Simon Willison’s Weblog


Saturday, 15th June 2002

Meg replies

Meg has replied to Jonathan’s criticism of her piece on the nature of blogging via his site’s comments system. She defends her original viewpoint, commenting on blogging that we can’t define this thing based on the content we’re outputting. It looks like this debate still has quite a bit of life left in it.

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Meetup Launches

With launch notices on both glish and Signal vs. Noise I just had to check out MEETUP. I was not dissapointed. MEETUP is a beautifully simple concept that has been superbly executed. It aims to arrange real life get togethers around the world of people with similar interests. You simply find a topic that interests you and see when the next scheduled meetup for that topic in your area is, then enter your email address to have the site update you on the status of the meetup and remind you nearer the time. Meetup participants vote on the venue (from a list of over 11,000 suggested spots) and the rest is up to them. Why MEETUP?

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Has Paul finished?

I wonder if Paul Sowden has finished his exams yet.

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Anil Dash does Amazon

Anil Dash provides a copy of Amazon’s home page in HTML 4.0 Transitional, and it validates. Solid proof that you can rewrite a complex ecommerce site in valid HTML, and another victory for the web standards movement.

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The nature of blogging

Meg Hourihan’s explanation of blogging (which I linked to and praised earlier) is stirring up something of a storm. Meg’s suggestion that the key to blogging is the format has been ripped to pieces by the likes of BurningBird, Jonathan Delacour and Stavros. Jonathan uses photography as an analogy—some photographers are excellent technically and concentrate on taking the perfect photograph while losing sight of the art of the medium. I hope I’m not overquoting, but Jonathan clinched his argument for me with the following:

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JSRS 2.1 released

Brent Ashley: JSRS2.1 Released (from June 10th—Internet Archive copy). JSRS is Javascript Remote Scripting, an incredibly powerful javascript library that allows DHTML pages to communicate with a web server without having to reload the page. This latest version fixes POST suport for Mozilla. The library opens the way for a whole host of interactive web applications without the normal limitations caused by the request-and-response nature of the web. Best of all, JSRS is cross platform (at least for Mozilla, NS4+ and IE4+).

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User Agent list

rudy on thelist pointed me to this handy List of User Agents.

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Pure CSS popups

New example on Eric Meyer’s css/edge: Pure CSS Menus. This is very impressive stuff—it’s an implementation of those dropdown menus where you hover over an item and a new menu pops up, but it’s done in pure CSS without a line of javascript. Even better, the markup for the menu is a nested unordered list, so browsers that don’t support the advanced CSS needed will still display the menu in a meaningful way.

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Learning from smart tags

Scott Andrew LePera in a mail to Webdesign-L (sent on the 12th of June, I’m catching up on my mailing list folders):

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Python iterators

Via Daily Python-URL (which appears not to provide permalinks): Introduction to Python iterators. This is an extract from Deitel & Deitel’s “Python How To Program” and includes extensive code samples. Iterators are very cool—as I see it, they allow you to overload an object ready for use with Python’s powerful for ... in ... syntax (as well as other looping methods). This blog is implemented as an object in PHP—had I used Python I could display the whole blog using for entry in blog: print entry.

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Meg on blogging

Meg Hourihan: What We’re Doing When We Blog. It’s a curious fact of blogdom that many bloggers blog blogging—why they do it, what it is and why it’s so important. I feel Meg has nailed it with this article—blogging is defined by the format, not by the subject matter. She also makes some insightful comments about why the blogging format works so well:

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Google already

This site has been here for less than four days yet it already shows up as the top result if you search for simon willison on Google—and I never even submitted the URL. In fact, asking Google to list pages that link to me currently turns up zero results. Spooky.

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Uni year ends

Well, I’ve reached the end of my first year at Bath University (studying a degree in Computer Science) and I can safely say I’ve never had 9 months go so fast. I’ve had a fantastic time—I met the girl of my dreams, made a whole bunch of great friends, did loads of cool things and spent far too much money. Today I move out of halls (a terrifying prospect when you live on the ninth floor and the lift is playing up). As an aside, I also lose my lovely fast net connection and return to the trauma of 56K. Thank goodness for Mozilla and tab based browsing.

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CSS panic guide

Owen Briggs: CSS Panic Guide. Owen is the author of several excellent CSS resources (including Box Lessons and 264 font size screenshots) and this is his collection of links to CSS resources from all around the web. It covers every CSS reference worth knowing about and is an essential bookmark for anyone interested in using CSS for layouts.

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2002 » June