Useful Links: Open Letter, Blog Action Day, Free Culture, Usability, HTML5

An Open Letter to Mark Shuttleworth at Geek Feminism Blog points the spotlight at another incident in this year’s round of dismissive-to-women conference remarks.

The topic for Blog Action Day this year is Climate Change. Hope all you bloggers out there will participate.

.eduGuru reviews Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture and says,

This is not a book about education or law, this is a book designed to educate.  Because of our proximity to such issues, I think it is critical that we all educate ourselves on the changes that are taking place, and the impact it is going to have on us as we move forward and try to support schools, professors, and students in their pursuit of an open learning environment.

10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines at Smashing Magazine has some excellent guidelines. This would make a good reading assignment for web design students.

The HTML5 DOM and RDFa talks about a known problem,  in a clear and interesting way.

Useful LInks: Twitter apps, RDFa, WCAG 2.0

There’s another fun web app to use with Twitter. It’s called Twitter Grader. It isn’t quite as useful as some of the apps growing up around Twitter, but it’s fun to play with and get your “grade.”

RDFa, Drupal and a Practical Semantic Web at CMS Wire is a terrific piece in clear language that explains what a sematic web is and how  RDFa fits into that concept. It also will help RDFa newbies grasp what it’s all about.

WebAIM’s WCAG 2.0 Checklist. WebAIM has simplified and organized the WCAG specs into an easy to use format with simplified explanations of how you can meet the standards. This would make a great handout or required reading assignment to add to your students’ reading lists. It could also be useful as a grading rubric for assignments that are required to be accessible.

An RDFa extension for Dreamweaver

Sitepoint got a scoop on announcing Fast Publishing of RDFa with Dreamweaver.

Martin McEvoy has just released the RDFa Documents extension which will (soon) be available via Adobe Exchange once approved. For now you can grab it directly from Martin’s site: v0.1.

I installed the v0.1 extension. The Sitepoint article gives an overview of what it can do. Here’s what I’ve learned about it.

You may recall my  my request for an RDFa feature in Dreamweaver. (See Dear Adobe, Here’s an Idea for You.) What I was hoping for was a pulldown list of the DC properties that could be applied to tags. This extension supposedly has a tag library, but I don’t see it.

What you can do is create the DOCTYPE you need in Dreamweaver. In the File > Convert menu, you now have this option.

That creates the following in Dreamweaver:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML+RDFa 1.0//EN" "http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/DTD/xhtml-rdfa-1.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />

The real question, however, is what kind of code hints do you get for adding Dublin Core meta data to tags. The article at Sitepoint made it sound like there were RDFa code  hints for various tags. I don’t see that in the v.01 version that I tried. Here’s an example. What if I want to add  property="dc:title" to an <h1> or <h2> element? Here are the code hints for a heading element in Code View with the extension installed:

code hints for an h1 element

The long list of hints for an h1 includes nothing to encourage the use of RDFa meta data.

I don’t think Sitepoint made up the statement that there would be a tag library. But it isn’t found in the code hints. Here’s the information about the extension from the Extension Manager.

the Extension Manager description

You see a reference to the fact that the extension contains an HTML TagLibrary with RDFa attributes.  My problem is, where is that TagLibrary? Is it not yet available in v.01? Will be there when the extension is uploaded to the Adobe Exchange?

I’m really excited about this Dreamweaver extension. I think it answers a need. But I’m not seeing an effective way to make use of it at this point.

Dear Adobe, Here’s an idea for you

Dear Adobe,

I know you’ve been learning about RDFa (Resource Description Framework). You guys pay attention. I’d love it if the folks working on Dreamweaver could add some RDFa support to the next version of Dreamweaver.

Here’s my vision of this. The already existing metadata developed by The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative could simply be added as a menu, perhaps a new DC menu. Using that menu, a developer could quickly select from a list of existing properties and insert them in semantically appropriate locations on a web page.

Here’s an example of some RDFa code from the W3C:

<div xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/">
<h2 property="dc:title">The trouble with Bob</h2>
<h3 property="dc:creator">Alice</h3>
...
</div>

Wouldn’t it be lovely if a busy front end developer using Dreamweaver could just grab the xmlns or one of the dc properties from a menu and apply it to the proper semantic element?

The other day I heard  Michael (TM) Smith say,

Semantic markup is markup that encodes meaning into content. Semantic markup transforms a document into an information source. The information becomes usable in unanticipated ways when the structure is reusable.

I know that the hand coders and the standardistas out here in web page land will take to RDF without your help. But what about Adobe’s core user group? Don’t those developers need to be describing their data with machine-readable structured meta data, too?

I  hope you will give the idea some consideration.

Sincerely,
Dreamweaver’s  biggest fan,
Virginia