It’s that time again. Spring and pheromones are in the air, and 11,000 web geeks are about to descend on beauteous Austin, TX for our industry’s version of the TED Conference plus Spring Break, SXSW Interactive.
Along with nearly all of Happy Cog, I’ll be there. Join us, won’t you?
Friday, March 12, at 3:30 PM, come to Battledecks 2010 in Room 18ABCD, where I’ll compete against the likes of Avery Edison, Ted Rheingold, Mike Monteiro, and SeoulBrother Number 1 Albert McMurry to see who can create the best impromptu presentation in response to random slides.
Saturday, March 13, at 5:00 PM, open your mind to New Publishing and Web Content, where I’ll explore the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of print and web (and hybrid) book and magazine publishing with the brilliant Erin Kissane, Lisa Holton, Mandy Brown, and Paul Ford.
Also on Saturday, March 13, beginning around 10:00 PM, join the fine folks of Happy Cog and 700 screaming karaoke fans for the best official party of SXSW, Ok! Happy Cog’aoke 2, brought to you by Happy Cog and sponsored by these good folks.
If you can’t be with us at SXSW, please watch this space and my Twitter feed for photos, links, etc.
And if you aren’t attending and couldn’t care less about SXSW, you might want to unplug for the next six days, because the internets, they will be filthy with SXSW tweetage, bloggage, Flickrage, retweets, retumbling &c.
Books Not Dead
Headed to SXSW Interactive? Concerned about the future of books, magazines, and websites? Attend “New Publishing and Web Content,” a panel I’m hosting on the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and new (internet hybrid) book publishing and online magazine publishing, and how these fields intersect with content strategy and client services.
Joining me in a thoughtful exploration of new and old business models and creative challenges will be people who’ve spent a decade or two butting up against and reinventing these boundaries:
Mandy Brown, creative director, Etsy; former creative director (web and print), W.W. Norton, the oldest and largest publishing traditional house owned wholly by its employees; contributing editor, A List Apart Magazine; publisher, A Working Library; and co-director (with Jason Santa Maria and me), A Book Apart, a new publisher of mid-length books “for people who make websites.” (We’re talking book-books, made of paper, printed, bound, and distributed—not PDFs.)
(What else am I doing at SXSW Interactive? Here’s my schedule so far. I also hope to see some of you at OK Cog’aoke II, SXSW Interactive’s premiere karaoke event and best party, hosted by your friends at Happy Cog.)
A Look Back
Machine-tagged photos from An Event Apart San Francisco 2009, ranked by “interestingness.” By Kris Krug, Pete Karl II, Jeffrey Zeldman, and others. Featuring Nicole Sullivan, Andy Budd, and many more.
In “New Publishing and Web Content,” a proposed panel for SXSW Interactive, I will lead book and new media publisher and entrepreneur Lisa Holton, designer, writer, and W.W. Norton creative director Mandy Brown, novelist, web geek, and Harper’s editor Paul Ford, and writer, editor, and content strategist Erin Kissane in an honest and freewheeling exploration of the creative, strategic, and marketing challenges of traditional and online publishing—and how content strategy and design can help.
Topics covered will include:
What is content strategy?
For magazines that are born digital, what opportunities and challenges does the internet offer editors and publishers?
For traditional magazines, what opportunities and challenges does the internet offer editors and publishers?
How can traditional book publishers harness the energy and talent of the online community?
What new forms are made possible by the intersection of traditional publishing and social networking?
How can design facilitate reading?
How can design encourage readers to become writers and publishers?
What is the future of magazines and newspapers?
What is the future of books?
How can editors and publishers survive and thrive in this new climate?
I just spent an intensely magical two days discussing web standards with Nicole Sullivan, Dan Cederholm, Jeremy Keith, Eric Meyer, Wendy Chisholm, Tantek Çelik, and Ethan Marcotte in Happy Cog’s New York studio. (Photos.) We laughed, we cried, we thin-sliced the changing semantics of the b element.
Join Tantek Celik Wednesday 12 August at the first-ever microformats workshop to be held in New York City. An Event Apart fans get 40% off the advance price of $195 (regular $375) with discount code aea40 when you order by midnight tonight.
In the past year, microformats support has been launched and built into products and services by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Yelp and numerous other companies, as well as nearly every new social network website.
Taught by industry leader Tantek Çelik, the workshop will cover just about everything you need to know to get started with microformats.
In half a day you will learn how to add key well-established microformats to your website to benefit your users, help your website’s findability in search engines, and provide a standards based API for web developers.
You will learn not just the theory of microformats; you’ll also get down and dirty with some hands-on markup:
What are microformats? Get a good grounding in the kind of problems microformats are designed to solve… and find out where the limits of microformats are (by design).
Foundations for microformats. it’s important to understand the value of meaningful markup before implementing microformats. This will get you thinking about how you should be marking up your content using plain ol’ semantic HTML before adding any microformat enhancements.
Incremental building blocks. From simple elemental microformats that consist of nothing more than adding an attribute, right up to compound microformats that can be mashed up together, you’ll meet them all.
Smell the microformats. Just as you can develop a nose for wine tasting, you can also develop a sense for spotting which content is just crying out to be microformatted. Once you’ve learned to see these patterns, you’ll never surf the web the same way again.
Add microformats to your sites. Using a combination of exercises, this workshop will teach you to how to spice up your content with semantic goodness. If you’re up to the challenge and bring your laptop, by the end of the workshop you’ll have added microformats to your site in HTML4, XHTML, or HTML5.
Powerful user experience enhancements. Add powerful one-click contact info download and event subscription functionality for your users to easily add your site to their address books and calendars.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With both Google and Yahoo now indexing microformats and using them in search results, it’s critical to make sure your site properly marks up contacts, events, and reviews with microformats for search engines to discover, index, and display better results to users.
Over the weekend, as thoughtful designers gathered at Typecon 2009 (“a letterfest of talks, workshops, tours, exhibitions, and special events created for type lovers at every level”), the subject of web fonts was in the air and on the digital airwaves. Worthwhile reading on web fonts and our other recent obsessions includes:
Responding to a question I raised here in comments on Web Fonts Now, for Real, Richard Fink explains the thinking behind Ascender Corp.’s EOT Lite proposal . The name “EOT Lite” suggests that DRM is still very much part of the equation. But, as Fink explains it, it’s actually not.
EOT Lite removes the two chief objections to EOT:
it bound the EOT file, through rootstrings, to the domain name;
it contained MTX compression under patent by Monotype Imaging, licensed by Microsoft for this use.
Essentially, then, an “EOT Lite file is nothing more than a TTF file with a different file extension” (and an unfortunate but understandable name).
A brief, compelling read for a published spec that might be the key to real fonts on the web.
Where does all of this net out? For @ilovetypography, “While we’re waiting on .webfont et al., there’s Typekit.”
(We announced Typekit here on the day it debuted. Our friend Jeff Veen’s company Small Batch, Inc. is behind Typekit, and Jason Santa Maria consults on the service. Jeff and Jason are among the smartest and most forward thinking designers on the web—the history of Jeff’s achievements would fill more than one book. We’ve tested Typekit, love its simple interface, and agree that it provides a legal and technical solution while we wait for foundries to standardize on one of the proposals that’s now out there. Typekit will be better when more foundries sign on; if foundries don’t agree to a standard soon, Typekit may even be the ultimate solution, assuming the big foundries come on board. If the big foundries demur, it’s unclear whether that will spell the doom of Typekit or of the big foundries.)
Applauding HTML 5’s introduction of semantic page layout elements (“Goodbye div soup, hello semantic markup”), author Jeff Starr shows how HTML 5 facilitates cleaner, simpler markup, and explains how CSS can target HTML 5 elements that lack classes and IDs. The piece ends with a free, downloadable goodie for WordPress users. (The writer is the author of the forthcoming Digging into WordPress.)
Web Fonts Now, for Real: David Berlow of The Font Bureau publishes a proposal for a permissions table enabling real fonts to be used on the web without binding or other DRM. — 16 July 2009
Web Fonts Now (How We’re Doing With That): Everything you ever wanted to know about real fonts on the web, including commercial foundries that allow @font-face embedding; which browsers already support @font-face; what IE supports instead; Håkon Wium Lie, father of CSS, on @font-face at A List Apart; the Berlow interview at A List Apart; @font-face vs. EOT; Cufón; SIFR; Cufón combined with @font-face; Adobe, web fonts, and EOT; and Typekit, a new web service offering a web-only font linking license on a hosted platform; — 23 May 2009
HTML 5 is a mess. Now what? A few days ago on this site, John Allsopp argued passionately that HTML 5 is a mess. In response to HTML 5 activity leader Ian Hickson’s comment here that, “We don’t need to predict the future. When the future comes, we can just fix HTML again,” Allsopp said “This is the only shot for a generation” to get the next version of markup right. Now Bruce Lawson explains just why HTML 5 is “several different kind of messes.” Given all that, what should web designers and developers do about it? — 16 July 2009
Web Standards Secret Sauce: Even though Firefox and Opera offered powerfully compelling visions of what could be accomplished with web standards back when IE6 offered a poor experience, Firefox and Opera, not unlike Linux and Mac OS, were platforms for the converted. Thanks largely to the success of the iPhone, Webkit, in the form of Safari, has been a surprising force for good on the web, raising people’s expectations about what a web browser can and should do, and what a web page should look like. — 12 July 2009
In Defense of Web Developers: Pushing back against the “XHTML is bullshit, man!” crowd’s using the cessation of XHTML 2.0 activity to condescend to—or even childishly glory in the “folly” of—web developers who build with XHTML 1.0, a stable W3C recommendation for nearly ten years, and one that will continue to work indefinitely. — 7 July 2009
XHTML DOA WTF: The web’s future isn’t what the web’s past cracked it up to be. — 2 July 2009