2011 just came to an end and it's time to look back and report. For Disruptive Innovations, things are simple:

  • BlueGriffon released; BlueGriffon is our Wysiwyg content editor for the Web, powered by Gecko. It's the only editor of its kind offering support for html5, css3 and svg, all builtin. Version 1.4 to be released in january 2012.
  • many addons to BlueGriffon released. Our best-seller is clearly the CSS Pro Editor. A CSS 3 Animations Editor is on its way.
  • an EPUB version of BlueGriffon is also on its way. It takes more time than previously expected because of interpretation issues in the spec. But stay tuned, it's alive.

On the CSS WG front:

  • many new RECs, including CSS 2.1. The CSS WG is going very well, and we have a lot of new cool stuff on the radar. The Working Group is larger than ever, with an impressive number of active contributors.
  • the CSS Test Suite harness developed by Peter Linss is a major achievement, that helped us managing thousands of CSS 2.1 tests and delivering implementation reports.
  • CSS prefixes are a larger and larger problem every day. Even if we have different opinions on "why" and on "what instead", we almost all agree on part of the diagnosis: prefixes harm the Authoring community.
  • The current CSS OM is a pile of crap we unfortunately all have to rely on; and I do mean it: ALL. Web authors, game implementors, app developers, we all suffer from the weaknesses of the CSS OM. This should become a high priority, it's highly time to make the CSS OM evolve to support the new web apps ecosystem.

On the Mozilla front:

  • Mozilla appears to be in great shape, recruiting more than ever and diving into new market areas. Only stupid journalists and trolls jumped on the Mozilla-Google-deal-is-no-more bandwagon and the figures recently reported are excellent news.
  • this major direction shift did not happen at no cost, and the way Enterprises' needs were dealt with is still one of the largest and hardest hickups in Mozilla's history. From my perspective and reading the Moz Enterprise mailing-list, it's still largely unresolved. While things that many people (including yours truly) were waiting for reach finally the launchpad, some others are still the poor parent in the organization. The ecosystem (third-party Gecko-based apps) for instance is still undervalued and undersupported and a builtin system that would allow a real add-on marketplace is still not in sight. The debugging environment (call it Venkman or Firebug or whatever) focuses more than ever on content and chrome is forgotten, very strongly impacting add-on and apps developers; I just can't believe some of us had to rely on alert() or dump() in 2011... Surprisingly, Mozilla's CEO almost does not communicate at all (outside of MoCo), a drastic change in MoCo's 8 years of existence. Thunderbird came back to the nest after a few years of semi-independent life and it does not appear to be able to fly alone.
  • a few years ago, development tools were officially called "bloat" and the trend was to get rid (hear turn them into add-ons) of all of them to make the browser lighter. We were a few to fight that and it's good to discover now we were right: web development tools distributed with the browser itself and immediately available are a major attractor.
  • XUL's fate is still a matter of concern to many add-on and 3rd-party implementors, and we heard just nothing here. That's unusual in the Mozilla world, and very embarassing because people (our customers) don't bet on a technology if they feel if it could be on the extinction slope.
  • I think Mozilla has to reorganize the way it - as an organization and a community - communicates. Planet.mozilla.org became a good example for "unmanageable logorrhea", sorry to say. If by pure lack of chance you're away from a computer during one day, you may have missed extremely important technical information hidden between flows and flows of blog articles, information that you will NOT find again because you don't even know on which blog they're posted. Leave for a summer break and you're doomed. "Hey, that was posted on a blog entry two weeks ago, you missed it?" Hell, YES, I missed it, I also have a private life, and I missed it because it was on a blog and not on a persistent easy-to-find web site owned by MoCo. That is now a rather severe issue. Most of that information should only be LINKED on blogs and their primary host should be MDN or the wiki, both sites automatically sending to planet a weekly links-only digest of all new documents.

On the Web front:

  • the numberless html is a failure at least from one point of view. There is not a single journalist or commenter not using the "5" digit mentioning the "new" html language. I still remember TimBL looong ago, probably during the Web Conference in Paris, saying something like "unfortunately, human beings need meaningful identifiers". He was speaking of addresses, and the topic was of course URLs vs. URNs. For html version numbers, it's about the same. A "Living Standard" will never be meaningful to people who are not implementors and will always harm third-party vendors or even corporate users who need to match an implementation against a given snapshot of a spec. Don't misunderstand me, I see good bits in the "Living Standards" process. I see also unrecoverable bad bits.
  • that "Living Standard" frenzy is a bit like the soviet revolution - if you can pardon that weird analogy - it tries to expand and reach all standardization areas related to the Web, even the ones that work pretty well with another system. Like the soviet revolution's proselitism, it uses sometimes unexpected ways. And it also suffers epic failures like the Websocket hickup at IETF that triggered extremely harsh words, almost never seen before in that organization. But unlike the soviet revolution that was highly centralized, it's more an organized chaos.
  • html still poses major issues in terms of unified look&feel, localization, internationalization for web-based apps, not even mentioning "standalone" (hear chromeless) web-based apps. It really seems we're reinventing the wheel, as if XUL XAML and other solutions never existed. We're not there yet. Again. In terms of accessibility, I won't even tell you here my gut feeling, I want to remain polite at least the first day of this new year...

On the personal front:

  • 44 and counting :-)

Wishing you a very happy 2012 !