actually does add value and provides a consumer with some extra stuff, or provides the producer with better reach.

Stephan: Louis’ talking about you MPAA.

Patrick: Yeah, not SitePoint, SitePoint’s book publishing business provides great value as a middle man, ding. So what’s your spotlight Stephan?

Stephan: I have a blog post by Noah Stokes, and he runs a web development company called Bold, and the blog post is about courting the potential client and how they handle potential clients, and I just think it’s interesting because a lot of people are just really eager to jump on the first client that comes in the door, and he kind of talks about why that’s not necessarily the case, and one time out of ten it’s clear that they should say no to a project, and they do, so I think sometimes you have to say no. So it’s just an interesting read on how they handle an influx of clients, so I like that kind of stuff, I hope our listeners do as well.

Louis: Good stuff; I’ll give this a read. And Kevin?

Kevin: Okay, excellent. So I have been developing games for the last two months, some for leisure, some for clients, and I’ve been using ImpactJS, you can go to impactjs.com and check this out if you haven’t heard of it, basically it’s a Canvass drawing platform framework that you can use to build games for websites. There’s a whole community been built around this over the last I think year and a half, maybe two years now, but basically you can use this framework to build games for any kind of browser, Internet Explorer 9, Opera, Firefox, Chrome, even the iPhone; now if you want to use it on the new iPhone because of the number of pixels it’s a little bit harder, but that’s not a problem because you can export from ImpactJS to the IOS and build apps that way, so you can take advantage of I believe it’s OpenGL, not WebGL, which you can also take advantage of in this framework, but OpenGL in that you can port from the native browser into the iPhone’s OpenGL to basically draw pixels faster.

So it’s really cool, I’ve been using it and I love it, it’s really fun, and you can get started building a game really quickly; I built my first game with this in a matter of maybe an hour, a little Pong game.

Louis: Right. And this is all JavaScript based.

Kevin: Correct, it’s JavaScript based.

Louis: Which makes it a little bit more accessible for web designers who might — I always feel like when I start looking at game stuff and thinking I’m not gonna learn C and even the iPhone languages maybe not something I feel like diving into, but if you take languages you already know and a good framework of stuff — so this is not a free product.

Kevin: No, it’s not.

Louis: Is what I’m seeing here.

Kevin: Correct, it is a hundred dollars to get five licenses, basically five games for a year. Now, once you get your license you obviously have access to the files; it does require a PHP backend to run, so you need to have at least PHP installed on your computer and Apache to get that up and running, but some really cool things. Some notes I’d like to make about the framework itself is that it uses this model of everything is an entity, meaning when things bump into each other they’re all kind of the same, and so anytime you create an enemy or your own character you’re creating and using the same model, so it’s not very hard to get something up and running very quickly.

Some of the other things I’d like to note in it is that is uses, like you were saying, JavaScript, but it’s very easy to write this code, it uses literal notation, basically JavaScript objects and basically JSON format to write your methods, and I don’t know if they call them properties or attributes in JavaScript, but it’s really easy to get started that’s all I’m trying to say, so check it out.

Patrick: Yeah, and you know what I want, Kevin, this looks really cool, so what we need to have is a SitePoint podcast RPG with four playable characters, okay, and I think you know who the four are, and maybe Brad and Kevin Yank can be unlockables, you know, and kind of down the road, so yeah, I think I want that, the budget is zero, but I can help with the script (laughter).

Kevin: Give me a month, give me one month and in my free time I’ll make this game for you, and if you’ll allow me I’ll put it on the podcast for everybody to check out.

Louis: Oh, absolutely.

Patrick: Oh my gosh, that would be awesome.

Louis: Be super excited.

Kevin: I just need avatars; I need you guys to send me some pictures of yourselves so I can build this game for you.

Louis: Alright, we’re all in.

Patrick: I’m actually excited about the podcast.

Louis: What are you trying to say, Patrick, what are you trying to say?

Patrick: Oh gosh, I love you guys.

Stephan: Getting himself into more trouble!

Louis: I think that’s as good a time as any to wrap things up for this week, so what do you say we do a quick run around the table.

Kevin: Excellent. So you can find me, Kevin Dees, at kevindees.cc and on Twitter as @kevindees.

Patrick: I’m Patrick O’Keefe, I blog at managingcommunities.com, on Twitter @ifroggy, i-f-r-o-g-g-y.

Stephan: I’m Stephan Segraves, you can find me on Twitter @ssegraves, and I blog at badice.com.

Louis: And you can follow SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, sitetpoint d-o-t-c-o-m, you can email the podcast at podcast@sitepoint.com, and if you go to sitepoint.com/podcast best place on the Web to find our previous episodes, leave a comment on this show or subscribe to the RSS. And you can find me on Twitter @rssaddict. The show this week was produced by Karn Broad, and I’m Louis Simoneau, thanks for listening and bye for now.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

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  • Zach Wong

    Lol. A Sitepoint RPG…now that would be something.