If you plan to attend IBM’s ConnectED conference this year, you may be interested in a talk by Dan Makuch, an Enterprise Solution Architect and Project Manager from Base22. The new Digital Data Connector technology in WebSphere Portal provides a host of capabilities to do deep integration of social content with a traditional portal front end. Base22 recently completed one of the first production implementations of this technology for a client in the digital imaging industry. In his session, Dan will take you under the covers to show you how we built some of the more interesting aspects of the site. He’ll share lessons learned and offer some tips that should enable your future efforts to go more smoothly.

Date: January 27, 2015
Time: 08:00-09:00 a.m.
Event: IBM ConnectED 2015
Topic: BP401 - Building An Online Community Portal With WCM, Connections, And The Digital Data Connector
Sponsor: IBM
Venue: Walt Disney World Swan, S. Hem 2
Public: Private

Living Language – IBM’s shared vocabulary for design

IBM Design

Recently I posted about Google’s visual design language, Material Design. Now, it seems that IBM Design has stepped in with their own shared vocabulary called, the Living Language. With new design centers in Austin, New York, Shanghai, Dublin, and Hursley, IBM has really been stepping up its design game. We’ve felt the impact recently with the Digital Experience software; the latest versions of IBM WebSphere Portal and IBM Web Content Manager are the slickest yet. Also, at Base22, we’ve been invited to provide our experience and feedback to the design team on several occasions. And yes – I’ve seen some of that feedback make it into the products.

I’m proud of IBM for the work they’ve been doing. They’ve recommitment to the value of design and the user-centered design process on a massive scale. They’re reaching out to real end-users, listening carefully to the feedback, and it’s starting to show. We salute you, IBM Design; keep plowing!

IBM Design's Living language

Recently, I worked on an image for Base22’s quarterly email newsletter. In order to use a group shot of our team, I needed to isolate them from the warehouse setting in which they were photographed. I thought I’d take the opportunity to record the job in case my technique is useful to anybody else. In this video, I demonstrate one of several techniques for image isolation in Adobe Photoshop. This particular technique allows you to erase or reapply image pixels by painting greyscale values on a layer mask. A layer mask is essentially an alpha mask applied to a given layer that you can paint on. Wherever you paint black, the pixels in the layer become transparent. Wherever you paint white, they become opaque.There are many cool tricks you can do with layer masks once you understand how to use them, so it’s good ground to cover – even if you prefer to use other techniques for isolation.

Disclaimer: If I sound slightly weird in this video, it’s because it was so damned long and boring, I sped it up by 120% in the talking parts in order to get to the point faster. I sped up working segments as much as 1000% to get the overall job (about 1 hour’s worth of work) down to 16 minutes in overall video.

This short documentary from Kate Ray does a great job of capturing the promise of the Semantic Web vision as well as some of the skepticism surrounding it. To me, the only real problem lies in our expectation that some kind of reality will congeal as quickly as Web 2.0. The scope of the problems demanding a Semantic Web are broader, deeper, and more sophisticated. Yet, the gravity of the solution domain is much more significant.

The Semantic Web is emerging now. Tools and technologies have emerged in support of it that are useful and usable today. If you’re interested, but unfamiliar with Linked Data and Semantic Web concepts, I highly recommend you review Getting Started with Semantics, a set of lessons from Cambridge Semantics. You might also be interested in some older stuff I created several years ago for Semantic Focus called Introduction to Semantic Web Vision and Technologies, which is still applicable.

Awesome SVG

SVG, or Scalable Vector Graphics, is a XML-style markup driven vector graphic rendering engine for the browser. SVG is supported in every browser, except IE < v9 and Android < v3. Want to know more? Awesome SVG is a community curated list of awesome resources related to SVG.

Being a member of the World Wide Web consortium has taught me a lot about Web standards and the process through which they’re made. But probably the most important thing I’ve learned from membership in the W3C is that you don’t actually have to be a member to participate. The Web really is ours and the W3C process for defining Web standards is very open and inclusive. Watch this video to learn why Web standard are important, then get involved in the ongoing evolution of our Web at w3.org/participate.

Don’t repeat yourself

Of all the principles of programming, Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) is perhaps one of the most fundamental. The principle was formulated by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas in The Pragmatic Programmer, and underlies many other well-known software development best practices and design patterns. The developer who learns to recognize duplication, and understands how to eliminate it through appropriate practice and proper abstraction, can produce much cleaner code than one who continuously infects the application with unnecessary repetition.

Don't Repeat Yourself

Photo by Steve Smith. CC BY