Simon Willison’s Weblog


Tuesday, 7th January 2003

Safari surprise

I dunno, you take the evening off to watch a daft Bond movie (Goldeneye was showing on ITV and when you log on again the world is aflame with reports of Apple’s new browser, Safari. To everyone’s surprise it’s based on the KHTML engine as seen in Konqueror, rather than using Mozilla’s Gecko engine. I’ve used Konqueror a fair bit in the past few months and it really is an excellent rendering engine (I was amazed when it rendered all of my favourite CSS layout sites flawlessly) but this is still something of a shock, especially considering Apple’s recent hiring of Dave Hyatt, a key member of the Mozilla project and the guy behind the excellent Gecko-based browser Chimera.

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Pepy’s diary

Pepy’s Diary is a serialization of the Diary of Samuel Pepys in weblog form, which launched on Christmas day plans to continue for the next ten years (the time period covered by the diary). The weblog is quickly becoming a meme, and Phil Gyford, its creator, has written an overview of how publicity spread after the diary’s launch. He has also written a story for BBC News Online describing the project. I am reminded of Bloggus Caesari, a historical weblog by Julius Caesar.

Collaboration tools should be simple

Peter Merholtz has been thinking about collaborative software tools, and has concluded that the simplest are by far the most effective.

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Spatial indexes

Jeremy Zawodny demonstrates Spatial Indexes in MySQL 4.1. This clever new feature allows you to add data to a table in terms of geometric points, then run queries to find (for example) all points that occur inside a specified polygon. Weird and wonderful stuff.

Wiki hosts and ticket stubs

Matthew Haughey asks why no one has launched a free host for people to set up Wikis, similar to blogspot for blogs or Yahoo Groups for mailing lists / collaborative communities. It’s a good question.

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Vertical centering with CSS

Lots of people said it couldn’t be done (myself included), but evidently we were wrong. Joe Gillespie shows how to achieve vertical centering with CSS in the latest edition of WPDFD. Via Craig Saila, who also has an experimental piece showing how the height of three divs can be set to the height of the tallest of the three, using javascript.

Using page titles properly

Adrian Holovaty eloquently demonstrates why real page titles (as opposed to titles stuffed with meaningless marketing keywords) are so important, using local entertainment listings as his example. One site that would do well to take his advice (despite not being in the entertainments listings business) is The Register, which has been failing to provide story headlines in page titles for as long as I have been visiting it. This is almost certainly a flaw in their content management system, but in 2003 it is an inexcusable error to make.

2003 » January