Simon Willison’s Weblog


Wednesday, 27th August 2003

Hire Meyer

Congratulations to Eric Meyer on the launch of his new consultancy business, Complex Spiral Consulting (named after his famous css/edge demo). The new company’s tag line is “Helping clients improve the bottom line through the use of Web standards”, so it looks like the theme of standards advocacy is continued from his role at Netscape. Eric has also promised a series of occasional articles/tutorials, the first of which explains some useful techniques for using floats as part of CSS designs.

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XML textarea validation bookmarklet

Jesse Ruderman’s Blogidate bookmarklets cycle through all of the textareas on the current page and submit their contents for validation. I suggested an alternative approach, and to my great delight has has followed it up with the essential Blogidate XML well-formedness. One click, and each textarea on the page will be checked to see if it contains valid XHTML. If it does, the background goes green—if not, it goes red. Hopefully I’ll never post another invalid entry (my previous solution broke when I switched to application/xml+xhtml).

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Code Kata

I recently read my way through The Pragmatic Programmer and found it easily lived up to my epectations based on reviews I’ve seen on the web. Dave Thomas, one of the book’s authors, has an excellent weblog on which he has been posting a series of programming exercises called Kata. Some are programming problems while some are more related to software design, but each one provides an interesting thought exercise with no instantly obvious solution.

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ML Types Explained

From a link on the mailing list edition of comp.lang.python, this talk on strong typing (in the form of heavily annotated slides) is an explanation of the ML type system and why it really doesn’t suck. From the same thread, Felix is a new high level C++ style language with an ML style type system which looks like it could be worth experimenting with.

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I’m in Kansas

If you’ve been wondering why the site has been so quiet for the past few days, here’s the reason: I’ve moved to the States! To cut a long story short, I’m here in sunny Lawrence for a couple of weeks preparing for a year long industrial placement at the Lawrence Journal-World, which should start for real in October (depending on my Visa application). To call this an exciting opportunity would be an understatement. The team I’m working with have won a ton of awards, and have a fearsome reputation within the industry. I’m joining Adrian Holovaty (recently interviewed on zlog) as a web developer working on KUSports, LJWorld and the excellent The company itself is remarkably forward thinking, especially in its approach to the web (no need to support Netscape 4)—there’s a good overview of what makes the Journal World special here, which includes a video interview with my boss, Rob Curley.

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2003 » August