A Natural Language User Interface is just a User Interface

Conversational bots are one of those things that might seem “magical” at first glance, but on a deeper look you can discover that there’s nothing more than a clever new way of doing things.

Matthew Honnibal proposes we call this kind of technology Linguistic User Interface, by analogy with Graphical User Interfaces, explains clearly and simply how language input it’s not that different from a click, and why the opportunity for taking advantage of this kind of interfaces it’s probably much more narrow than people may think.

Read his full article on: A Natural Language User Interface is just a User Interface


The challenges of formatting currency data

Localization and internationalization of an app or site it’s a challenge that’s not specially hard on the technical side, but that it can ceirtanly become difficult for social and behavioral aspects, such as our own etnocentrism, lack of standardized standards, or even standards that conflict with actual use or user expectations.

The development team at Etsy identified three attributes that affected currency formatting: the currency, user location and user language. Their post on How Etsy Formats Currency shows how to correctly format currency and some of the practical decisions that are involved in the process.

Using Basic Authentication with the WordPress HTTP API

Basic Authentication it’s often used as a simple security measure or as a temporary authentication method while developing with certain APIs.

While the WordPress HTTP API doesn’t have explicit support for basic authentication, it’s still possible to use it as a header:

$request = wp_remote_post(
    'body'    => array( 'foo' => 'bar' ),
    'headers' => array(
      'Authorization' => 'Basic '. base64_encode( $username .':'. $password )

Remember that if you’re sending an unencrypted request, all the headers will be sent in plain text, so you should only use it over HTTPS.

What is code? It’s not magic, just work

It’s very likely that you already know about or even read the latest issue of Bloomberg, entirely dedicated to answer What is Code? — if you haven’t, you definitely should go read it.

The entire piece is informative and fun to read, and there’s probably something new for everyone reading it. My favourite highlight is:

Computing treats human language as an arbitrary set of symbols in sequences. It treats music, imagery and film that way, too.

It’s a good and healthy exercise to ponder what your computer is doing right now […]

Thinking this way will teach you two think about computers: one, there’s no magic no matter how much it looks like there is. There’s just work to make things look like magic. And two, its crazy in there.

Which reminded me something I said to a fresh group of designers on a HTML+CSS+Javascript crash course.