Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Jokes - 2015

When kids trick or treat at our house we ask them to tell a joke. We have the reputation as the 'joke house.' These are the best from this year.
  • What do you call an aligator wearing a vest? An Investigator!
  • Why does Waldo wear stripes? He does not want to be spotted.
  • Knock, knock. Who's there? BooHoo. BooHoo who? Why are you crying?
  • Knock, knock. Who's there? Panther. Panther who? Pants or no pants, I'm going swimming.
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? To go trick or treating.
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? To avoid Chick fil A.
  • Knock, knock. Who's there? Dishes? Dishes who? D'is the police, come out with your hands up.
  • What did candy say to corn? Want to become candy corn?
  • How does a mom dress up for Halloween? As a mummy!
  • What did the skeleton waiter say after serving the food? Bone appetite!
  • On Halloween, what did the bird say after knocking on the door? Twrick or Tweet!
  • What did the teal crayon say to mom? I don't teal well.
  • Knock, knock. Cashew. Cashew who? No thanks, I'd rather have a peanut.

Thanks to the woman who asked if I was from the midwest. I spent by trick or treat years in northern Indiana. She commented that in Iowa she was always asked to do something before taking a treat and loved the idea of the joke house.

There you have the best. 2014 and 2012 and 2006 are also available.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) For Landing Pages

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are designed to load extremely fast which is the goal of most landing page. These are the pages you see when clicking on a link from an email, for example. So landing pages would seem to be a great fit the AMP.

AMP places limits on how the page is created in order to render so quickly. These limits include no original JavaScript or third party JavaScript. It also limits the HTML code and the CSS. Landing pages are some of the most creative area of web design and limits on creativity sound bad. However, constraints often produce great results. So I think it is too early to assume that AMP is bad for landing page creativity.

The primary purpose of most landing pages is for the reader to take an action like provide an email address, donate money or click on a button. For AMP to work for landing page, they must be able to provide a Call to Action.

Web designers are going to be creative since AMP does not currently allow user input from a form or JavaScript. So Calls to Actions will primarily limited to buttons though we might see some creative use of links. The linked page will be non-AMPed for collection emails, donations and other information from the user. So a landing page is mostlikely going to be two pages or more. This will change the analysis of page views, the “funnel” for the business and A/B testing.

Bootstrap, Foundation or other CSS frameworks are also incompatible with AMP. These are common ways to get a landing page up quickly with minimum coding of CSS and JavaScript. So instead of these frameworks, AMP templates will probably spring up in the Grunt, Gulp, Browser and front end tool ecosystem. Also expect plugins for common editors like Sublime Text and Atom.

While it is fun to speculate about AMP for Landing Page, building one might provide more insights. To that end, I’ll be rebuilding the landing page for my project. The first version will be very simple and more features will be added.

AMP highlights Interactive News Stories

AMP does not kill interactive news but highlights interactive news. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) should lead to readers becoming even more aware of the creative uses of JavaScript in journalism and telling other stories. Readers will expect a better version when they read non-AMPed news stories. This is good for writers, journalism, publishers and readers.

Readers are already well aware of the bad JavaScript practices with trackers and ads. Ad blockers are a hot topic currently for the Apple platform. Joshua Benton shows a Chicago Tribune page full of trackers. In my 2013 talk on JavaScript Journalism at 4:00 mark I pointed out that most newspapers have 30 times more JavaScript than text with the worst case being The New York Times with over 90 times. Newspapers and their third parties are notorious for their poor practices in using JavaScript.

I worked at The Washington Post on the mobile web. This was the mobile browser version of The Washington Post and our job as a front end developers was to deliver the news as fast as possible for readers. We had some success and were pioneers in the off-line first efforts. Later work by both USAToday and The Guardian pushed performance even further getting delivery in under a second.

However, in any news organization there is a conflict with the business side. I saw this first hand when our team had worked hard to increase performance by fractions of a second only to see it disappear when the business side signed an agreement to add yet another third party JavaScript code block to the site for ads or analytics. I cringed at seeing some of the new buttons and lost milliseconds.

So another impact of AMP will be that news organizations will have to re-evaluate their use of third party scripts and demand use of best practices by these vendors. Not even The Washington Post as one of the largest newspapers was in a position to demand more secure and better performance by these analytic and ad networks. Hopefully, AMP will solve this problem and force third party vendors to use JavaScript best practices.

So I am very positive about Google's introduction of AMP. It is a great step forward for readers, journalism, news publishers and the web.

Disclosure: The project lead of AMP, Malte Ubl, is a friend. He is also the curator of JSConfEU which I have attended.