All posts tagged ‘webmonkey’

File Under: Monkey Business

Welcome to the All New Webmonkey


As you may have noticed, we’ve given Webmonkey an entirely new coat of paint.

The visual design has been refreshed — something we’ve been doing every couple of years since we launched in 1996 — and we honestly think the site has never looked better. It took a lot of hard work by everyone on the technical and design teams to pull it off.

As pretty as it is, there are other changes behind the scenes that we feel are just as important. We simplified the site navigation and upgraded our search tool, making it much easier to find blog posts and tutorials around specific topics. We also upgraded our publishing system, which will allow us to use photos, screenshots and galleries in more interesting ways in our reviews and tutorials.

Most notably, however, this latest redesign of Webmonkey brings to an end a two year experiment. In May of 2008, we moved all of the tutorial content on the site (over 500 articles and reference pages) to a wiki. We asked all of our readers to chip in and help improve our educational content by contributing edits. Many of you jumped in, offering updates, tips, links and corrections. Certain communities really made a difference — in particular, our Django tutorial, our Python tutorial and our series on JavaScript frameworks all benefitted greatly from reader edits. We sincerely appreciate all of the work that everyone put in to improve our content.

But the wiki experiment didn’t pan out. Spam became a huge problem, and despite our best efforts to automate our defenses, keeping spam bots and vandals off the site put serious strain on our small team. Also, while MediaWiki is great software (we’ll continue to use it on Wired’s How-To Wiki), fully incorporating the wiki content into the rest of Webmonkey, which was and still is running WordPress, proved to be a challenge. Search, site navigation and content discovery were suffering because of it.

In February, we froze edits on the wiki and began porting everything into WordPress. All of the legitimate edits and updates that were made by our readers while the wiki pages were open to the public have been preserved in the WordPress versions. We also found some time to update some of the older articles, too.

Now, the tutorials easier to find. They look better (thanks to Alex Gorbatchev’s SyntaxHighlighter) and the multi-page lessons are easier to navigate. And while the spam bot armies are locked out for good, the tutorials are open for comments just like blog posts. So if you spot something that needs updating or fixing, just leave a note and we’ll attend to it.

There’s still some work to be done. Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll continue updating the content library, beefing up the number of templates in the Reference section and building out the directories. In the near future, we’re going to install Disqus to handle comments, so you will be able to log in using OpenID, Facebook Connect, your Twitter or Yahoo credentials, or an existing Disqus login if you want to leave a comment anywhere on the site.

So for now, click around the site. Follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook if you haven’t already. And of course, please let us know what you think of the new Webmonkey in the comments.

File Under: Events, Visual Design

An Event Apart: Jeff Veen’s Standout Slides

The twitter-verse (as it’s sometimes called) was buzzing around one particular presentation at An Event Apart conference on Tuesday. Author and Webmonkey, Hotwired, Adaptive Path and Google veteran Jeff Veen’s Designing the Next Generation of Web Apps was supposedly stunning — even to the point of bringing tears to one’s eyes.

Veen’s presentation is now online for your viewing pleasure. Don’t grab the kleenex yet. You can derive loosely what Veen was saying in the presentation, but his visual presentation style stays true — there’s hardly any text and no presentation notes. I doubt these out of context slides will start waterworks, but they’ll entice you to want to see the man in action.

For those who went, the slides are a memento of what was said to be an inspiring way to visualize how to present a story through data.

For those who weren’t in attendance, I recommend slides 24 to 35, which present a way to go from a data dump of raw rainfall numbers to an overlaid map which tells exactly what the data means in one glance.

If you want to hear the presentation in context, Veen’s next public appearance is Monday, September 8th at the Society for News Design (SND) conference in Las Vegas.

Until then, check out this snippet from Veen’s presentation on data overload from June’s An Event Apart in New Orleans:

Jeff Veen on data overload from Jeffrey Zeldman on Vimeo.

The tweets from and after Tuesday’s An Event Apart presentation suggested people were practically falling over themselves applauding Veen and resulting in calls for phone book readings, a presidential campaign, plenty of hyperbolic praise and even a marriage proposal.

Wow, color us impressed. We’re sorry we missed it, but way to go, Webmonkey!

File Under: Blog Publishing

Pizza, Beer with WordPress at Yahoo Brickhouse

WordPress celebrated its five year anniversary since its first (0.7) release a couple of times Wednesday. The main event was at a club in San Francisco later in the evening. The earlier event was a gathering of bloggers at Yahoo Brickhouse, which just so happens to be in very close proximity to Webmonkey’s office. Pizza and beer were shared by all. Much networking was to be had and we were there to take a few snapshots.

WordPress’ founding developer Matt Mullenweg chats with party-goers.

David Recordon pumps the keg. Pizza and beer. Yum.

The hustle and bustle — a pretty good show of people.

File Under: Events

Party Time: Webmonkey Relaunch Bash, NYC Edition

Sweet and ViciousAnyone who attended the Webmonkey Relaunch party in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago noticed how pleased we were. Not only were we happy to see your smiling faces and meet all of you in person, but we were downright giddy that our website has been reborn in such a grand fashion. So pleased, in fact, that we decided a second party on the east coast was in order. To that end, we’re hosting a little get-together in the Big Apple this week. That’s right, the Webmonkeys will be in New York City!

Come join us on Wednesday, June 11 from 6:00PM until 8:00PM at Sweet & Vicious in Manhattan.

Webmonkey Relaunch Bash

Sweet & Vicious

5 Spring St.

New York City, New York 10012

We’ll have shirts, hats and stickers to give away to the early birds. We’ll also have music, beverages and good cheer for everyone. Yes, that means there will be an open bar — sorry kids, it’s 21 and up only. Staffers from Webmonkey and will be in attendance, so join us as we raise a glass to the monkey, dream up new OEmbed implementations and share our favorite web designer cocktail party jokes. (Did you hear the one about the guy with the broken wireframe?)

We’ve set up an event listing on Upcoming, so go there if you need details, maps, directions or if you want to invite others. Also, follow Webmonkey on Twitter for further news and updates.

See you there!

File Under: Events

Need a Pick-Me-Up? Have a Cup of Coffee on The Monkey

free monkey coffeeIf you live or work in San Francisco, come down to Philz Coffee on 4th & Berry streets Thursday morning. Webmonkey will be giving away free cups of coffee between 8:30 and 9:30am. We’ll be there to mingle, to celebrate the site’s relaunch and to talk about how you can help contribute to our community.

We’ll be giving away delicious cups of Philz on a first come, first served basis. And we’ll only be hanging out at the 4th Street Philz location, so come down on your way to work, before the morning meeting or after that all-nighter you just pulled. We’ll also have some stickers and other swag for the taking.

Coffee not your thing? Don’t forget about the Webmonkey relaunch party tomorrow evening at Gallery Lounge just up the street.