February 2009 Archives - Broken Links Archive

Bespin, the cloud, and Canvas

Mozilla recently launched a very early version of Bespin, their online IDE (Sitepoint have a nice overview). It’s hard to make too much of it at this early stage, although it is impressively fast and responsive; time will tell if that continues to be the case as new features are added.

This responsiveness seems to come from the front end being created using JavaScript (only 62kb compressed, apparently) and the HTML5 canvas element (update: more on that implementation). Seeing other examples of what its capable of, I really need to start learning more about canvas.

A website unfit for a queen

To great fanfare, The Queen, in the company of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, unveiled the new British Monarchy website today. Unfortunately, what they unveiled was a real dog’s dinner.

Royal.gov.uk highlights the worst elements of the practice of web development; on only the second page I visited it became obvious that the site hasn’t been tested on any browser other than Internet Explorer, and a peek at the source code left me shocked.

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Microformats on Safari/iPhone

I’ve become one of the ranked masses of iPhone users, and now that I’ve come to terms with its limitations I’m generally pretty happy with it. One thing that strikes me as pretty strange, however, is the lack of support for the common data formats iCalendar and vCard — and, as a result of that, the non-existent support of the hCalendar and hCard microformats — in Safari.

It seems to me that a device such as the iPhone, with its built-in calendar and address book, would be able to make great use of the above microformats to pull contact data and events from web pages; it is, in fact, almost the perfect device for doing so.

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Quick testing for console.log

I’m happy to see that IE8 includes native support for console.log, the JavaScript command which writes information to your preferred debugging tool (mine is Firebug). If you leave it in your code – as I did on my latest project – it throws an error in IE7 & below.

The way around it is to quickly check that the command is supported by your browser, and to provide an alternative (I use that old standby, alert) if not; and the quickest way to do that is with the if…else shorthand:

window.console ? console.log(foo) : alert(foo);

Custom markup for Microformats

A mistake which seems to be fairly common when taking the first steps in learning about Microformats (and one which I have made) is to presume that the markup which is generated by the generation tools – for example, the hCard Creator – is the markup that must be used in the page.

That’s not the case, of course; with a few notable exceptions, the markup is completely customisable, and it is the order of the class names (and other attributes) which matters.

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I’ve updated my Speaking page to include more conferences, more videos, and a little on my speaking requirements and preferences. I’m planning to cut down on the number of talks I give in 2014 (twelve is too many), but am always open to interesting offers and opportunities, so please get in touch if you’re organising an event.

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