When I was a nipper with a Commodore 64, there was a brief mania for things like Pinball Construction Set, Adventure Construction Set, and Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker, which allowed patient amateurs to piece together their own clumsy game creations without having to learn a word of assembly or even BASIC. In those days, we had plenty of free time, since the web hadn’t been booted up yet (although I ran a BBS on dial-up, with an average uptime of three hours per day).
Nowadays, of course, we spend all our waking hours in massively multiplayer virtual interactions, commenting on each other’s profiles and collaboratively filtering each other’s kitten photos. And naturally, a new set of construction sets has arisen to correspond with the latest hobbies. Ning was co-founded by Marc Andreessen (is he still a household name in the Web 2.x era?) in secrecy and dramatically unveiled a few months ago. It’s a meta-application that lets would-be webpreneurs make their own social web apps.
Have you ever admired Craigslist but just wished that the ads were collaboratively filtered a la Digg? Or thought OKCupid just needs mapping, video, and live searching to be truly great? Now’s your chance to put your brilliant ideas in front of a web-hungry world without the bother of looking for investors, designing shoddy classes and whatever else typically goes into making a hot-shot social web application.
In practice, Ning handles a lot of the aspects of web apps that are tedious to code oneself — user authentication and data structures, for example. This leaves you, the creative genius, free to plunge right into what you do best. Is it an idea the world’s been waiting for? Let’s take a look at how to get started Ninging it up.
Continue Reading “Build a Simple Bookmark Manager With Ning” »
For a long time, I read about “RESTful APIs” and had no idea what that term meant. The API part means Application Programmer Interface, a way for coders to get data from a website within their own programs. That much I knew. But as for the REST part, that was less familiar to me.
As a programmer, being clueless doesn’t stop me from playing around. What I observed when I tested some APIs that use REST is that there wasn’t much to it at all.
REST isn’t a big deal. In fact, it’s all around us! When you go to a web page, you’re sending a REST request. When you search the web, yeah, that’s using REST, too.
Continue Reading “Get Started With REST” »
The setup described here enables you to store all your email (and email for other people) on a single machine, which might be a home server, a remotely hosted server, or even a desktop, and then access it from anywhere.
Continue Reading “Set Up a Debian or Ubuntu Machine as a Maildrop” »
Once upon a time, a Webmonkey reader named Lori wrote in to ask this question:
“I was wondering how I can make two frames change at the same time (with one click). I’ve seen it done here and there, but haven’t had much luck finding any documentation.”
Before I knew anything about typography, I thought of it as some kind of high magic, shrouded in arcane terminology and a long, mysterious history. Since then, I’ve learned enough to know that – although that’s all quite true – even us mere mortals can use type sensitively by learning a bit about how it works and paying just a little attention to how it is used.
Continue Reading “Web Typography Tutorial – Lesson 1″ »