Thirteenth Parallel /blog/

Columns: redux

28 September 2005

Two new articles have been published over at A List Apart on producing column based layouts. If you remember the original 13thParallel, Michael and I developed a script that would break up a body of text into N-columns of a fixed height, this is subtely different from how the CSS based methods in the ALA articles work.

A lot of people are coming here via ALA directly to the column script article, but it is worthwhile checking out the original interface we developed.

Posted By Daniel Pupius


26 April 2005

Back in 2000, during my BSc, I took a module on the semantic web. One of the things I found most interesting was the concept of link-bases; hypertext systems which automatically cross-reference documents by associating keywords. Links would not be many-to-one relationships but rather many-to-many. In the standard web model many anchors each point to a single resource, in the proposed model a keyword within a document could point to several related resources (XLINK actually supports hyperlinking like this).

A typical implementation would have anchors added to important keywords, on rollover the user would then be shown a drop-down list of related content. The problem is defining keywords for a document and deciding what to link. There are various ways to automate this, many similar to how search engines rank content, but theoretically you could provide a link to every word on a page, and that is exactly what happens at Standardise.Us.

Standardise.Us is an interesting site that calls itsself a “hyper-threaded stream of consciousness”. Entries are posted in the style of a blog and every word becomes a link to a “definition page”, then the definition links to other entries where it is used, ranked by relevence. For example check out the entry for The Information Architecture Institute.

Posted By Daniel Pupius

After Buzz

22 April 2005

I guess one of the positives of “re-branding” an existing development technique is that it can push concepts into the wild that have otherwise remained low profile and unknown to many people. So, while some of us who have been using such techniques may feel slightly irritated by the lack of recognition for existing applications, the uproar across the world of devloper blogs has definitely created a renewed focus on the capabilities of remote scripting.

I’m sure something similar has been done before, but inspired by the recent debate Sean Treadway has produced this pretty sweet Ajax powered file uploader for RubyOnRails. The upload form posts to a hidden Iframe while Ajax requests the status from the server. This technique could provide a nice addition to a CMS and I think I’ll be using something similar in an up coming project.

My point in all this is that anything that promotes discussion and innovation is a good thing. I miss the experimental endeavours of a few years ago when the boundaries were really being pushed on a daily basis. Maybe the tides have turned and a new, more mature period of inventiveness is on the way.

Posted By Daniel Pupius


26 February 2005

Some scripting and interaction design links I ran into recently: first there was Adaptive Path’s Mr. Garrett attempting to brand remote scripting and the use of XMLHttpRequest as Ajax, and then a discussion on Metafilter about a funky shopping cart where the term was actually used. It’s funny how these buzzwords grow in use.

Posted By Michael

Call for submissions

16 February 2005

We have been planning for some time now to resurrect Thirteenth Parallel, and we have come up with a new plan that fits with all our schedules. Issues will be launched 3 or 4 times a year and each issue will bring a new visual style. The issues will be broken up into volumes and each volume will have a theme, with the first being “Lost and Found”. All the materials published will aim to spawn discussion which will push forward the mediums we work in.

We are in the process of putting the first issue together, and we would like to open up the issue to contributions from new people. If you feel you have something interesting, cool, or innovative to bring to the table then send us a description of what you would like to contribute and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Posted By Daniel Pupius

Good intentions and best laid plans

16 January 2005

It was just over three years ago that we launched the first issue of Thirteenth Parallel; an “e-zine” meant to showcase what could be done with DHTML while providing a place for people to learn about new technologies and practices. We believed that the trend for sites which provided pre-made scripts wasn’t benefiting the fabled “web community”, we wanted to try and inspire people to learn the intricacies of the various web technologies and to come up with new, original and innovative ideas. We were probably quite naïve, but some interesting stuff came out of it nevertheless.

We ran seven issues before the real world caught up with us. The amount of time it took to come up with enough ideas and write enough articles to fill the monthly issues was not realistic. We were all working and studying hard and we just couldn’t find the time to keep it going.

Over the years we have regularly come back and suggested ideas for how to rejuvenate the project. On a number of occasions we actually started developing a new site, but we never found the time to complete it.

So now, three years on, I have finally put the content back online as a simple archive; much of it should still be relevant, so I hope you find it useful and interesting.

We still want to do something with Thirteenth Parallel eventually; so if you have any suggestions or wish to contribute, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Posted By Daniel Pupius
General, News