Tags: evolution

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Today on 24 Ways

Drew has clearly forgotten how much work he put into last year’s advent calendar because he’s only gone and relaunched 24 Ways this year.

It being the 18th of December, the webby festivities are well underway so be sure to read through all the morsels that have been published thus far. Today it’s my turn to pop something out of the calendar. I’ve written a piece called Boost Your Hyperlink Power, dedicated to the humble hyperlink. It’s mostly about the little used rel and rev attributes.

I’ve also included some microformats in there. I’m particularly pleased with the example I came up with for vote-links:

I agree with <a href="http://richarddawkins.net/home" rev="vote-for">Richard Dawkins</a>
about those <a href="http://www.icr.org/" rev="vote-against">creationists</a>.

I’ll take any chance I can to strike a blow for science. Mind you, I’ve got nothing on Patrick: he’s managed to create entire case studies in his new book that champion evolutionary theory.

Maybe we should form a web ring of Humanist web developers: explaining semantic markup whilst battling against the forces of superstition and ignorance.

Darwinian webolution

Odeo have released an embedded recorder that you can add to your own webpages.

Del.icio.us now offers private bookmarks.

Flickr now marks up profiles using the hCard microformat.

viewing source on my Flickr profile

Something that became very clear — both at the Carson Workshops Summit and at the many web app panels at South by Southwest — is that websites like these are never finished. Instead, the site evolves, growing (and occasionally dropping) features over time.

Traditionally, the mental model for websites has been architectural. Even the term itself, website, invites a construction site comparison. Plans are drawn up and approved, then the thing gets built, then it’s done.

That approach doesn’t apply to the newer, smarter websites that are dominating the scene today. Heck, it doesn’t even apply to older websites like Amazon and Google who have always been smart about constantly iterating changes.

Steve Balmer was onto something when he said “developers, developers, developers, ad nauseam”. Websites, like Soylent Green, are people. Without the people improving and tweaking things, the edifice of the site structure will crack.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to stop thinking about the work I do on the Web in terms of building and construction: I need to find new analogies from the world of biology.

Update: Paul Hammond told me via IM about a book called “How Buildings Learn: What happens after they’re built”. Maybe I don’t need to abandon the architectural analogies completely.