SitePoint Podcast #181: Solving More Problems Than You Create

Episode 181 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week we have the full panel, Louis Simoneau (@rssaddict), Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves), Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy) and Kevin Dees (@kevindees).

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Episode Summary

The panel discuss topics such as a new paid social network, user testing and several typography related topics!

Here are the main topics covered in this episode:

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/181.

Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Louis: Hello, and welcome to the SitePoint Podcast. We’ve got a panel show together this week to talk about all the latest news and developments in the world of web design and development. So with me on the show today is our full panel of regular hosts, Kevin Dees, Patrick O’Keefe, and the Stephan Segraves. Hi guys.

Kevin: Howdy, howdy.

Stephan: Hi.

Patrick: It feels like it’s been longer than it has been. It’s actually only been two group shows since we’ve done one altogether and we were talking about this before the show but I think it’s just because we love each other so much. That’s all. That why it feels longer.

Louis: Yeah, I thought you were going to say it feels like it’s been more than the three seconds it’s been since the last take of that intro.

Kevin: It feels like deja vu in here.

Patrick: We’re professionals.

Louis: Yeah, we are. So how’s everybody been?

Stephan: Been good. How about yourself?

Louis: Most excellent. Things are progressing, all kinds of work projects. At the moment we’ve got something on the go at Flippa that we’ll be revealing pretty soon, so excited about that.

Patrick: Excellent.

Kevin: I have interesting things going on myself. I don’t know if you guys know, but Patrick and I will be speaking at Indie Comp. I’m kind of nervous about it because last time I went, my car broke down, so-

Patrick: Yeah, Kevin’s car broke down and thankfully I was there so he didn’t have to sleep outside with the wolves.

Kevin: Yes.

Patrick: The wolves of Raleigh, North Carolina. Yeah, so we’re going to speak, both are going to be speaking at Indie Comp this year and that’s in Raleigh, North Carolina on November 17th. I’m going to be speaking about how to monetize your website and get the most out of that. Kevin, what are you talking about?

Kevin: I’ll be talking about basically booting up, pragmatic WordPress development kind of launching a WordPress site using some tools that are available. I’ll probably end up writing a blog post about it once I have everything together. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who are going to show up to the event.

Patrick: Awesome. Well, indieconf is focused at independent web professionals and freelancers, so if you’re in the area, Raleigh, an hour or two away, definitely come check it out. We’d love to meet you. It’s only $99 and you can buy tickets at indieconf.com.

Kevin: Yeah, and just a word of advice…

Patrick: Charge your car battery?

Kevin: Yeah, exactly. Bring your jumper cables. That’s a good idea. That’s just a really good idea.

Louis: All right, well why don’t we just dive straight into this week’s news?

Patrick: Let’s do it.

Louis: I guess the biggest story and both me and Kevin had picked this as the biggest story of the last few weeks is Adobe’s recent launch of what it’s calling the Edge Tools and Services, which is basically all of its sort of web standards-based development tools, all of the stuff that previously was… The one that’s Animation which I think used to be called Edge Preview or something like that, which is now called Edge Animate, and they’ve got a bunch of others tools in there. Including the sort of branded version of their open source HTML-based HTML editor called Brackets which they’re branding as Edge Code, but the Brackets project is still open source, as well as some cool tools for web fonts and responsive design.

Kevin: Yeah, Phone Gap’s also in there which is really cool .

Louis: Right, right, so Phone Gap build, which they had included as part of the Creative Cloud subscription is now falling under the umbrella, I guess, of the Edge Tools as well.

Kevin: Phone Gap is also in Dreamweaver, right? I think you can export to Phone Gap or something. I haven’t done it from Dreamweaver. But I remember there being a video on it at some point.

Louis: I think there was something to that effect, yeah. So the new cool tool that they’ve announced with this set of tools is Adobe Edge Reflow, which is sort of a responsive design tool which is sort of just a… Yeah, it’s a layout and design tool for visual designers, but that lets you test responsive designs and the way they reflow and also export your break points and media queries for use in your style sheet.
So it looks pretty interesting. It’s a very early preview. I don’t think it’s actually released yet. But it looks very interesting, especially because that job for a visual designer of making four or five different Photoshop comps for each break point or each different layout you want to do can be pretty tedious. So having a design tool that includes reflowing and the ability to export break points is potentially really interesting.

Kevin: Yeah, and to be honest, this kind of solves an interesting problem which is, or it has been for me, maybe smaller sites, which is the fact that you get a PSD and there are no responsive break points. Then they’re like “Make it responsive” and you’re the developer and you’re like, “Okay.”

Louis: There’s too much content here. How do you want to shrink this down to 320 pixels wide?

Kevin: Exactly. So this is kind of nice in that perhaps you could get the original PSD, chop that up if you want to chop it up, however you want to do it, and then kind of hand that back and say “Okay, now you go in, use this tool and change what I did. So, show me kind of what you want and I’ll tweak it,” right? “But give me an idea of what you want so I’m not the one trying to make these creative decisions. I mean, I can make those creative decisions, right, but you’re the one who’s getting paid to do this,” right? “So you do it”.

Louis: Yeah, exactly.

Kevin: I’m not getting paid to. So, to me it seems like a really, really cool tool. I have some concerns about it, but to be honest I feel like this solves more problems than it creates.

Louis: That’s the least you could expect from a new tool is that it creates fewer problems than it solves.

Patrick: Adobe Edge Reflow. Insert your slogan here, “We create less problems than we solve. From the people who brought you Flash.”

Louis: Which did, in fact, create more problems than it solves, I think. I think we can all agree on that.

Patrick: Poor Flash, you look back at it now and it’s not the same as you looked at it when it first started.

Kevin: Walking on thin ice there. Plenty of Flash people I’m sure listen to this.

Patrick: Personally, my head started to explode when I heard HTML-based HTML Editor. I just want to know at what point does this become too – I don’t know, too META?

Kevin: That’s deep.

Stephan: Is this all browser based?

Louis: I don’t think all of it is. No, I think Reflow and Animate are desktop tools like the other Adobe products. I haven’t actually used Brackets.

Kevin: I’m surprised Muse didn’t really end up in this suite to be honest.

Louis: Which one was Muse? I can’t keep up with their names anymore.

Kevin: Muse was like – I don’t even know if they still have it to be honest. I feel like they do. I use Creative Cloud by the way, so, disclaimer. Adobe doesn’t pay me. I pay Adobe, so whatever. But basically Muse was sort of like their, “Hey, we know you want to use In Design for web development type things and not Photoshop, so we kind of tried to create…” This is in context of Adobe speaking, which is, “We tried to create this tool that basically does what In Design does for web designers,” and to me it still feels broken.

Louis: Right.

Kevin: At least the last time I used it, but to be honest I saw that tool as a really, really good wire framing tool. I mean, you could throw together some designs and site maps really, really quickly. I mean it’s a great tool for that. I used it several times for wire framing.

Louis: Yeah.

Kevin: People have different opinions about wire frames because maybe they should be done with pencils or look incomplete. But to me it was like you could throw together a site map, have a working site really quickly. How awesome is that for a wire frame or at least a workflow of like, “Hey, here are the interactions that the site can have and this is it. We just built it today.” So, I don’t know. I’m surprised it’s not in here.

Patrick: Yeah, Adobe Muse is still a thing it appears.

Kevin: I think it’s its own tool.

Patrick: Yeah, it like you might have to subscribe to the Cloud or at least buy it on a plan.

Louis: I’m getting the feeling the Edge Tools are really targeted at sort of open standards style web developers and the Adobe Muse is more of a design tool that happens to spit out some functional code. So, it’s really aimed at people who don’t want to think about code whereas the Edge tools it feels like…

Kevin: That’s a really good point.

Louis: As we witnessed earlier when we were trying to remember what Muse was, I find that all their branding is a little muddy and even trying to describe what the Edge series of tools is I kind of ran into some problems there. But I think as a general idea, or the approach that they want to take and try and make some open web projects that are more piecemeal.
Someone, I think it was in a piece on the Next Web I was reading, one of the people from Adobe had sort of said that they understand that they don’t have the kind of market dominance in this area that they’re used to having with Flash and Photoshop and Illustrator. So they’ve tried to make tools that are sort of more useable in piecemeal where you can sort of take one or two things that you need and just use those.
But there are definitely some really interesting projects coming out of here. Your Reflow, like I said, is the most interesting, but the animation tool for CSS Javascript animation and some other stuff as well.

Kevin: Yeah, I’ve heard really good things about Animate as far as people who have used, I think, After Effects. I think it works really similarly to After Effects. I was actually having a conversation over Skype with one of my friends who’s done a lot of Flash development in the past and he’s worked a lot with After Effects and that kind of thing and he said he really liked the Edge Animate because it felt at home with the other tools. So it was really cool to hear that.

Louis: Yeah.

Patrick: I was impressed that you disclosed, Kevin, that you pay someone else money. I mean, yeah, it speaks to your honesty and integrity but I was like, “He’s disclosing that he gives someone else his hard-earned money.” They are the ones with the conflict of interest, them.

Louis: Just full disclosure, I have the conflict of interest.

Kevin: Yeah, so I also buy things at McDonald’s and Walmart and K- Mart. Shop where you like, this is where I shop.

Stephan: So, the W3C has announced their HTML5 delivery plan and basically, to summarize everything that they’ve written in this long document that they wrote is that HTML5 will reach recommendation status by the end of 2014. So you’re looking at two more years until it’s at recommendation status. So, new and unstable features that aren’t done by then are going to be pushed to HTML5.1 and they will be in recommendation status by the end of 2016. So you’re looking at a two-year road map for most of the features that you’re seeing now.

Louis: Right. Two years doesn’t sound too crazy to me because there’s definitely a lot of stuff in the HTML5 specification at the moment that is pretty in flux. I mean, I know we talked to, pretty recently about all of the work going on around responsive images. There was a big controversy about which approach to take there, and there are a lot of other sort of like more Edge features that are still, they feel very, very rough. So, it feels like two years is definitely reasonable.
It might not be enough. As you said, it’s likely that there will be some unstable features. But if at least, they can get to some sort of – I don’t want to say lock-down. Because it does raise an interesting question which is that, what difference does it make, because the browsers aren’t actually targeted the published version of the spec anyway. The browsers are just implementing features.

Kevin: Right. We all use Web Kit now, right?

Louis: I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. But it does sort of speak to the point where, there are a lot of features both in Web Kit and in Mozilla, and in Opera which are sort of very, very much in flux in the specification. But the browsers are just going ahead and implementing them. I think with the very rapid release cycles that we’re seeing with most browsers that aren’t blue is that they can do that. They can just pump in new features whenever in something. It’s sort of like, “Oh, let’s test that, see how this works,” and it goes in and people play with it and then it feeds back in the spec.
So I was wondering what you think, Kevin, in terms of what’s the value proposition here of the W3C having a lock-down? This is HTML5, anything else is in development for another spec. What does it matter that it’s in development for another spec if it’s widely supported and implemented?

Kevin: I think this kind of approach actually pushes vendors to work more with a W3C while implementing some of these new tools. But kind of push those more into the W3C because that’s a standard that people know. It’s something that’s safe, that’s comfortable, at least for the standardistas of us. So, I can see this approach, at least for the W3C, giving them more leverage with the vendors, the browser makers.
Now, the interesting part of this is features like video and audio where you basically have a standard that’s kind of its own piece. I mean, like an open standard like OGG Theora or WebM or WebP, whatever these new technologies are for images and video, audio, that kind of thing. I think those things are going to cause the more interesting problems, because basically that’s kind of up to the browser maker what they want to support. It’s not really up to the W3C.

Louis: Well, there was actually some debate about whether or not the specifications should mandate codecs as part of the specification with respect to audio and to video. So I don’t actually know what the current status is. I imagine it doesn’t because there was too much push back from some of the browser makers. I think most notably Apple had no interest in supporting WebM and Firefox didn’t want to include H.264, so it’s kind of a standoff there.

Kevin: Yeah, it’s an interesting thing when you try to incorporate basically a different type of technology outside of that which is written, like any other type of media outside something that might be text like JavaScript, HTML, or CSS. Because a developer you have a lot more control over that because you write it yourself. Also as far as browser makers are concerned, like, that’s already an open standard. It already exists in the space. You can own it.
So, to answer your question, I feel like it comes back to what I said in the beginning, which is I think this is W3C acknowledging that browsers want to move a lot faster than the W3C wants to, and so to do that they’re willing to basically submodule the specification. I mean, they already do that, right?

Stephan: I like what Craig Butler wrote, though. He wrote an article on sitepoint.com, and he just kind of flatly says the W3C specifications are irrelevant and I don’t think we can disagree, right? I mean, they’re not going to stop you from editing features to your website, they’re not going to, because the browsers are going to have these features, now they may be different across the browsers but they’re not going to, their specifications aren’t going to set in stone what a browser implements.

Patrick: Yeah.

Louis: Yeah, it feels like a more documentation after the fact whereas in the past what the W3C specified was then what the browsers want to be built. Whereas now they’re sort of like, “Well, browsers all sort of agree on this so I guess we’ll call it a specification”.

Stephan: Yeah.

Kevin: Yeah, it’s an interesting problem because, basically you can end up with what we had in the past, like two different versions of JavaScript. Was it VDScript, right? I think, or JScript, however you want to call it, and then Microsoft’s version. Then you had JavaScript.
So, it’s an interesting thing, because as soon as you say the W3C specifications are irrelevant, you basically say that, “Hey, let’s move out of this cold war that we’ve been having for a long time pertaining to browsers and let’s just go all-out war again.” So, it’s like getting rid of the United Nations almost. I don’t mean to go political.

Louis: Oh man, there’s so much that I want to dive in there with. But I’m going to hold back because this is not a show about international politics.

Kevin: Yeah, let me bite my tongue on that one.

Patrick: To me, this is garbage because what this means is that my Teach Yourself HTML4 in 24 Hours second edition book published by Sams.net Publishing on November 1, 1997, is going to be out of date as soon as this HTML5 thing happens. That’s what it means to me. This book was released when I was 12 and now it’s going to be out of date. So that, to me, is a shame.

Louis: I hate to break it to you Patrick but that book’s been out of date for well over a decade now.

Patrick: You just want me to buy SitePoint books.

Louis: No, all I’m saying is that… Well, that actually does come back into the point, right? I mean, the fact that there is now an official HTML5 – and it’s entirely true, you could have gone about building websites using HTML4 as your doc type and only using HTML4 features in your sites. But does anyone really do that anymore? I don’t think so. I think everyone’s using some features of these specs that are under development because the browsers all support them.
There’s stuff that’s extremely well supported and with a stable implantation everyone agrees on it. So like Craig says in this blog post does it matter that the W3C won’t officially endorse this stuff until 2014? Not really to anyone to who’s a developer or a browser maker. So I don’t know who else they’re writing this for.

Patrick: Right. I don’t if we talked about or I just haven’t read about it. But the thought that the recommendations would not be final for HTML5 until 2022 was… Now they’re coming back with this 2014.

Louis: Well at least 2014 sounds plausible. 2022 was…

Patrick: Yeah. At least it’s not a decade away. Half of the people who care about this might be dead by then.

Louis: Yeah, 2022 we’ll all be using virtual reality sensory deprivation tanks that browse the internet or something.

Patrick: Yes, Google Glass. But HTML5, it’s coming people.

Louis: All right.

Patrick: Well, speaking of fancy HTML…

Louis: Segue?

Patrick: Myspace released a teaser video…

Louis: Oh, there we go.

Patrick: …for its upcoming design and the story I found this through was the Next Web by Harrison Webber. There’s nothing to play with. There’s nothing to test. You can’t log in. You can’t use it. But it’s just a two-minute video of what the new Myspace is going to look like. You can sign up to be notified when it will come out but that’s about it. When I watched the video it’s – videos are nice, actual implementation is hard.
But from the video it looks like a very clean interface. It looks like a lot of things that have been learned from Facebook and Twitter and maybe changed to be different in appearance, a little more clean, like, a richer media Twitter or a less busy Facebook, so to speak.

Louis: To me it looks like it takes a lot more from Google Plus in its approach than it does from Facebook or Twitter.

Patrick: Okay, now we’re just doing semantics. Okay? Don’t drop Google Plus on me. No, I’m just kidding. Yeah. I think that’s fair to say that Google Plus is cleaner than Facebook and so maybe they’re learning from Google Plus.

Louis: But also just the size of the images and the way the images are sort of tiled is something that Google does and that Facebook doesn’t really do at all. Facebook still has that very linear view. They don’t do a lot of fancy stuff with layout. So do you know what struck me the most out of this video?

Patrick: What?

Louis: Horizontal scrolling.

Patrick: Right.

Louis: That’s not a thing. You can’t just do that.

Patrick: Myspace is breaking the law.

Kevin: Well, you’ve got to think…

Patrick: They’re a renegade. Look out, rebel coming.

Kevin: They’re thinking about Windows 8 here. They’re thinking about the new medium that everyone’s going to be on and about.

Patrick: Horizontal scrolling?

Louis: 2022?

Patrick: I didn’t know that was coming.

Kevin: Windows 8 man, I mean Windows has just defined it as the next thing by releasing Windows 8, right?

Louis: Horizontal scrolling?

Kevin: Yeah, or did they remove that?

Louis: Are your Word documents going to be sideways now?

Patrick: So once upon a time if you had horizontal scrolling that means you designed your website wrong.

Louis: Yeah, I mean this isn’t the case of it’s just too wide and there’s a little scrollbar that means it’s over flow. It’s the entire, or big chunks of the interface seem to be laid out left to right.

Patrick: Yeah, you don’t scroll up and down, you scroll left to right, at least in the video. To see more updates, to see more photos, to see more activity, you go left to right, not up to down. Yeah, that goes against what people are taught about user experience.

Louis: Yeah, I thought that was extremely disconcerting. I mean, I think the interface looks really pretty. I’m not sold on it 100% because I think that there’s actually a fair amount of complexity that was shown there and I think that Facebook can get away with that because people know their terminology. But if you’re trying to do something that’s targeted at everyone in the world you really want to make it really simple.
It looked like there was a lot of stuff in it and the methods of interacting with photos were kind of unconventional. I know doing unconventional interactions can be cool. It’s like, “Oh, to do this you just circle your mouse around it three times and then it opens,” doing fancy interactions.

But I think that with the space of social networks at least where people are accustomed to mostly Facebook and Twitter and to a lesser extent Google Plus, that kind of single page scroll down, click on something to make it bigger, is really the safe approach and I’m not sure how successfully you can be breaking that mold.
I’d be happy to be proved wrong if this takes off. One thing, though, I did find really interesting is that it looked like it was, for people who have a Myspace sort of fan page – I don’t know if that’s a thing or whether it’s on Myspace it’s just a regular account or how that works.

Patrick: Right.

Louis: But for artists or brands that use Myspace to promote it seemed like the built-in analytics tools and ways of interacting with fans were really interesting. I don’t know if you caught that in the video towards the end.

Patrick: Yeah, I did catch that kind of preview of analytics for, I don’t know what functionality that is. I haven’t used Myspace in while, so maybe this is something new. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is where they’re helping you to identify your most influential fans, where the most fan activity is geographically, and so on and so forth. I think that looked pretty cool.

Louis: Yeah, that stuff looks really interesting because at the end of the day if they get brands and artists and musicians using the platform as their main point of contact with their fans then the fans will follow. To be fair, Facebook fan pages as a way of keeping in touch with artists or Twitter as a way of keeping in touch with artists is pretty limited, right? There’s not a lot of multimedia. You don’t really get much exposure to the music directly and Myspace has the potential to do a lot better at that.

Patrick: Right. I have a feeling that you are not going to be happy if someone says, “Louis Simoneau is the man who was proven wrong by Myspace.” I have a feeling you will not be happy if you’re proven wrong.

Louis: Well, when you put it that way, no one wants to be the guy who was proven wrong by Myspace. All I’m saying is that with regards to user interface if you can do something really innovative and have it work and create a new user interface paradigm in some way, if you can make people scroll horizontally as a way to view their timeline that’s wonderful, because that means we have more options available to us as interactions right?

Patrick: Yeah, we discussed the sale of Myspace to specific media back on episode 120 in July of 2011 and part of that deal was that Justin Timberlake became a co-owner, a move that I liked and still like, because it spoke to Myspace’s strengths at the time, which is really music and entertainment. They have this great music licensing. I don’t think a lot of people realize that is they did have good licenses in place with the labels, with the right people for music on Myspace, pre-Spotify, pre a lot of things where you could just listen to full albums on Myspace.
They still have that and it’s always felt like their strength is in that music area. It’s almost like they hunkered down for a while to focus on that and when I see this video I think of that as them trying to again stake more of a mainstream claim. Not that music is not mainstream, but they were focusing on that for a while which was a good idea. But this feels like more of a play to get people to spend time on Myspace instead of Facebook, Twitter and whatnot.
Even though they show clearly that you can import your Facebook friends and it’ll have those connection features, some of which they’ve already started integrating. Yeah, to me it feels like they’re trying to make a play back into that kind of generic social networking space that Facebook dominates and Google Plus is trying to make inroads in, and Twitter kind of continues to creep up with more functionality. So, yes, that was my observation.

Kevin: If I could put a word in here, I really feel like – I’m kind of being a jokester, but I feel like all the Apple Ping users are just going to flee to this thing. I don’t know. That’s just kind of my vote.

Louis: Aw. All right, that’s a cheap date, but we’ll pay it.

Kevin: Okay.

Patrick: Ping, none of us really use Ping, right?

Louis: Can we have a moment of silence for Ping?

Kevin: Yes, please. I shed a tear there.

Patrick: Because I was going to – who’s going to jokingly end this silence? I was waiting. Who’s going to be the one?

Louis: All right, well I think on that note it’s a perfect time to dive into our host spotlights for this week. Who’s got something awesome on the internet that they want share? I’m sure Patrick does.

Patrick: Well I appreciate the vote of confidence. I’ll do my best. So my spotlight is the Facebook page for Game Master Hour, now if you were a Nintendo fan in the 80′s and early 90s and especially if you had a Nintendo Power subscription, you were familiar with this guy, Howard Philips. He was Nintendo’s original game master. That was his title. He played all the games. He knew how they all worked. He advised the company on what games to release in the U.S. and he was Howard in the popular Howard & Nester cartoons that were in Nintendo Power.
So, his Facebook page that I just learned about recently contains all these cool kind of nostalgic memories, behind the scenes info, even game prototypes and what they looked like. Like games that weren’t released that he still has, like unlabeled cartridges and what not and it’s just this really crazy journey to the past of, kind of more of the NES but also some SNES days. If you were a part of that time and you played those systems it’s really fun to read through all this information and to see the pictures also.

Kevin: Yeah, this is actually really, really awesome.

Patrick: Yes, I concur.

Kevin: I have a second to this motion.

Louis: Oh, awesome. So my spotlight this week is something that I’m fairly certain that every one of our listeners has already seen. But I just want to cover my bases just in case because it’s that bad ass. Can we say bad ass? Do we have the clean tag on iTunes or something? I don’t even know what qualifies as…

Patrick: You were talking about the donkey, right?

Louis: Yeah, exactly.

Patrick: Okay, so it’s clean. It’s clean.

Louis: It’s an ill link. Yeah, so it’s a particular XKCD comic strip from I think last week, last Friday or Wednesday. Its simply called “Click and Drag”. I don’t want to spoil it so just if you haven’t seen it yet go check it out, and “Click and Drag”. I apologize if you get RSI you can’t blame them.

Patrick: If you get what?

Louis: RSI.

Patrick: RSI? What’s that abbreviation for?

Louis: Repetitive Strain Injury.

Patrick: There we go, okay. I was thinking carpal tunnel syndrome but that’s not RSI.

Stephan: How big is this thing?

Patrick: That’s what I was wondering. We don’t have to give it away, but when do you stop?

Louis: I think someone said that…

Kevin: It’s an algorithm that draws random objects forever, like, that would be awesome.

Louis: Yeah, I know.

Patrick: That would be devious.

Stephan: That would.

Louis: Have you guys seen this comic?

Kevin: I have not.

Patrick: I have, yes.

Stephan: I saw it. I thought it was awesome.

Louis: So it measures in at 165,888 by 79,872 pixels, or 1.3 terapixels. The full comic would fit on 4,212 iPad screens arranged in an 81 x 52 grid.

Patrick: So is he selling posters of this?

Louis: I think it would be something like – I can’t remember. Someone explained what the actual, like, if it was printed to scale how big it would be.

Kevin: I’m going to use this image as my encryption for my server whitewall.

Patrick: That sounds wrong. The research department is working on this. That’s why we’re paused right now.

Kevin: I found a power plant. I’ve gone a ways and I’ve found a power plant.

Louis: Someone here is saying that printed at 300 dpi it would be 46 feet wide.

Patrick: Okay.

Louis: So it’s pretty huge. It’s massive.

Kevin: Found a whale.

Patrick: Yeah, Kevin’s accomplishments, it’s like medals. He’s unlocked a whale. Oh, my gosh. You made it, power plant unlocked.

Kevin: There’s something shooting a long beam into the sky after the whale, and it doesn’t have an end. It’s like I’m going into outer-space.

Patrick: You know what the next episode of the podcast will be? Instead of an interview, we’re going to have Kevin do a walkthrough of this graphic. He’s going to just walk you through the whole thing.

Louis: All right, now we’ve lost Kevin. So, maybe Stephen should go with the next spotlight.

Stephan: Mine is this photo series by Ingledow Art Photography. It’s essentially a photo series that he made of him and his daughter, and it’s called, “World’s Best Father”. Most people are going to probably find the images just wrong, but I think it’s hilarious. I’m sure somebody’s offended by this, but I think it’s a great way and I think his daughter will love it when she gets older just because it’s so funny.
It’s probably, it looks like 25 images, and he took some time to put into these. So, he’s got things where he’s practicing to be a ballerina.

Patrick: Yeah, this is pretty cute.

Louis: They are very cute.

Stephan: It’s just, I think it’s funny. He took that much time to make something for probably not – he’s not going to make any money off this.

Patrick: He’s going to make social media money, Stephen, and that is as good as gold.

Stephan: Is that priceless?

Patrick: Yes, priceless.

Louis: I can hear Kevin still clicking and dragging.

Kevin: I found the tractor.

Patrick: So, what’s your spotlight Kevin, and it can’t be that comic or a thing inside the comic?

Kevin: So, my spotlight is the tractor at pixel 25,013.

Patrick: Oh, that’s too – that’s like jumping the shark here.

Kevin: So I actually have something on GitHub.

Patrick: Okay.

Kevin: I was meaning to do basically on one of my projects, I kind of cheat because what I’m working on I can use in the show. So, I needed to do basically an iFrame proxy. So, I found this project on GitHub. I haven’t really implemented it yet, but there aren’t many issues and it’s been starred by enough people to where I feel like it’s fairly stable and secure. Again, I haven’t used it yet but it was one of those things like, I’m creating an embed using JavaScript for basically a web app.
I need to be able to dynamically resize the iFrame based on if you hit Submit within a form and that form, say, throws a bunch of errors, well that error changes the heights and dimensions of the actual site that’s being embedded so that needs to be reflected to the end user within the parent domain. So, basically what you can do with an iFrame proxy is… Well, the way iFrames work in the first place, not to get too technical, is you have a domain, and that domain can interact with any iFrame that uses the same domain.
So what happens is, if you embed an iFrame to another website, Wufoo is a great example of this… So let’s say you embed an iFrame that’s Wufoo into your website. Well, Wufoo isn’t the same domain as your website, so Wufoo can’t communicate with your website. But if Wufoo implements an iFrame that points to your website, then the iFrame within Wufoo uses the same domain as your website so those two iFrames can communicate.
Since parent iFrames can communicate to their children, you can send it basically from your top level domain to Wufoo, and then Wufoo can send it to its iFrame of your website again. Then that website, which is your website, if this isn’t too confusing, sends it back over to the top level site because it’s the same domain. Anyway, so that’s iFrame proxy stuff.

Louis: So you’re saying it’s basically like Inception.

Kevin: Yes, absolutely. So if you could imagine your browser having a dream within a dream, this is what Inception is. It’s called Porthole.

Louis: All right, we will check links to that, obviously as well as all of our other spotlights and all the stories we’ve discussed on our website.

Patrick: I would like to point out one thing about the spotlights, and that is that Kevin was the only one who did a development- related spotlight, so I feel like I’ve successfully corrupted the rest of you to join me in the off-top spotlight area. Kevin was the only one…

Kevin: I’m resilient.

Patrick: …who maintained the topic, so congratulations, Kevin. Welcome aboard the rest of you.

Louis: It’s good to be here, Patrick.

Kevin: I found an oil drill by the way.

Stephan: Oh, my God.

Patrick: But meanwhile, I don’t know if he gets full credit because he spent the rest of the spotlight playing with the comic. So, anyway, it’s been a fun show.

Louis: It’s been a good show. All right, so who are we and why are we here?

Kevin: Oh, thank you. I am Kevin Dees. You can find me at kevindees.cc, and @KevinDees on Twitter, and right now you can find me at xkcd.com. 1110.

Patrick: Yes. I’m Patrick O’Keefe of the iFroggy Network. I blog at managingcommunities.com, on Twitter @iFroggy, I-F-R-O-G-G-Y.

Stephan: I’m Stephen Segraves. You can find me at badice.com or on Twitter @SSegraves.

Louis: I’m Louis Simoneau. You can find me on Twitter @RSSaddict. You can also find SitePoint on Twitter @SitePointdotcom. That’s SitePoint D-O-T-C-O-M. If you want to find the podcast on the web, go to sitepoint.com/podcast all of our past episodes are there, your can leave a comment, links to all of the stories and spotlights we discussed during the show and you can find a full transcript of the show as well. If you want to email us, the address is podcast@sitepoint.com and of course you can find us on iTunes as well. Bye for now, and thanks for listening.

Kevin: I made it to the end by the way..

Produced by Karn Broad.

Audio Transcription by SpeechPad.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

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  • http://essentialsoftheonlinebusiness.com Chris Trynkiewicz

    This was indeed a very fun episode!

    As for standards – I personally care about them and tell my clients validation is a good for checking if the site is well done (doesn’t apply to cutting edge sites). Most of sites created still don’t use HTML5 I guess so there’s no reason for them not to be valid.

    As for myspace – yeah, last resort, although I doubt people have such bandwidths to use it like on the video.

    Kevin: so your find makes it possible to make cross-domain XMLHttpRequest calls, correct?

  • http://xalophim.net xalophim

    As for myspace – yeah, last resort, although I doubt people have such bandwidths to use it like on the video.

  • http://kevindees.cc Kevin Dees

    Basically using this method allows you to communicate back to a parent window from the child iframe.

    You only need to have access to both domains to get it to work. Or, basically that you can add a script to both sites. Its an old trick but I only recently needed to use it.

    http://css-tricks.com/cross-domain-iframe-resizing/