Stack Overflow, HTML 5, Chrome Processes, Atmosphir and More [Best of September '08 #2]

An assortment of the most interesting posts this week (September 8-14 2008):

  • Stack Overflow launches, a Q&A site for programmers, who can ask questions and get answers from other programmers. The site is community driven, good answers get voted up and rise in the list of answers to a question. As a result, any discussions among the answers are discouraged, as these will be scrambled, explains Joel Spolsky, one of the founders. Community members can build a reputation by earning points and badges in response to good answers and other activity. Marshall Kirkpatrick liked Stack Overflow in his review, and I think it could be a useful service. Marshall requested subscribable feeds for answers to a question. I found a link to an Atom feed for each question, not sure if it is optimal though. There are also feeds for a users top answers and questions, and the top 30 questions for a specific tag. A chronological feed with all questions belonging to a tag would perhaps be more useful.
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  • Webmonkey has an article about HTML 5, the next specification in works for the HTML language. The latest specification 4.01 was completed in 1999, and we probably will have to wait at least another 10 years for a completed version 5. In the meantime some browser vendors have implemented parts of the HTML 5 draft, e.g. the canvas element, and more recently the video element, as I wrote about last week. Browser extensions like Gears, and plugins like Silverlight and Flash also find a niche, where the current standard is lagging behind.
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  • Scott Hanselman writes about the use of multiple processes in the Chrome browser and in IE8. Separate processes create a greater degree of isolation between tabs: If one process/tab crashes, the other processes/tabs stay unaffected. The potential overhead of processes vs. threads, and the inter-communication between processes, are really no problem nowadays considering the rapid development of computer hardware.
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  • A new tool dubbed CookieMonster will soon be released to the public.┬áIt is able to get hold of user credentials submitted to secured sites via a man-in-the-middle attack. Several banks are identified as insecure. The tool utilizes a programming flaw, where the website developer has failed to designate the authentication cookie as secure.
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  • Atmosphir, a 3D platform game creation tool, is currently in private beta but expects to open to the public at the end of the year. Atmosphir got one of the five jury selection prices at this years TechChrunch50. Hopefully it is fun for creative kids.

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