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Inside Tech – January 2014

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Technology changes as fast as we learn about it. It actually changed a little while we were writing that first sentence. The Inside Tech post is a monthly effort to update you on important changes within the technology space. It’s going to get a bit geeky at times, but we (the technology team at AMP) will do our best to cover the practical implications of these shifts and what they mean for you.

Second Screen Tech For Websites

Second screen technology has been primarily used to provide supplemental information on your mobile device for video games and your TV. Check out some cool things people are doing with mobile devices to supplement and control websites.

Real-Time Social Web Apps

The W3C rolled out some standards that allow for real time connectivity between browsers. We can now create experiences where multiple people can interact in real time on a website without having to refresh a page. This creates an opportunity for some really cool social experiences that go beyond traditional social networks.

Google Loses The Microdata Battle But The War Is Not Over

Schema.org was made popular by Google and started gaining mass adoption when they announced you could control your website results in search engines in the form of ‘Rich Snippets’?. Efforts to standardize a format for structured data on the Internet have been going on for awhile and as of November the W3C officially tossed out the microdata spec in favor of the similar, but more robust, RDFa format. Currently, data on the internet is formatted in a way that’s ok for humans but not very useful to machines. This basically means we should embrace RDFa in favor of Schema.org’s microdata so we can take advantage of future innovations around structured data on the Internet. There is no downside to switching as RDFa can still be used for Rich Snippets in Google.

One Click Actions & Google Now Integration In Gmail

While we’re on the topic of structured data, Gmail has been doing cool things with Microdata and JSON-LD (similar to Microdata). This allows us to create one click action buttons that display inline with the emails subject. These buttons can do things like register someone for an event, subscribe to a newsletter, write reviews, etc. For emails that contain the results of such actions we can use more structured data to tell Google Now to do something with the contents of an email. For example, if I register for an event, we can markup the response email so Google Now can display the event details. Future stuff.

Websites Can Now Shake Things Up On Your Smartphone

Did you know that modern browsers on mobile devices have access to some of that device’s functionality? We can already do things like detect device orientation, location, access the camera and more. As of recently it is now also possible for a website to make your mobile device vibrate. This will be huge for user feedback in web apps.

Big WordPress Update

WordPress 3.8 is out with some big changes to the admin panel and some security fixes. WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system because of how easy it is to use and the strong community behind it. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be updating your WordPress installs. The easiest way to prevent a site from getting hacked is to upgrade. Take it seriously.

Random Nerd Site of The Month

And because we’re nerds we would like to share something nerdy with the world. This month it’s images of computer code appearing in TV and films and what they really are.