HTML in e-mail

If you read technical news and blogs (read for example HTML Standards Process Returning from the Grave from Surfin’ Safari) around the net you should by now know that the HTML Working group has been re-chartered until 2010!

You will certainly know that it has been a highly debated topic between supporters of the evolution of HTML and the supporters of XHTML as the next version of HTML, that is to say that HTML is dead.

On the other side Daniel Glazman has raised a very interested topic which is the HTML in e-mail. It did not get into the charter, but at least we had a new public mailing list to discuss and hopefully get our voice heard in the group. Read from Daniel’s pen, “HTML in email” W3C mailing-list.

I have never been a fan of HTML in e-mail, but I agree with him that it can be a very important tool for promotional purposes and not only. There is not only spam, there are also valid e-mails, newsletters and mailing lists in which HTML is appropriate and provides an extra tool for formatting and layout.
XHTML and CSS could be the markup and styling too, of course, but if the web browsers are far from being strict, e-mail clients were not born for HTML and XHTML and their support for the standards is often poor.
This mailing list is NOT to complain about spam or unwanted HTML, but it is to suggest a viable, satisfying solution for a secure and quality implementation of markup and style in e-mail.
It would be dumb to create a new markup specific for e-mail when we already have 4 major versions of HTML, 2 major versions of XHTML, 3 major versions of CSS and a number of minor versions. Let’s just agree on something that can work for everyone!

This said, I invite everyone that thinks to have constructive proposals on this topic to check out the online archive of public-html-mail, join and let your voice heard (even to say that XHTML should be used).

Community resources for the mobile

I wanted to recap a few valuable resources that developers can find on the web to help them start or improve their skills to produce sites for mobile devices.

My favourite, of course, is The Wireless FAQ, simply because of the time it took to bring it to a Wiki. I think it has done a big step ahead since that day and thanks to the wiki approach we have been able to add a number of resources about very important topics such as DRM, Video downloads, multimedia content delivery and more.

On the same track you might also want to check out the Techniques for the Best Practices, originally developed and maintained by the W3C. It’s another Wiki site and it’s about the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 that the group has produced. The Wiki was chosen because the group is looking for user contributions. If you are interested you should go, read, ask questions and add content, if you feel like willing to share with the W3C community.

A more specialized site, maintained by Barbara Ballard of little spring design inc, is Mobile User Interface Design Patterns. The title says it all, Barbara is a super-expert of User Interfaces for the mobile. She has already created a lot of valuable content and while it’s less technical from a certain point of view as compared to the other two sites, it actually provides great guidance about the general UI and presentation that you should use in your mobile site. Barbara’s Wiki is certainly something to read and put in practice in your mobile sites, maybe using some techniques suggested in the other 2 sites previously named.

The last site I wanted to remind to the community is mTLD‘s developers site. The site does not have a Wiki, but rather a forum, blogs and a few selected articles, all about the mobile. The site is relatively new and the administrators are working hard to provide more and more resources every day. It is obviously a different approach, the site aims to provide all the guidance and help to develop mobile sites, also linking to external resources, of course. It’s another great place to start from and to ask questions if there’s something you can’t do or is not clear. You can reach it at dev.mobi. The site can be visited both from your desktop computer or on the move.

Getting ready for Boston

Today is a busy day, I am getting ready for my trip to Boston. I’ll be there for a full week and I need to prepare my computer, all my gadgets I can’t live without, backup data and most of all, get ready for the super-cold temperatures of Massachusetts.

Italy and mostly Europe in general has been quite warmn this year, considering that we are in January, but it seems like Boston will not be warmer than last year, when the day we arrived there was a snowstorm! Luckily just a few hours after we had landed, but the day after the airport was closed and remained so for 2 or 3 days.

Traveling around the world

Lately I haven’t been traveling a lot, my last trip has been in September to the beautiful Gijon in Spain (I just realized I never posted anything about it, strange!) and then a 1-day trip to London to meet my colleagues of the European offices of M:Metrics.

The next months, instead, includes 2 trips, one to Boston for the W3C Multi-Group Meeting and one to Barcelona for the 3GSM World Congress.

I am really excited about these trips. If you are in the W3C and would like to meet, please let me know.

While during the trip to Boston I will mostly be in some W3C meeting, during the 3GSM World Congress I will have much more time to meet people. Last time I went was still in Cannes, I think it was 2002, I have never joined again. I am really looking forward for the new location, bigger space and maybe some new projects.

If you are going to any of these meetings, please let me know and we’ll try to arrange something.