Sunday, September 09, 2007


Two weeks ago, I joined Yahoo!.

If you're a front-end web engineer, it's the best place to be. They have some of the best front-end engineers in the world in an environment where you can become a better cloud developer.

If you're smirking ( or laughing ), you've probably haven't noticed what Yahoo! has contributed to the world of front-end development.

A few years ago, I would have thought the same. Do you remember the *old* front page? Or, how about the pre-OddPost Yahoo! mail? Or, how about Yahoo! photo ( thank goodness for Flickr! ). Those things are legacies of Web 1.0.

Then, something happened. A couple of years ago, Yahoo! published their Design Pattern Library which catered to the user interface design and interaction folks. The Bill Scott led project really struck me as something that was useful and came at a critical time when Web 2.0 and Ajax concepts were coming into popularity.

Having a set of UI interaction patterns was only one piece of the solution. Creating a *free* library that implemented ( or at least allowed you to easily implement ) those patterns was the other. Having a library bridged the knowledge of the UI designer with the implementation skills of the front-end developer.

It demonstrated a commitment by Yahoo! to take *theoretical* concepts ( ok, some people would say "fluff" ) and introduce them to the web development community with tools to help implementation.

As an outsider, I heard Yahoo! say --

OK, here's some UI patterns that we think are really valuable and will help with usability. We've focused on interaction because that's the most important thing. UI designers will dig this stuff.

Oh and by the way, we've created a library that your web devs can easily use to supplement their code and slowly introduce these patterns into their application.

And yes, it's all free!

Then, they wanted to train all those folks to use these libraries. As a first step, Yahoo! introduced an amazing series of talks on JavaScript and the DOM by Douglas Crockford.

In fact, on YUI Theater, you'll find a complete program or "web polytechnic" for the front-end developer. You'll see talks on improving web performance, accessibility, using the YUI library, Firebug and an amazing array of web related things.

It's just amazing what they offer to cloud programmers who don't work for Yahoo!.

Since I've started, I've attended a front-end development class by CSS and JavaScript expert Natt Koechley and attended a meeting with accessibility expert Victor Tsaran.

On my immediate team, I'm working with some equally amazing people one of whom created the "Personal Assistant" ( here's my imitation. I even blogged about it. It's humbling to meet the guy that did it! ).

Last week, there was a long internal thread on sprites ( or tiling ) and whether stacked were better performing than horizontal images. Going through the responses, I realized how deep and thorough my colleagues were in their thinking and how much I still have to learn.

This is really going to be a fun ride. I've buckled my seat belt.



Niclas Norgren said...

Good Luck at Yahoo!
I hope we will continue to see some of your nice experiments and show-offs.

skypoet said...

Thanks Niclas!