Simon Willison’s Weblog

Wednesday, 12th June 2002

Day 3: Bill

Day 3: Bill—Mark Pilgrim’s “30 days to a more accessible weblog” series continues with the story of Bill, a retired military officer with a physical disability who surfs the web on an old Linux laptop and runs a mailing list on Veteran’s rights. The piece also clarifies that the characters profiled are fictional (call me naive but I wasn’t sure if they were based on real people or not). I can’t wait to see where Mark is going with this—3 days in and he has already built up some beautifully observed case studies and it will be fascinating to see what he does with them. I’m also intrigued as to how he can make his blog any more accessible—his current accessibility statement demonstrates a far higher level of understanding than any other site I’ve yet seen on the web.

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Webdesign-L ablaze!

The Webdesign-L mailing list is ablaze with a huge, rambling, flamey thread about the relaunched Web Standards project. As with so many flames it has become quite difficut to work out what is being argued over and why (an issue compounded by the emergence of sub threads on everything from US law to how to upset a Canadian). I would provide links, but the list does not maintain a web accessible archive.

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Netscape 4 is 5 years old

Netscape 4 hit 5 years old yesterday. Scott Andrew celebrated this monumental occasion with a poetic tombstone tribute, entitled "1997—2002". The challenge now is to make this dream a reality—NS4 still has a stronghold in many corporate and institutional IT departments, as Zeldman bemoans in the first "opinion" of the new Web Standards project. An opinion that is notable in its absence of a permalink ;)

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Todo list

Weblog TODO List

I’ve got the bare bones of a weblog up and running now— essentially the ability to add entries which are categorised and archived in a permanent location. Still to come...
  1. An edit function
  2. A comments system (probably similar to Jonathan Delacour’s)
  3. RSS feeds for individual categories
  4. Referral tracking (as seen on diveintomark)
  5. A better form of overall statistics tracking than that provided by the University
  6. A system for storing more permanent feature articles
  7. An XML-RPC API for posting with an accompanying PythonCard application
  8. An interface for editing my Blog Roll
  9. Allow visitors to include/exclude categories via cookies
  10. A preview post feature
  11. A link directory that accumulates links automatically by parsing blog entries
  12. Dancing monkeys—definitely dancing monkeys
This blog is written in PHP and uses serialized PHP objects in flat text files for storage. I will put together a full article on how everything works as soon as I’ve implemented a “permanent feature” archive.

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Blogging aint easy

Blogging isn’t nearly as easy as it looks. After several days hacking around in PHP (I’m far too proud to use an off the shelf solution) I find myself confronted with a blank slate, and writers block has taken hold. The toughest thing is working out what style to use in blog entries—my previous writing for the web has been primarily on forums (where posts do not have to stand on their own) or news sites where a formal, unopinionated tone is required. A blog should be informal but informative, with each post hopefully adding a new angle to the topic in hand. I’m sure it will get easier as I go along...

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WaSP Phase II

The Web Standards project has launched Phase II.

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2002 » June