Friday Feast #44: Standards, Site Optimization, RSS, and Weblogs
Today’s Friday Feast covers more on the world of RSS feeds including innovative uses in education, new interviews and books on web standards and site optimization, and a handy tool for cross-browser, cross-platform testing.
Many of us have been looking forward to Jeffrey Zeldman’s new book, Designing with Web Standards. Latest details can be found at the book’s mini-site where you can read some of the first kudos, find links to two sample chapters, the table of contents, and banners for your site. There’s plenty there to give you an idea of what an insightful and helpful book this can be to learn more about web standards and how to approach design and development with standards in mind. Included are the pros and cons of standards during the past 10 years or so, markup, practical case studies, and implementations that can work in the real world.
Not to be missed is An interview with Andrew B. King by Craig Saila for Digital Web. They discuss why website optimization matters and tips about what you can do for your own site. As Andy states in the interview, even if you’ve already done a lot of optimization, there’s often more you can do.
XHTML, XML, RSS Feeds and Profiles
Interesting discussions at Sam Ruby’s site also continued this week about an RSS Profile as Don Box compiles the results at his RSS 2.0 Profile page. An RSS Profile Wiki has also sprouted up where you’ll find more information, ongoing discussions, and links.
RSS Feeds via Email
Want to read your RSS feeds by email? Dean Jackson explains how he implemented Aaron Swartz’s RSS to Email Aggregator.
Dynamic RSS Feeds in Education
Stephen Downes has provided a helpful introductory tutorial about RSS for educational designers. Whether or not you’re in education, though, it’s well worth reviewing since his ideas and explanations can be utilized in a variety of ways, of course.
The Maricopa Center for Learning and Instruction (mcli) is making terrific use of this concept using RSS, Movable Type’s TrackBack, a little PHP, and ingenuity. Their “Syndicating” the MLX Collection explains how they’re using this technology.
“This page showcases searching across multiple databases of multiple choice questions (MCQs) running in different institutions. The database servers use a simple XML RSS file to return search results to the user in a consistent, platform and database independent format. The XML RSS results are then transformed to HTML for display on an conventional web browser... You can link your own MCQ databases into this demonstrator by reading these instructions.”
For more examples, Scott Leslie of EdTechPost has collected and provided a page with RSS feeds from Learning Object Repositories - Known Examples.
Weblogs in Education
Weblogs in the Classroom is a helpful PowerPoint presentation by Will Richardson. The presentation explains the basics of weblogs and continues to explain how they might be utilized in education. Naturally he includes plenty of examples and resources along the way.
McGee’s Musings covers Weblogs in Learning Settings with plenty of insightful quotes and links to keep you busy all weekend.
Convenient Cross-Browser Checking for Your Website
In case you missed this tool that’s been blogged around the Web: BrowserCam. See how your site looks on a multitude of browsers and operating systems via BrowserCam’s screenshots. For only $1 per URL, that’s quite a bargain. BrowserCam has a free trial to try it out first to see what you think.