11 October 2005 11 am edt

In today’s Report we present a swell new issue of A List Apart Magazine, announce an after-party for An Event Apart, explore signs that either Microsoft or the Web 2.0 bubble is in trouble, and find out the best way to report bugs in Apple’s Safari browser.

ALA 205: strategy and findability

In a spectacular Hulk-colored issue of A List Apart, for people who make websites:

Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia (or Build a Website for No Reason)
by Greg Storey
If you don’t know what the website you’re working on is supposed to do, it’s going to be really hard to succeed. Greg Storey offers a simple web strategy development process for everyone.
Ambient Findability: Findability Hacks
by Peter Morville
In this excerpt from his new book, Ambient Findability, Peter Morville explains why findability is a required element of good design and engineering — and what that means for you.

Post-Event Apart Happy Hour and a Half

Can’t attend An Event Apart but want to meet and mingle anyway? Join us after the show at The Public House in beautiful downtown Philadelphia for a Happy Hour and a Half. Everyone is welcome! An Event Apart’s Happy Hour and a Half is sponsored by Pixelworthy, specializing in accessible, standards-based solutions for small and medium-sized projects.

It’s 1999 all over again

Rockefeller saved his fortune by pulling out of the stock market just before it crashed in 1929. Story goes he knew it was time to pull out of the market when a shoeshine boy offered him stock tips.

I’m not sure why I am reminded of that story, but at least a dozen people I’ve lent bus money to have become gazillionaires in the past few weeks.

A key aspect of the first bubble was that participants felt they could do anything. For instance, they thought they could topple Microsoft. In the mid-1990s, Sun and Netscape banded together to challenge Microsoft’s office software hegemony. With Netscape’s browser and Sun’s Java, the partners thought, all business would be done using open-source, web-based software; the crinkle of cellophane crisply unfolding from new boxes of Microsoft Office would go the way of the clopping of horse-drawn carriages and the poignant cries of chimney sweeps.

It didn’t work out that way, but Sun is trying it again, this time with Google. Less hyped but equally intriguing is the work of the OpenDocument Fellowship:

As a true Open Standard, OpenDocument is available for the benefit of all. It levels the competitive playing field and provides wider opportumities for innovation, diversity and choice. This choice and diversity is a natural evolutionary consequence of the market maturity of general productivity software. We believe all responsible citizens in the digital market place will embrace ODF as the central focus for document production.

Signs and portents these be. Whether the bell tolls for Microsoft or Web 2.0, we shall see.

Bubbles, bangles, and bug reports

Time was, if you thought you’d found a bug in Apple’s Safari web browser, you either had to click the bug button at the top right or send email to Dave Hyatt. These methods worked but took time and provided only one-way communication with no visibility into the bug after it was submitted.

But WebKit was open-sourced at WWDC 2005. Bugs filed in the open-source database go directly to Safari engineers and open-source contributors, and anyone can see the status of a bug at any time. (For instance, here’s a report showing Safari 1.3/2.0’s problem with A List Apart 3.0.)