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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yahoo Javascript Libraries go OpenSource

Many of us were digusted earlier this month to learn that once again Yahoo had cooperated with the Chinese authorities' request to turn over a citizen's private records, this time the discussion group threads of 35 year-old Li Zhi. The information was used to stick the dissident and former civil servant with an eight-year sentence on the charge of inciting subversion. The news, coupled with Google's capitulation to Chinese censorship, reached a boil on Capitol Hill yesterday, where the House dealt the firms a stinging rebuke for these practices, which lawmakers called "disgusting" and "abhorrent". I can't help wonder if this mounting bad PR played a role in Yahoo's announcement this week to release their Javascript user-interface library and a library of web application design patterns under an Open Source license.

It's certainly big news. I just checked back to where I bookmarked the Yahoo announcement a couple of days ago in; at the moment 2888 other people have also bookmarked it. And its not just making waves among industry pundits following Yahoo's twists and turns - it's big news for developers who want to use new approaches to web applications - like Ajax - without spending - or charging - a fortune to build or buy code to do it. I can tell you the developers at my joint are eager to get a look at it. And the developer blogosphere is buzzing with the news.

The libraries include tools for animation, DOM manipulation (the key to dynamic HTML), drag and drop, and httpXMLRequests (the heart of Ajax). In addition, calendar and treeview components are provided. The library is all cross-browser tested - a "graded browser" policy described in the documentation that lays out the Yahoo definition of "multi-browser support."

As one blogger sums it up:
I'm sure that this is probably a lot to do with...generating goodwill; but also hope that it will reduce duplication of effort and poor practices, and speed up the development process. The design patterns all have accessibility sections - which is great to see.

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