February 2009 - 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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