Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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This Week in JavaScript Performance

This Week in JavaScript Performance summarizes recent web postings related to JavaScript performance. Watch for it on the Monitor.Us blog at the beginning of each week.

Powerful JQuery plug-ins for enhancing website user interfaces

Author: zhirayr.   Publisher: Monitor.Us.This article introduces jQuery and some of the plugins it provides for developing the user interface.

I’ve Seen the Future. It’s in My Browser.

Author: Doug Bouwman.   Publisher: Vimeo.This 27 minute audio-included slideshow is an intro to why HTML5 is important, an overview of sematic markup, CSS3, and JavaScript performance. It shows when to use Flex/Silverlight vs. HTML5, and then discusses some of the browser extensions that come along with HTML5 – geolocation, local storage, and offline support. This material has been presented in many forms and places, but this slideshow, which was posted a few days ago, brings it all together.

How I Work: Yahoo!’s Doug Crockford On JavaScript

Author: Jacob Cook.   Publisher: Smashing Magazine.   Subject: Douglas Crockford.This article is an interview with Douglas Crockford, who “freely shared his thoughts on great programmers, user empathy, and how JSON restored his faith in humanity.” Questions Asked:

  1. Why do you feel programmers should study the history of computer science?
  2. What were the traits of the weak programmers you’ve seen over your career?
  3. Do you feel that the pain a programmer goes through in learning a language contributes to this unhealthy attachment to using only one language?
  4. Why do you feel it’s important to present your code in front of other people?
  5. Are programmers getting better at user empathy?
  6. How much of a language do you need to know?
  7. What approaches would you say a master has versus a beginner?
  8. What are your thoughts on jQuery?
  9. When you were developing JSON, was it tough to pull back and not put too much into it?
  10. How did JSON get adopted?

Memorable quote from Douglas Crockford: Javascript “has more bad parts than good parts.”

The article includes two links to one-hour talks given by Douglas Crockford, one on JavaScript and one on JSON.

Cross-Browser Debugging CSS

Author: Nicole Sullivan.   Publisher: Stubbornella.This article tells us that working with CSS’s underlying design will reduce the number of bugs in our code. It then presents a list of CSS bug-reduction tips, including IE-specific tips.

Check the comments below the article for corrections and clarifications.

HTTP Compression use by Alexa Top 1000

Author: Billy Hoffman.   Publisher: Zoompf.This detailed article analyzes the use of HTML compression among the top 1,000 websites in the world, and finds that almost 2/3 of those websites are not compressing everything that can be compressed. File types that are most frequently uncompressed: .svg, .bmp, .ico, and .ttf. “Approximately 20% of all HTML, JavaScript, and CSS files are served without compression.” Third-party JavaScript libraries are suspected of being a major culprit.

This article also names names. If you work for The Washington Post, ABC News, The New York Post, CNBC, Sky in the UK, or NPR, you’d better read it!

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About Warren Gaebel

Warren wrote his first computer program in 1970 (yes, it was Fortran).  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and his Bachelor of Computer Science degree at the University of Windsor.  After a few years at IBM, he worked on a Master of Mathematics (Computer Science) degree at the University of Waterloo.  He decided to stay home to take care of his newborn son rather than complete that degree.  That decision cost him his career, but he would gladly make the same decision again. Warren is now retired, but he finds it hard to do nothing, so he writes web performance articles for the Monitor.Us blog.  Life is good!