Simon Willison’s Weblog


Monday, 24th June 2002

An IA process

Anders Ramsay: How I work as an Information Architect (via Guide to Ease). An interesting overview of Information Architecture, including what it involves and how it can be aproached. The article also touches on Software Engineering related concepts such as project management and system design.

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Installing PHP and XSL on Windows

I’m currently reinstalling PHP on my Windows machine, and in doing so I came across this tutorial: Installing XSL and PHP on Windows. The tutorial provides all the necessary files and instructions to get XSL working with minimum hassle. I’ve been meaning to play with XSL for some time, and this has provided me with just the boost I needed to give it a go.

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PHP string tip

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve posted this PHP tip on a forum somewhere, so I may as well blog it:

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Some Python advocacy

I just engaged in some basic Python advocacy, during which I rolled out my all time favourite Python advocacy link: Why Python? by Eric Raymond.

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Skipping over navigation

Day 11’s accessibility tip is Skipping over navigation links, which suggests a compromise for people who did not or could not comply with Presenting your content first. I altered my template to present content first on Friday, but before then I was using a skip-navigation link. I now have a skip-content-to-access-navigation link instead, a technique I borrwed from Mark’s site but which he does not mention in today’s tip.

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Mozilla page info

I’ve been playing around with Mozilla’s “Page Info” feature, available in the View menu, the right-click context menu and through the Ctrl+I shortcut. I’d never really lookd at it before, but the information it provides is invaluable, especially if you are interested in web development. The info window is divided in to five tabs:

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Glastonbury Flash

I’m headed off to Glastonbury on Thursday and I’ve been checking out the offical festival website. It’s pretty good—the information I wanted was all there, it was easy to find and the site has a pleasant enough look to it. Then I tried the interactive flash map (warning: spawns popup). Running on my Dad’s brand new Pentium 4 1.8 GHz desktop, the opening intro animation ran like an absolute dog and took over a minute to finish. There was no “skip intro” option and no way to turn off the irritating music until the intro had finished. Once it had loaded the map was quite useful—you can overlay paths, information points and other bits and pieces straight on to the map which is a decent enough reason to use flash. Unfortunately the pointless, jerky 3D intro meant I very nearly gave up in disgust before I got to the good stuff.

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The Pickle Jar theory

A List Apart: Time Management—The Pickle Jar Theory. I like this concept—it’s simple, doesn’t involve long words or complex charts and makes good sense. The basic idea is that you should schedule only your high priority tasks for the day and leave the gaps in between for less important activities (email, browsing and so forth). This is supported by the analogy of a pickle jar, where you can fit more in the jar if you add large pebbles first before pouring in smaller pebbles and sand (rather than adding the largest pebbles last when they will be unlikely to fit). Jeremy Wright, the author of the article, is a regular over on the SitePoint forums.

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2002 » June