While I gather my thoughts on @media, a quick mention of the London WSG meeting on Wednesday night, which was on the topic of Findability.
There were three presentations; the first, by Cyril Doussin, introduced the subject and explained the core concepts behind it; the ways in which users find your content (or product) and how you can make it easier for them.
Next, Stuart Colville showed practical ways to make the content on your site more findable, from design through to mark-up, style and behaviour. He raised the interesting point that tagging is better than categorising, as categories tend to be fixed whereas content changes over time as information evolves; time for me to start using WordPress’ tagging function.
Finally, Steve Marshall showed off Yahoo!‘s latest project, Fire Eagle (currently invitation only; I was handed one at @media today), which is a service that lets you update your physical location across multiple sites and services. It’s pretty impressive in theory, but the fact that I can only currently update from the desktop means I am limited to home or work, mostly.
The whole evening was nicely balanced to appeal to a broad range of skills and knowledge, and had the right mix of theory, practice, and showing off. I’m aiming to get more involved in organising future events, and I hope to be part of more quality events like this one.
I intended to write about the WSG meeting and the first day of @media, but
drinking socialising networking has occupied my spare time. Still, I got to hear some salacious gossip about well-known characters in the web community, so it was worth it for that alone.
Some interesting stuff about HTML 5 to discuss shortly.
Having missed the opening party, my introduction to London Web Week was last night’s Microformats vEvent. Unfortunately it wasn’t a good introduction, for two reasons;
First (and foremost), it wasn’t really about Microformats. The first speaker talked about RDFa and GRDDL, the second about RDFa and FOAF.
Second, the presumption was that we had an extremely high level of technical knowledge; a presumption that wasn’t true, in my case at least. I’m fairly new to Microformats but I have a pretty good idea of what they’re about; both talks went over my head anyway. And my poor wife, who’s learning about them for the first time, had no idea what was going on.
The description of the event said:
We hope that no matter your experience level, you’ll find the evening informative, enjoyable and inspiring.
I didn’t. In fact, it may well have been counter-productive for me; it took a subject I’m excited about, and made it sound complicated and boring.
I’m sure that some people would have got a lot out of it — the man next to me who’s studying for his pHD in artificial intelligence certainly seemed to enjoy it — but I think the organisers should have been more honest about the technical knowledge required, and saved some attendees a bit of time.
I did get a book for asking a question, however, so it wasn’t a total loss.
My uncanny powers of prediction continue to amaze even me; in February I wrote of three things I’d like to see in Firefox 3.1, and yesterday Mozilla announced that there will be a point release sometime in the near future.
No news on whether my requests will be implemented, but I have my fingers crossed.
GTA IV has been occupying my spare time recently, with extra-curricular web work taking a back seat (pun intended). But next week should put paid to that, as London Web Week takes place – and I’ll be attending a lot of it.
So far I’ve reserved places at the opening party, the Microformats and Findability events, and the two-day @Media conference; I may well make the closing party on Sunday as well. I wanted to attend Bar Camp but tickets went faster than hot cakes and I missed my chance.
Other than @Media, which I enjoyed greatly last year and no doubt will do so again, I’m really looking forward to the Microformats event. I’ve recently started implementing hAtom and hCalendar on sites I’ve been producing and am finding it hugely interesting.
The WSG’s Findability event I’m anticipating less, but then I thought the same about last year’s Microformats talk and regretted not attending, so this time I don’t want to make a similar mistake.
I’ve no doubt this will provide me with plenty to write about in the coming weeks and months, and it’s exciting to have so much happening on your doorstep. If you’re planning to attend and want to say hello, let me know; it’ll be nice to put a face to a name.
One of the pieces of good news from the Internet Explorer 8 announcement is that the new browser will support generated content. This is something the IE team have been resisting for a while, but it’s a very useful and flexible extension to CSS (whether or not it should be included is an argument for a different time).
At it’s most basic level of usage, content allows you to append strings at the beginning or end of an element. In this first example I’m going to use the
:before pseudo-classes to append content to both ends of the h1 element:
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