Make Smarter - Digital Humanitarianism, Field Guide to Web Applications, Open Advice

First up in this month’s Make Smarter is a TED Talk by Paul Conneally titled Digital Humanitarianism. It talks about how mobile devices like phones have fundamentally changed disaster response, and it talks about mapping efforts and Open Street Map quite a bit.


HTML5 Rocks has produced a Field Guide to Web Applications (in HTML5 of course). Aside from being a great demonstration of HTML5 in and of itself, it also has a ton of information on that extremely important but often missing thing in GIS web apps - good design. To find out what HTML5 elements are safe to use and polyfills, check out HTML5 Please.

We’re living in an age of really smart JavaScript folks, and Addy Osmani is one of them. Your web app will probably never get enough web traffic to worry about this (sorry), but Addy put together a great series of videos on Scaling JavaScript Applications which are fascinating whether you need to worry about that kind of traffic or not. Here’s the first of 3 videos:

Addy Osmani - Scaling Your JavaScript Applications Part 1 from Async on Vimeo.

If you’re just getting into JavaScript, check out Nettuts+ Learn jQuery in 30 Days.

Finally, if you are looking to contribute to or start your own open source project, check out Open Advice, which is available for purchase or free download. To quote the web site:

It answers the question what 42 prominent contributors would have liked to know when they started so you can get a head-start no matter how and where you contribute.

It is well written, accessible, and the kind of reference you don’t need to read cover to cover. There’s a big difference between a project that MIT/GPL’d its code and an open source project, and this guide has a lot of great advice to get you to the latter.