LakTEK

A WEBIE with his own style ....

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Web Standards, Accessibility and Sri Lanka

Today web designing industry is focused more on standard based web development and it had developed to the extent of “Each web page must be standard compliant and semantically correct.” This gives no room for designers who still use tables for layout handling and WYSWYG editor such as Frontpage to create pages. Another aspect that comes with Semantics and Standards is the Accessibility. This means allowing using a web site for a disabled person without any discrimination (I hope I got my definition right).

The real value of semantically correct web page occurs when it is accessed through a screen reader or a brail system. I personally believe if every web site adopt semantics and standards internet will be the most easiest medium to gain knowledge for the disabled. Compared to the costs and time of Brail books and Audio Cassettes, Internet is far more cheaper and they could access information as it releases (no need to wait years for a Brail version of a book). They only have to get a screen reader or a brail reader/writer. This is what the real value of internet. Truly it vanishes the boundaries and limits.

Let’s think how this applies to Sri Lanka. When it comes to the rights of the disabled, we are far behind. Very few buildings are “Wheelchair Accessible” and public transport haven’t even thought of disabled. So how Internet Accessibility matters to the country like us ? Few weeks ago, I watched a television interview with a professor at Paradeniya University, who is visually impaired (forgive me for not remembering his name). He integrate computer and internet seamlessly for his academic work. It’s a one instance and I don’t have an idea how much they use internet for their education in the schools for disabled. If they can really get the maximum out of internet, they could be par on match with others in knowledge and education. Only matter of fact is adequate technology and accessible resources.

Another point is if we could get many services online and make them accessible (at least banking and other government form-filling processes), it will give the disabled a power in doing their work on their own.

So I guess it’s nice if all the web designers in Sri Lanka will give a concern in producing accessible web sites in future.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Art of Professional Cricket ~ Let's Learn from Aussies

Looking at the Austrailian squad for the today's match against South Africa, I noticed there have left out Gilchrist and given the gloves to Haddin. That's how Aussies play the game. Let's think about it in Sri Lankan Scenerio. Gilchrist being the vice captain and also one of prolific run-scorers in the past, chances of being dropped is 0.1%.
 
That's why Aussies remains in the no.1 and we scroll down to no.7. Now when I checked the scores again Jaques, the debutant who opened the innings was on fire and nearing his half-century. They don't need 10 ODIs to adopt to the game and they know if they do not seize the opportunity there are another 10 to grab it.
 
Hope our cricketers and authorities may look at the game in this aspect, Let's step aside personal benefits play for the victory of the country.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

:Symbols in Ruby

One thing that kept bugging me when I started using RoR (Ruby on Rails) was the expressions preceded by a colon (:id, :link). After little googling I found out these are called Symbols and it's does mainly save space by acting as an identifier for a set of strings that has to be used on several times in a code (There are other usages such as defining a method name). 
 
Definition for symbols in the book Programming Ruby,
A Ruby symbol is the internal representation of a name. You construct the symbol for a name by preceding the name with a colon. A particular name will always generate the same symbol, regardless of how that name is used within the program.
 
 
So :Symbols is no longer a queer, afterall it's a helper.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I'm going on Rails..Bye Bye PHP

Eventhough, I had to use PHP for my development work, I was never really comfortable with its syntax. # @ $ ; spreading all over the code was unreadable and messy. Crossing the 'T' and dotting the 'I' stuff were the least likely things of me from kindergarten. So most of my development time in PHP wasted on syntax errors rather than focusing on the code. I knew I'm not alone in this scenario when 37signals' in-house web development framework "Ruby on Rails" hit the industry as a breeze.

Ruby on Rails was first introduced in 2004 and it had moved to from beta to stable version 1.0 . I read its regarded as one of the trends in web design for 2006 in .NET magazine, which made me to give it a try. Since then I'm fallen love with Ruby :) and I'm starting a sweet journey with her on rails. So if you also want to start a the journey with her, wait no more, coz this is FUN !!

I hope to share my experiences with you during this journey; but keep in mind I'm not a ~guru~ so I may also break my neck.........

The base station will be www.rubyonrails.com where you will find documentation, wikis, blogs, forums, screenplays and of course downloads for RoR (Ruby on Rails).
I recommend the following tutorials to start off with the game; also don't forget to watch some screenplays as an appeitizer.

Rolling with Ruby on Rails, Curt Hibbs 20-Jan2005 http://www.onlamp.com/pub/a/onlamp/2005/01/20/rails.html

Fast-track your Web apps with Ruby on Rails, David Mertz 14-Jun2005 http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/linux/library/l-rubyrails/

Four Days on Rails, John McCreesh - http://www.rails4days.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Rails4Days.pdf

These tutorials includes all the aspects of RoR that a novice should understand. In RoR blog also you will find many useful resources. Stay in touch with my blog, I will bring you the latest, real-life solutions and tips in Ruby on Rails.



Sunday, January 01, 2006

Perspectives for the Year 2006

First of all I must wish all my blog readers a very happy and prosperous new year.
 
Another exciting year has gone to the end and unfolds another fresh 365 days to pack with joy, fun, challenges and experiences. 2006 is a year of transition for me, my country and as well as to my industry. I'm going to start-up playing the dual roles as a University Student and a Web Developer, which would be fun yet challenging. 'Deadlines' will keep bugging me through out the year.
 
Talking about my country, fresh with newly elected president will face period of uncertainty of war and peace. All of us as Sri Lankans are wish the continuity of a proper peace process.(without any bomb blasts).
 
Industry wise will have to move with the stabilizing trend WEB 2.0. I hope to fill my toolkit with plenty of AJAX, css/xhtml, PHP and also my ever-loving flash. Also mobile compliant standard based designing will be my prime move.
 
Also I hope to refresh my blog with more usable layout and with more spiced up content. Hopefully to have a good blog audience for blog.
 
So leave any of your ideas or thoughts which may help me to bring you a blog that will not bore you.