Simon Willison’s Weblog



4th March 2003

Here’s the reason I’ve been blogging at a relatively low frequency lately: BCSS—the Bath University Computer Science Society. The site is still under heavy development (there’s a surprise) but there’s enough information there now for it to be worth linking to. At the moment the site is valid HTML 4.01 Strict but it works as XHTML as well (try appending ?xhtml=1 to the URL of any page on the site) thanks to an ultra flexible page template class (outlined here) and a few simple tricks to convert XHTML in to HTML beforethe page is displayed.

Enough web geekery, I should probably explain a few things about the society itself. We initally formed a few weeks before Christmas, but due to coursework deadlines, the Christmas break, exam revision and exams were unable to sort much out until about a month ago. Our aim is to “fill the gaps” in the Computer Science degree courses provided by the University of Bath. While the official courses provide an excellent theoretical background for CS students, no University course could possibly hope to keep up with the lastest developments in our fast moving industry. We plan to provide student-run activities that complement the course, such as seminars on topics like XML, Web Services, J2EE and .NET, training courses in different programming languages and talks from invited speakers on hot topics in Computer Science.

That’s the long term plan at any rate. For the moment, we’re just trying to get established, sign up some members and get some experience at running things. Our first undertaking is a introductory C++ course run by Tristan Caulfield, which got off to a good start on Monday and will be followed by a course on graphics programming with Direct 3D. We’re also on the look out for a relatively high profile open source developer in the Bath/Bristol area willing to come in and give a presentation on the Open Source development model (it’s scary the number of people on our course with little or no understanding of the Open Source ethic). Any suggestions for a candidate would be more than welcome :)

This is BCSS by Simon Willison, posted on 4th March 2003.

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