Sunday, 25 November 2007

BarCamp London: What is HTML5? - Kai Hendry

Kai Hendry is the angry young man who stormed out of the Vodafone/Novarra presentation at Mobile Monday London. He has a similar disposition to Luca Passani, only more so…

HTML 5 evolutionary rather than revolutionary — taking hints from what is actually supported by the browsers

WHATWG specs include good descriptions of what a browser does with tags

As opposed to W3C saying XHTML is the way to go — not backwardly compatible

W3C invited WHATWG to work with them

Bits that are new

Web Forms 2.0 — supported now in Opera — provides declarative validation in HTML (javascript not needed)

HTML5 validator

Also adding video & audio into the markup (as supported by Web Kit & Opera)

Dropped DOCTYPEs (browsers actually ignore them…)

BarCamp London: First view of the new BBC home page - Richard Hodgson

This hasn’t been released yet, but was shown to us in beta form. It looks good — most people liked it — and it’s a portal style page with drag & drop customisable widgets. Here’s some of the discussion points that were raised…

People pay license fee — feel that they have a bit of ownership

Traditional media — people want reassurance of seeing some news and editorial content on the front page

Simon Willison: have you tried using Flash cookies? — doesn’t go away when clear browser cookies, also cross-browser

BBC have to support all browsers with all capabilities

Currently fixed width to 960px and centered — bbc stats show very few using 800x600 (having a JS bug that records screen size + browser width)

  • various people commenting that liquid layouts are possible (even with drag & drop widgets) but harder
  • Richard Hodgson revealed that the BBC had tried out a liquid layout (complete with the widgets) but had settled on the fixed width for the moment

Has drag and drop widgets between columns — can turn widgets on and off

Doing an iterative process — rather than usual BBC all-at-once

Part of a larger BBC initiative to get faster at designing web sites, e.g. design pattern layout

  • full grid layouts, shared by the designers

Aiming for a streaming iPlayer widget on home page, probably by July

Getting rid of grey bar across the top of all BBC pages (yey!)

The page changes the background colours of all widgets when you change to a different tab for the main content — controversial — no real point

BarCamp London: Obscure Mac Apps - Melinda & Martijn

These are a collection of the more obscure Mac apps that Melinda and Martijn find useful. Not all of them are free, but none of them are expensive. Anything that more than five people already knew was skipped…

KeyCue — hold down the apple key, and see all the commands that are available at the moment

iStat Menus (like MenuMeters & MagiCal combined) — free

Caffeine — menubar item keeps your laptop from sleeping when open (useful for presentations/videos)

NameChanger — visual file renaming

Yojimbo — stuff database

  • can sync to web/iDisk
  • also has passwords & serial numbers
  • works with tags — have smart folders that pick up tags
  • similar to DevonThink

Keyboard Cleaner — disables your keyboard so you can clean it without typing nonsense (only responds to Apple-Q)

Audio Hijack Pro — only $20

  • can record audio from old DOS games in Parallels :-)

BibDesk — can throw all your PDFs into it and can add references to them from within Textmate

Papers — iTunes for PDFs (linked to Pubmed), but no link to editors

Sim R2D2 — really annoy someone else :-)

Picturesque — adds lots of borders, shadows etc to images

  • can also batch process to lots of images
  • not free

ImageWell — batch processing & uploading of images

  • similar to Skitch but free

XLD — converts audio files between formats (esp. lossless)

ZAPMac — scan reading by flashing words large across the screen

Nocturne — for viewing screens in the dark (cuts down the glare)

Remote Buddy — controls everything with an FrontRow-like interface

  • works with wii remote over bluetooth (wii remote is about £20)
  • also works with the EyeTV remote

Open Terminal Here — on Mac Update

iSquint — video compression to iPod

Simple Movie X — simple video editing & recompression; shows keyframes

And some of my current more obscure favourites…

They’ve updated Keywurl to work with Safari 3.0 on Leopard (you’ll need SIMBL, but this is provided with the download).

I find 1password indispensable for keeping web passwords. It saves them securely in the OS X Keychain and makes them available at a keystroke for any browser.

Mini Battery Logger does a really good job keeping track of how much battery I have left — and I can use it to figure out when I need to get a new one.

For those applications that don’t include automatic self-updating using Sparkle, I use AppFresh to tell me when there’s a new version.

BarCamp London: Tools I use for Front End Development - Natalie Down

TextMate to write HTML + server side

  • New From Template
  • or HTML mode then doctype tab-->

Image Editing with the GIMP or Picnik (online)


  • nice bookmarklet available to pick them up (cross browser)


HTML Tidy as a Firefox plugin

  • gives good warnings and has refreshable source

Webdev toolbar

  • quickest way to disable javascript
  • good for accessibility



  • can group CSS styles in sidebar — uses comments in source
  • dragging and rearranging in sidebar, rearranges text in source
  • can rename group names in source; sidebar updates automatically
  • don’t really use CSSEdit preview — use Firebug instead


  • Test styles — pops up a separate window for adding CSS
  • Better than Firebug for changing large amounts of styles as it stays when refresh main page
  • Another one to show grey backgrounds — lighter for more heavily nested


  • can edit layout directly in layout view
  • can grab bits in console and then click on them


Firebug useful for checking for memory leaks

  • use Profile over a period of time

Can test out CSS class changes by hand, before you run the

YSlow — has JSLint built-in for checking poor Javascript style

Insert jQuery bookmarklet

IE Javascript debugging:


Color Schemer Studio (costs something small)

  • screen colour picker

Color Blender (


Using IE in Parallels

  • can install Bonjour on Windows — automatically detects local webserver

Source control

svnX provides Tortoise-like behaviour for OS X

BarCamp London: Introducing J2ME Polish

Here is the presentation I made at London BarCamp 3. It’s been a long while appearing on slideshare, but in that time the guys at J2ME Polish have released version 2.0, complete with all the features promised in the slideshow and more.

We use J2ME Polish at Kizoom and I’m really impressed with how easy it makes mobile development. You can’t forget about the fragmentation issue, but the issues you have to deal with are reduced to sizing images and choosing formats rather than writing code to switch between them.