Archive for June, 2012

Why Should I Care About Semantic HTML?

Semantic HTML is one of those things that, despite it’s value, doesn’t demo well. There’s no flashy animated effects or interaction. For example, I could demo how I replaced a <div> with a <nav> but the resulting page would look and behave exactly the same. The same if I replace something like <div id=”rt4894_sm”> with <div id=”rightpanel”>. In addition, the full value of semantic HTML is often hard to explain. Because of this, you may even still be unfamiliar with what semantic markup is and how to use it. The truth is though, there are a wide variety of ways your web site/application can benefit from semantic markup – this is why a number of new semantic tags were added to HTML5.

Terry Ryan has been an advocate of semantic HTML, even creating a site, along with Raymond Camden, called WhichElement that tries to help you decide when and where to use certain semantic tags. In his latest ADC article, Terry lays out a strong case for why you should care about semantic HTML and the variety of potential benefits of caring about semantics when developing. Terry gives an honest look at the topic, even acknowledging some skepticism about semantic markup. However, to me, that is what makes his argument most compelling – it takes a realistic and pragmatic look at the topic. So, give Terry’s article, “Using Semantic HTML” a read and please feel free to share your thoughts on the topic.

ADC Write & Give update – Q2

The Adobe Developer Connection (ADC) Write and Give Program gave $1,000 USD to charities in the second quarter of 2012. The program acknowledges the writing efforts of our ADC community authors by making a charitable contribution to a charity for each author who publishes content on the ADC. Each author chooses his or her charity from a list of five preselected charities (listed below).

To date the ADC has donated over $68,000 to these charities through the program in recognition of our ADC authors. To our ADC authors, we thank you for sharing your technical expertise with the greater developer community while helping other communities at the same time!

Read on to find out more about the charities that the program supports, and to see the list of authors for this quarter who made these contributions possible!

Benetech: Creates new technology solutions that serve humanity and empower people to improve their lives.

Nature Conservancy: Works to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

Mercy Corp: Alleviates suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities.

Care: Fights global poverty by serving individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world.

Feeding America: Is the nation’s largest charitable hunger-relief organization.

The authors who participated in this program from March 1, 2012 – May 31, 2012 are:

  • Joseph Zimmerman
  • Chris Georgenes
  • Alex Liebert
  • Sarah Northway
  • Ross Przybylski
  • Romuald Quantin
  • John Bender
  • Chris Converse

Thank you, authors, for your contributions to the ADC!

Making PhoneGap Apps Behave More Like Native

PhoneGap offers a load of benefits to developers, allowing them to leverage their HTML/CSS/JavaScript development skills to develop cross-platform mobile applications that take advantage of native hardware and OS features. It also allows you to reuse assets and code from existing mobile web applications. However, when creating a PhoneGap application, you don’t want it to look like simply your web page in a native app wrapper but rather to look and behave like an app.

This can be difficult to achieve, but thankfully there are some tools available to help. One of the most recent tools is the App-UI component library created by Adobe developer  evangelist Andrew Trice. This HTML/JS library creates an application container that follow common mobile application UI patterns including ViewNavigator, SplitViewNavigator and SlidingView and include methods for pushing and popping views.

If you are interested in learning more about the App-UI library, Andrew has written a great tutorial that shows you how to build a movie listing app using the Rotten Tomatoes API and working with the PhoneGap Build service for generating the native files. I was impressed at how easy Andrew has made it to develop native-like apps using this framework. Check out Andrew’s article, “Creating native-like user experiences in PhoneGap with App-UI,” on the ADC.