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Archive: October 2010

The Survey, 2010

I TOOK IT! And so should you—THe Survey For People Who Make Websites, 2010

It’s that time again: the 2010 edition of The Survey For People Who Make Websites is open and taking your input.  If you’re someone who creates web sites,  whether all the time or some of the time or even just occasionally, please take just a little bit of your day (as I write this, the average time-to-completion is just over 10 minutes) to let us know about you.  Furthermore, please spread the word to any groups to which you belong—local SIGs, mailing lists, newsgroups, forums, message boards, and so on.  I truly believe it’s important to the profession as a whole to have as many web folks as possible participate.

I was asked a little while back why we do the survey, and my answer surprised me not just for its content but also for how much passion I felt.  I said:

I think it’s a vital investigation, a look into our profession that nobody else is even attempting and is… essential if we’re going to be taken at all seriously by anyone other than ourselves.

And even more vital than that, it tells us who we are, collectively speaking. We’re scattered. Many of us are solo. We don’t even know what kind of community we’ve joined. The Survey, though limited and imperfect, tells us something profound and essential about us.

That’s why I’ve wholeheartedly supported this effort from its very outset, putting in hours upon hours of thought and effort into its operation and approving the use of [funds] to pay for professional analysis. This matters.

Other professions have it easy: they require certification or degrees or membership in a professional organization before you can take part.  Because of that, they can often estimate to a reasonable degree, or even count directly, how many of them there are.  They can go to their membership rolls and survey a few thousand randomly picked members to find out their age, location, experience, salary, and anything else that seems interesting to know.

We who build the web don’t have that luxury.  Our profession, just like the medium it serves, has no gatekeepers, no central organization, no clear boundaries.  The Survey is our attempt to disambiguate ourselves.

So please, if you’re someone who makes web sites, take ten minutes to tell us about yourself.  If you know people who make web sites, please point them to the survey and ask them the same.  Thank you.

A Textile Filter for BBEdit?

A few days back I tweeted a request for a Textile filter for BBEdit, which is one of those things people have asked for over the years but has never actually appeared.  There’s been a Markdown filter since forever, but since I find myself on Basecamp a lot for business reasons and Basecamp uses Textile I’d really prefer to stick to one syntax instead of constantly confusing myself by switching between two similar syntaxes.

(And I prefer to use BBEdit because I like it a lot, know it well, and have no compelling reason to switch.  Please take any thoughts of text-editor snobbery or flamewars elsewhere.)

In response, the mighty Arlen Walker told me how to install Xcode, the Text::Textile module, and a short Perl script to drop into  ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Unix Support/Unix Filters.  I did that, and it all worked, but I was unhappy with the <span class="caps"> that default Textile litters all over.  I tried to disable it, failed, tweeted for help, and was contacted by the incredible Brad Choate (who wrote the Text::Textile module!).

The upshot of all this is that Brad not only told me how to disable the spans, but how to convert Textile to a standalone BBEdit filter that, so far as I can tell, shouldn’t require installation of either Xcode or Text::Textile.  I’m pretty sure about this, but since I’ve already installed Text::Textile I can’t be entirely certain.  Who wants to test it out?

All you have to do is download TextileSA_pl.zip, unzip it, and drop the Perl script into ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Unix Support/Unix Filters.  Once you do that, it should immediately become available in BBEdit, even if BBEdit is already running.  (At least that’s what happens in BBEdit 9.x.)  Here’s a test file to Texile-ize if you’re so inclined:

h1. Testing the BBEdit Textile filter

This is _awesome_!  "Arlen":http://theodicius.net/ and "Brad":http://bradchoate.com/ are the *bomb*.

There’s a bug at the moment that means double-quote marks don’t get smart-encoded, but Brad’s aware of it and plans to fix it.  Also, this does a straight Textile run with nothing disabled, so it will in fact still litter <span class="caps"> around any sequence of uppercase letters (like those in, say, “BBEdit”).  If you can’t stand that even during testing, open up TextileSA.pl and insert the following after line 2312:

my $css_flags = $textile->css();
$css_flags->{'class_caps'} = '';
$textile->css($css_flags);

If you don’t mind (or even like) those spans, then of course you can slip that part.

The “SA” in TextileSA.pl stands for “StandAlone”, by the way.  I’ll drop that once I’m sure this actually works and pass it along to the BBEdit gang.

Vendor Prefix Lists

At the prompting of an inquiry from a respected software vendor, I asked The Twitters for pointers to “canonical” lists of vendor-prefixed properties, values, and selectors.  Here’s what the crowd sourced at me:

Lists more than just prefixed properties, values, and so on.

While there’s no guarantee of completeness or accuracy, these are at least what the vendors themselves provide and so we can cling to some hope of both.  I was also pointed to the following third-party lists:

If you know of great vendor-prefix lists that aren’t listed here, particularly anything from the vendors themselves, please let us know in the comments!

Somewhat if not obviously related: does anyone know of a way to add full Textile support to BBEdit 9.x?  Having it be a Unix filter is fine.  I know BBEdit already supports Markdown, but since Basecamp uses Textile and lots of people I work with use Basecamp, I’d like stick to one syntax rather than confuse myself trying to switch between two similar syntaxes.

October 2010
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