Two topics for today. First, I wish people would stop reusing acronyms through extension. As a group of examples, I don't like VB.NET, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, etc. When I search for Visual Basic online and I mean VB 6, I hate wading through all the .NET stuff that's around now. I'm sure the .NET guys think the same thing. I think we'd both like a Google option for, "When I use a term with an implicit version/date, eliminate hits that are from another period." Anyhow, that bugs me. I like that I can [still] search for vbscript and get exactly what I'm looking for, give or take.
Second, I had the new wired.com website design pointed out to me today. It's cute, and all standards friendly, but is missing something on a number of counts.
For one, there's still messy sections of code. Look at this crap:
<div class="clear"> </div>
<span id="pgToolsBtns"><a href="/news/print/0,1294,55675,00.html">
<img src="http://a112.g.akamai.net/7/1112/492/2002091411/www.wired.com/news/v/20020914/images/storytools_print.gif" alt="[Print story]" title="Version of this story optimized for printing" width="53" height="21" /></a>
<img src="http://a112.g.akamai.net/7/1112/492/2002091411/www.wired.com/news/v/20020914/images/storytools_mail.gif" alt="[E-mail story]" title="E-mail this story to a friend" width="53" height="21" /></a>
<img src="http://a112.g.akamai.net/7/1112/492/2002091411/www.wired.com/news/v/20020914/images/storytools_sync.gif" alt="[Sync story]" title="Sync this story to your PDA" width="53" height="21" /></a>
<span class="pgToolsR"><img src="http://a112.g.akamai.net/7/1112/492/2002091411/www.wired.com/news/v/20020914/images/icon_story_page.gif" alt="" width="13" height="13" />
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<br class="clear" /><div class="buffer"><img src="http://c.lygo.com/s.gif" width="1" height="1" alt="" /></div>
What is that? The whitespace is horrible. XML is supposed to make machine-readable data more human readable, not less. Here, without good spacing and with triple-deep divs, one after another, we ain't got what XML is looking to accomplish.
Which brings me to the second complaint -- these tags do less for a human reader to understand format than html 3.2. Granted, I'm assuming someone reading the source understands that <td> means a table cell, for example, but at this point html 3.2 tags are practical standards. "storyCap" and "pgToolsSolo" are not. Tell me what either of those two div titles means [as far as positioning is concerned] out of context. You can't. Combine that with all the CSS includes at the top of the page to keep straight, each doing more than simply changing the way the text looks and broaching the realm of positioning, and we've managed to lose human readable information on our way to using XML in this xhtml page.
By creating homespun names for div types, xhtml like this moves html source away from standardization. There's nothing wrong with a table, folk. There really isn't.
Okay, there's a third topic for today. Where I currently work, though I've finished my exit interviews for the job today, people try too hard not to aggravate anyone, even when the aggrvation starts because of criticism with a constructive intent. In an exit interview, I was told that at least one of my managers felt that people afraid of criticsim is pretty silly, and if someone didn't like the fact that they'd been offered well-meaing criticism, well, "there's the door". (No, this wasn't an attempt to get something through my thick skull -- he was actually agreeing with me. :^D)
I'm from a slightly different camp. I don't want anyone to go away unhappy from a job they've done (go away hoping to do better? Sure. Go away feeling a little embarassed they didn't do their best? Absolutely.), but I don't mind if they're uphappy for a little while while we're sorting things out. Employees should be ready and willing to hear what another thinks they (singular and/or plural) could do better -- and, what's more, be willing to defend why they've done what they've done in return. Even if things seem to get a little heated, that's great. People should feel passionately about what they do.
But no one should feel that their options are to "suck it up or go home" (my words this time). The single most important part of professionalism is the ability to do your work better next week without being upset that the reason for the improvement in your work might have been someone else's idea. Put another way, even if things get heated, professionals can still be friends (or still not be friends! -- neither should affect your work nor necessarily be affected by it) the week after. And if someone's taking something said or written too personally, I feel that, as part of the team, it's important to understand the context in which constructive crticism was offered.
That said, I don't want anyone to think I particularly dislike the job I will soon-have-had particularly, it's just that a grade of B- in process efficiency isn't good enough for me, of which the above plays the part of a symptom. Now that's an awkward sentence.