Archive for November, 2003

target = _blank = annoying (Part II)

I got a lot of good comments on yesterday’s post. So many, in fact, I feel compelled to post a follow-up.

First of all, I should make it clear that I don’t view anyone’s opinions as “wrong.” It’s just a healthy debate which I believe ultimately comes down to preference. Anyway, enough disclaimer. Here it goes:

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target = _blank = annoying

How many people use target=_blank to open links in new browser windows? I used to occasionally do so whenever I felt it made more sense to preserve the content of the window containing the link. Now, however, I feel quite differently. I have come to believe that it should be up to the user to decide where the link should open up: in the same window, in a new window, or in a new tab. I think shift-clicking, command-clicking and right-clicking are well enough understood by the general public at this point that we can all stop assuming we know what the user wants and start letting them choose for themselves.

What really annoys me is when people use target=_blank when linking to other sites because they don’t want the user to leave their website. If you don’t want users to leave your site, don’t put links to other websites on it. And what really annoys me is when people use JavaScript to either resize or reposition your browser for you, as if they know more about how your desktop should be arranged than you do.

Ok, I’ll stop griping now. Just had to blow off some steam. Back to work.

A MAX Retrospective

So how was MAX? How were the Day One and Day Two keynotes? How were the sessions? How was the food? What did you think of Salt Lake City? How was your hotel? Did you get one of those cool rockets from the B-Line Express booth? How did the experience compare to DevCon last year?

I, for one, had a blast. My hotel was nice (but a little far from the conference center, so my legs are still sore). I thought the keynotes were great (especially the DRK portion of Day Two!). The sessions I attended were very informative, and I really enjoyed being in Salt Lake City. It’s actually a beautiful place with good restaurants and breathtaking scenery.

I think what I most enjoyed about MAX was talking to Central developers and really getting a sound understanding of the platform. I have always like and understood Central, but it wasn’t until I started using it that I really started to understand the value of it. I’m looking forward to seeing what the community does with it.

Post your thoughts here, or send them directly to me. I’d like to hear from you.

MAX Update II

I just got out of the day 2 keynote which turned out great. The format was that of a morning talk show. Eileen Stanley played the clueless blond hostess, and Tim Buntel played the cheesy baritone host. They both did a great job. I did a small segment on the DRK, highlighting a Flash extension and Blog Man. I really liked the more casual nature of the day 2 keynote. I think everyone had a great time.

Last night, I went to the Central developer playground. You can find some pictures posted on Community Vision (I’m the one kicking butt at SSX 3). It was a great event with all kinds of games, pizza, beer, and a sneak peak at the Central easter egg.

I have a lunch to go to, and then I will spend the rest of the day in sessions until the event tonight. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but I hear it involves bungie jumping. Hopefully I’ll be around to blog again tomorrow.

By the way, I still have one more DRK 5 CD to give away. I’ll give it to the next person to post a picture of Mike Chambers on Community Vision.

MAX Update

I haven’t had a lot of time to blog since I’ve been here, but quite a lot has happened. First of all, it’s been a blast hanging out with so many great developers in the Flash and ColdFusion communities. I don’t want to start listing names because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but it’s a great group of people who I always look forward to seeing at these events.

I just got out of a session by Danny Dura during which he dissected a Central app. The idea of Central is really growing on me. I’ve always thought it was cool, but now I’m really realizing how much potential it has. I’ve talked to some people here who aren’t quite sure what the advantages of Central apps are over Flash apps embedded in web pages. This is the way I see it:

The browser equivalent to Central would be a collection of bookmarks or favorites pointing to various sites with Flash applications embedded in them. If these applications were important to you, you would presumably visit them daily. The process would be something like:

  1. Go to a bookmark
  2. Log in
  3. Load data
  4. Browse and/or interact with the applications
  5. Go to the next bookmark and start again

Now consider the Central model. Rather than visiting one site at a time, all of your favorite applications are always open, always updating themselves, always caching data, potentially communicating and collaborating, and always ready to alert you in a standard way of something you should be aware of. And since they are running locally, there’s no need to log in. Incremental caching is a very important aspect of Central since it allows you to grab your laptop and go, and still browse information offline that is potentially new to you. Asking what the difference is between Central and Flash on the web is like asking what the difference is between instant messaging and email. The differences may seem subtle, but they are in fact profound.

And speaking of instant messaging, it was announced during the keynote that an AIM and ICQ Central API will be available. That means you will be able to integrate AIM and ICQ instant messaging right into your applications. Incredibly cool! There was a demo of two guys chatting — one with an Central AIM client, and one with the standard Windows client. It was seamless!

The Flex demo was wild. Christophe Coenraets built an awesome RIA right in front of us in about 3 minutes using nothing but a text editor. The crowd was amazed.

Ben Forta did a great job with ColdFusion during the keynote. It kind of seems like ColdFusion isn’t getting a huge amount of attention right now simply because it is so mature and solid at this point. Don’t be fooled, though; there are some great new features in the works. Although we obviously can’t get into specifics, Ben did mention sophisticated reporting and printing capabilities and some interesting new deployment options involving encryption.

If you are here at MAX, come say hi! If you’re not, more to come…

Royale is Now “Flex”

Royale is now officially “Macromedia Flex,” and is now officially in beta (interested in joining?). And Macromedia has officially hired Christophe Coenraets as the official Flex Evangelist. Lot’s of official announcements, which you can read about in an official article on DevNet.

Now I’m officially off to MAX.

Introducing Community Vision (beta)

I just finished installing a beta version of a new application called Community Vision. I’ve been working like mad this weekend trying to get it ready in time for MAX. Community Vision lets anyone email pictures up to 40K as attachments to, and within five minutes, the pictures will automatically get published to Community Vision. The subject of your email will become the picture’s title, and the body (text only) will become the caption. Give it a try and see how it works.

Let me know if you find any issues with Community Vision (it’s still in beta). Also, feel free to email me with suggestions for future versions as I intend to continue to develop Community Vision once MAX is over.

For those of you going to MAX, the first three people to post MAX photographs to Community Vision, then find me at the conference, will get a free copy of DRK 5.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the Community Vision Central front-end. Mike Chambers and I were up late last night discussing it, so I’m sure it won’t be long…

MAXBloggers Now Supports RSS 2.0 Filters

Previously, in order to be able to filter out MAX specific posts from feeds containing posts for multiple categories, MAXBloggers’ filter expected the category to be specified as <dc:subject>. I tweaked the filter this morning so that it now supports the RSS 2.0 <category> tag, as well. If you’re feed is RSS 2.0, you can now contribute to MAXBloggers!

ColdFusion vs Flash (Part III)

I haven’t had time to focus on this for the last few days because I’ve been working on, and on finishing up the ColdFusion portion of the Community Resource Directory application. The CF side is completely done now, which includes both the CF server-side code (the web services and everything “below” the web services), and the client-side code (that which interacts with the web services, and everything “above” it).

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Recruiting MAX Bloggers

Why haven’t I been blogging for the last couple of days? Because I’ve been working like mad on is the official MAX weblog aggregator. If you are going to MAX and you plan on blogging it, we want you to contribute to MAXBloggers. If you are not going to MAX, keep up with the latest news by reading

Here’s how it works. If you are attending MAX and you have a weblog (or want to set one up before you leave), we will aggregate your feed provided that you either:

  1. Create a dedicated MAX feed, or
  2. Create a dedicated MAX category that we can filter on.

We can accommodate either method, so do whichever is easiest for you. For more information, click on the “Add Your Feed” link at