Simon Willison’s Weblog


29 items tagged “bbc”


Over the last twenty years, publishing systems for content on [BBC] News pages have come and gone, having been replaced or made obsolete. Although newer content is published through dynamic web applications that can be readily modified, what lies beneath this sometimes resembles layers of sedimentary rock.

James Donohue

# 6th July 2018, 11:02 pm / bbc, bbcnews, ssl


UK Web Archive: WW2 People’s War. Good news: the British Library has already archived the BBC’s WW2 People’s War site (on 22nd May 2006).

# 8th February 2011, 12:58 am / archiving, bbc, britishlibrary, recovered

Erase and rewind. The BBC plan to delete 172 sites from the domain, including WW2 People’s War, described thus: “The BBC asked the public to contribute their memories of World War Two to a website between June 2003 and January 2006. This archive of 47,000 stories and 15,000 images is the result.” Appalling.

# 7th February 2011, 4:24 pm / bbc, deletionism, recovered


A new global visual language for the BBC’s digital services. Detailed explanation of the BBC’s new “visual language” for their digital properties.

# 17th February 2010, 12:34 pm / bbc, design

Around the World by Zeppelin. If you’re in the UK, you have four days left to catch this fantastic 90 minute documentary on iPlayer. It covers the first ever flight around the world, in the Graf Zeppelin in 1929, from the point of view of Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, a reporter for the Hearst media empire and the only woman on the voyage. The archive footage is incredible.

# 12th February 2010, 10:37 pm / bbc, documentary, zeppelins


Micro Men. “Affectionately comic drama about the British home computer boom of the early 1980s.”—aired last night, and on BBC iPlayer for the next week. I thought it was absolutely charming, as well as being a thought provoking history of the rise and fall of the British computer industry in the early 80s.

# 9th October 2009, 12:47 am / bbc, computing, history, iplayer, micromen, tv

Most journalists have grown up with a fortress mindset. They have lived and worked in proud institutions with thick walls. Their daily knightly task has been simple: to battle journalists from other fortresses. But the fortresses are crumbling and courtly jousts with fellow journalists are no longer impressing the crowds.

Peter Horrocks

# 20th July 2009, 5:20 pm / bbc, journalism, newspapers, peter-horrocks

John Resig on Glow. John criticises Glow for reinventing the wheel—BBC insiders respond in the comments below.

# 8th July 2009, 7:24 pm / bbc, glow, javascript, john-resig, libraries

BBC: Glow (via) The BBC have released Glow, their jQuery-like JavaScript library developed in house over the past few years. It’s open source under the Apache license.

# 8th July 2009, 3:25 pm / bbc, glow, javascript, jquery, open-source

iPlayer usage, for streaming, peaks about 10pm - just a little later from TV. But interestingly, iPlayer on the iPhone peaks at about midnight. So people are clearly going to bed with their iPhone and watching in bed. And we also see on the weekends, there's a peak of Saturday and Sunday morning usage at about 8 to 10am in the morning on iPhone.

Anthony Rose

# 23rd May 2009, 12:42 am / anthonyrose, bbc, iphone, iplayer

Visualising Radio, pushing, not pulling. The BBC’s new radio player uses Comet over a Flash XMLsocket connection transport, with an ActiveMQ message queue behind the scenes. I’d like to know what server they’re using to broadcast out to the XMLsocket connections.

# 13th January 2009, 12:59 am / activemq, bbc, comet, duncanrobertson, flash, javascript, xmlsocket


BBC Programmes iPhone webapp experiment. More clever BBC hackery from Duncan Robertson, a really classy iPhone web app for viewing the BBC’s TV schedules, built against the BBC Programmes API with source code available.

# 8th December 2008, 6:21 pm / bbc, bbcprogrammes, duncanrobertson, iphone

BBC Programmes via Instant Messenger. Neat jabber hack by Duncan Robertson.

# 2nd November 2008, 3:58 pm / bbc, duncanrobertson, jabber, jabberbot

James May’s Big Ideas: Come Fly with Me (via) The BBC made an hour-long documentary on Ekranoplans! It’s available for the next 21 days on the iPlayer (UK residents only).

# 28th September 2008, 11:07 pm / bbc, documentary, ekranoplans, iplayer, james-may, tv

We’re added some iCal views to BBC Programmes. BBC /programmes is one of the most exciting public facing parts of the BBC’s online offerings.

# 19th July 2008, 11:48 pm / bbc, duncanrobertson, ical, slashprogrammes

BBC iPlayer Beta. Preview of the new version of the iPlayer. Nice to be able to listen to Radio programmes in the same interface as TV without having to use the cramped popup window.

# 28th June 2008, 9:35 pm / bbc, iplayer, radio

Removing Microformats from “Until these issues are resolved the BBC semantic markup standards have been updated to prevent the use of non-human-readable text in abbreviations.”

# 23rd June 2008, 9:04 pm / abbr, accessibility, bbc, microformats


Web design 2.0—it’s all about the resource and its URL. The fact that the BBC is now building things against this kind of theoretical basis is immensely exciting.

# 28th December 2007, 11:47 pm / bbc, urls

BBC iPlayer now supports streaming Flash for Mac and Linux. Absolutely fantastic—it Just Works, you hit the homepage and you can be watching video in seconds. No need to even sign up for an account. I imagine IP ranges are used to block access from outside the UK.

# 14th December 2007, 12:36 pm / bbc, flash, iplayer, linux, mac, osx

Perl on Rails—Why the BBC Fails at the Internet. Depressing explanation of how the BBC’s decision to outsource its technical infrastructure to Siemens has resulted in severe technology limitations, including the need for everything to run on Perl 5.6 (5.8 came out in 2002).

# 3rd December 2007, 9:43 am / bbc, perl, siemens, technology

BBC Radio Labs: Perl on Rails. BBC engineered built their own Rails clone in Perl to fit in with the BBC’s engineering infrastructure—it’s already running the new programmes guide.

# 1st December 2007, 1 am / bbc, perl, rails

BBC Radio 4—Click On. I was interviewed on today’s programme, about OpenID. The clip is about 7 minutes in to the program, which is available using RealPlayer and the BBC’s Listen Again service.

# 1st October 2007, 11:56 pm / bbc, clickon, listenagain, openid, radio, radio4, realplayer

BBC Olinda digital radio: Social hardware. Schulze and Webb made a social radio prototype for the BBC; the IPR will be under an attribution license so manufacturers can run with it without asking for permission first.

# 20th August 2007, 9:47 pm / attribution, bbc, digitalradio, hardware, jack-schultz, matt-webb, olinda, radio, schulzeandwebb, socialradio

There is a problem of managing identity across the internet, so when I say Darren Waters I mean this person and all of the manifestations and representations and personas of that person. The ability to knit those together is a huge challenge and opportunity for us as an industry.

Bradley Horowitz

# 1st July 2007, 8:54 am / bbc, bradley-horowitz, identity, openid

A Hack for Europe! Signups are now open for Hack Day Europe, on June 16th and 17th. You need to apply for an invitation.

# 18th April 2007, 11:24 pm / bbc, bbcbackstage, hackday, tom-coates, yahoo

Hack Day 2007—get your diaries out. Yahoo! UK and the BBC are hosting a public hack day on the weekend of June 16th/17th at Alexandra Palace, complete with a concert from a “top secret” band. The US hack day surprise performance was Beck.

# 29th March 2007, 2:24 pm / bbc, hackday, yahoo

On the BBC Annotatable Audio project... Tom’s write-up of the work done on audio annotation by the BBC Radio and Music Interactive R&D team.

# 19th March 2007, 4:13 pm / annotation, bbc, viddler


The BBC’s programme catalogue (on Rails). Matt Biddulph’s current project is insanely cool.

# 31st October 2005, 7:39 pm / bbc, matt-biddulph, rails