Archive for the 'Speaking' Category

A couple of HTML5 articles

We haven’t met for a while here, but I haven’t just been sitting around eating chocolates and watching the Jeremy Kyle Show.

I spoke at Over The Air, and met Sir Tim Berners-Lee who asked me to sign a copy of Introducing HTML5 that I gave him (swoon!).

I’ve written HTML5: The Facts And The Myths with Remy for Smashing Magazine, which has attracted lots of comments.

I’ve also done an interview with Remy (the editors have edited me to call him “Sharp” throughout, as though we were both pupils at Eton or something) in which we say crazy things like “you don’t have to use canvas, and you don’t have to immediately switch to HTML5”. It’s called HTML5: The 900-Page Gorilla with a Wide Ensemble.

A nice review of our book was published by Peter Steen Høgenhaug, noting that we “relate every part of HTML5 to accessibility”, which is great as that’s exactly what we set out to do.

I spent last week in Stockholm, giving 4 presentations, checking out the marvellous Vasa Museum and autographing a copy of our book with a picture of a unicorn and a double rainbow (Unicorns, butterflies, ribbons, rainbows & fluffy kittens feature on page 35 of the book).

And there are still quite a few talks to give before the end of 2010!


I think I’m a little bit in love with Poland.

In the late eighties, I lived opposite a portakabin that was a Polish Club. Somehow I became a member and got to know the old Poles who would go drinking there at weekends. There was an old lady who had a tattoo on her arm from Auschwitz. Jan, the wizened old man who collected the glasses had a photo of himself in his wallet, taken in his Polish Air Force clothing, standing in front of a bi-plane. Over a few Okocim beers, he could be persuaded to tell the story of how, as a resistance partisan, he killed several Nazi soldiers. As we got more drunk, attempting to go across the 14 optics of vodka behind the bar, all the Poles would break out into patriotic songs and tell me how they were looking forward to seeing the homeland again once communism fell.

So, when I was invited to come to speak at the first SparkUp! conference, I jumped at the chance. With a freshly-minted presentation on Web Development 2.0, I arrived in Poznan on Monday afternoon with Remy, Ribot, Andy Budd, Yaili and Matt Biddulph.

Our hosts, Piotr and Krzysztof took us around the postcard-pretty old town of Poznan before a typical Polish dinner (pork-coma ensued) and a few beers.

The day of the conference was organisational perfection in a great modern venue (and this was the first time they’d done a conference!) and then it was party time: lots of Cheeky Bison (Żubrówka and apple juice) and murderous other shots.

Yesterday, I really meant to return to the old town with my camera. But a hangover the size of Gdansk forced me to spend hours in the beautiful 4 saunas, jacuzzi and swimming pool in my hotel.

So, thanks for having me, Poland. The vodka is amazing, the women are beautiful (please address your comments “dear sexist bastard”) and the locals friendly and clueful. I hope to see you again soon.


Future of Web Design, Glasgow

Here’s the talk I gave at Glasgow (which was the afternoon talk I gave in in Bristol).

Sorry, Glaswegians, for the lack of demos—the projector had problems with Windows machines.

Future of HTML5 (.odp format, 3MB.), Future of HTML5 (.pdf format, 600K.)

Forms demo

One of the cool things in HTML5 is intelligent forms, which are implemented most thoroughly in Opera (so try them there) and which are apparently “coming soon” in Google Chrome.

In legacy browsers, the intelligent forms just fall back to text input fields.

Safari displays input type="range" as a slider, and also the once-proprietary, now standardised placeholder attribute. Watch what happens in Safari when you click in and out of the email field.

And don’t forget to view source for that “Look, no JavaScript!” moment.

HTML5 forms demo.

Canvas demos

Want to learn more? Opera has some excellent beginner canvas tutorials:

  1. HTML 5 canvas – the basics
  2. Creating an HTML 5 canvas painting application
  3. Creating pseudo 3D games with HTML 5 canvas and raycasting
  4. Creating pseudo 3D games with HTML 5 canvas and raycasting: Part 2

Video demos

You’ll need Firefox 3.5 for these (I was demoing using an Opera Labs build, but it’s not publicly available yet).

Remember – there are no browser plugins running here, so the video element is completely available for manipulating with script. That’s the killer feature.

A couple of links I mentioned:

Thanks to all who came to watch, ask some questions, share their thoughts, drink a beer with me, or buy me a deep-fried Mars Bar!

Future of Web Design, Bristol

On Wednesday I presented on HTML5 in Bristol as part of the Future of Web Design Tour.

The hour-long workshop “How to build a HTML5 Web site” involved me coding in real time (with hilarious typo consequences like “Dictype” instead of “doctype”; frankly, I’d be better typing with my dic than my hands).

Consequently there are no slides to publish, but I have an article called Designing a blog with HTML that covers the same ground. (Two articles on this blog cover it in much more detail: Redesigning with HTML 5 and WAI-ARIA and Marking up a blog with HTML 5 (part 2).)

Some other useful resources:

You can also download Opera 10 which I was using to demo.

There will be a video available, and the Carson types have promised that they’ll publish a transcript simultaneously. It’s nice to see them taking accessibility seriously, and I was pleased to see that they had someone signing the sessions for hearing-impaired.

You can grab the slides and notes for my second session, The Future of HTML5, which I tweaked slightly to deliver on Monday in Glasgow.)

Hip hip hooray for San Jose


I flew in, dazed and confused, on Tuesday night and only managed to see the first morning of OSCON before I had to crash for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but I did get to see Jono Bacon present on building communities around Ubuntu – very relevant to my line of work and very interesting.

Tuesday night saw me in an iridescent lime-green t-shirt at the Linux Fund party, where I drank more than I should have (but not as much as Stuart Langridge, so that was alright).


Thursday saw me zipping up to Stanford University with the Sasquatch-wrestling John Foliot, where I gave a lunchtime presentation on HTML 5 (.ODP, 2MB) which was very well-attended. I also got to meet James Craig, after working with him online for a few years.

Then it was back to San Jose for dinner at the invitation of Google. It was odd to be surrounded by giants of the Open Source world, many of whom I’d never heard! Likewise, one guy I was talking to was developing a browser but had never heard of Zeldman—odd how two worlds coincide while rarely touching (Langridge is the only guy I can think of who passes easily between them). Swag was excellent at the Google party: an unlocked developer’s G1 Android phone. I can’t wait to get back to the UK to try it and download Opera Mini for Android.


Having woken up feeling fine, through the clever gambit of not drinking loads the night before, it was time to wander in and give my presentation. I felt fine until I was told that I was moved to the huge space where they do the keynotes because so many people had signed up to see me (about 120 expressions of interest).

My nerves were further shot when I tried to edit out a joke that I decided at the last minute wasn’t going to work, and Open Office crashed—2 minutes before I was due to start, leaving me to do ctrl-alt-delete and go into document recovery mode in front of an audience watching it broadcast on 4 huge screens.

Anyway, the talk went well, with some great instant feedback via twitter, and I didn’t do my usual trick of over-running.

If you’d like to grab my OSCON HTML 5 presentation (.ODP, 2.7MB), please do. Here’s my OSCON HTML 5 presentation video (FLV, 45 mins).

Getting beaten up by Open Source people

I confess that I was nervous, too, about presenting to a lot of very active Open Source coders as the rep of a closed-source company, on a Windows machine. (In my defence, it’s a dual-boot Ubuntu/ Windows machine and I needed to demo Internet Explorer).

I’m delighted to say that I had nothing but friendship and courtesy from all attendees, who applauded the fact that Opera evangelises, develops and follows Open Web Standards. I’d like to thank all those who made me feel so welcome; it was an honour to meet you.

San Jose, Stanford, OSCON photos.

The HTML 5 experiments

Or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love the DOCTYPE.

I was honoured to be invited by the Multipack, a group of Birmingham-based web professionals, to the first Multipack Presents, to talk about HTML 5 as part of an afternoon of discussion of emerging standards.

Rather than another “what is HTML 5?” talk, I decided to give a talk which I wish I’d been able to hear before I began my HTML 5 redesign. I talked through the process of the redesign, the decisions I made, the blind alleys I went up and where I got confused because the spec is ambiguous or opaque.

You can grab the The HTML 5 experiments (PDF, 2.5M) for your viewing pleasure, and play with the HTML 5 forms demo (currently only Opera 9.5 and upwards supports these new features). I’m not sure how much sense the presentation makes in isolation, though.

(Here’s a great serendipitous photo of me and my opening slide)

Also speaking were a very old mate, Matt Machell, who did an excellent introduction to WAI-ARIA, and my fellow beer-monster Stuart Langridge on New Whizzy JavaScript stuff.

I’d like to thank and congratulate the Multipack for organising a free Birmingham event to start building a Midlands-community that will show those Southern ponces in Brighton that you don’t need a few pebbles on a beach to have a vibrant scene. Thanks also to Birmingham web design agency One Black Bear who opened up their beautiful offices to a group of strangers and found it much fuller than anyone anticipated. Cheers to Campaign Monitor for pizza.

As is usual when a group of geeks meet up, there was beer and lewdness but also idea-swapping and inspirations.

So Langridge has written a test page verifying JavaScript can access the new HTML 5 elements for manipulation, as I didn’t know how to. Spurred on by Matt’s WAI-ARIA introduction, Langridge has come up with a proof-of-concept ARIA stylesheet and is looking for comments.

One of my aims was to get people involved in trying HTML 5 spec and participating in its specification, as I believe if you don’t vote you have no right to complain about the government you get. A few attendees have told me that they’re going to do just that, so mission accomplished for me. For example, Andy Mabbett has been thinking about HTML 5 and microformats and has mailed the HTML 5 working group.

Next meetup is in March, but I’ll be in India. Assuming I’m back I hope to see every Midlands-based web professional at the April meetup.

Welcome Molly, free HTML 5 talk on Saturday

I’m delighted that my old mate Molly Holzschlag is joining the Web Evangelist team at Opera.

I’ve known Molly since 2001. She was a journalist covering a Wrox XML conference I was helping run in Las Vegas. A colleague of mine, Karli Watson had a quickie, tacky Vegas wedding and Molly and I attended.

Two years later, I was searching for someone to co-author a book with me about usability, and found Molly. We were both unaware that we’d met before until halfway through our collaboration. Usability: the site speaks for itself sold poorly (and taught me some vital lessons about web developers and how they differ from programmers) but it cemented my friendship with Molly. She’s been to my house, eaten my evil chicken, charmed my children (“a real American!”) and helped me drink a bottle of vodka.

It’s great to work with old friends like Molly, Millsy and Jon Hicks, and new friends like “Zip Pin” Zi Bin, Shwetank, David-not-Dave, Andreas “Frisky” Bovens and Henny “Henry” Swan. One of the comments on Molly’s blog is “That’s some team Opera are building.” Fuck, yeah. And I’m delighted to be a part of it.

Why the mobile web must mirror the desktop

A long interview with me about One Web and the importance of web standards for device-independent development, which will presumably get Luca all foamy at the mouth again. Originally published in .net magazine a month ago.

Free talks on HTML 5, ARIA and JavaScript, Birmingham 21 February

I’ll be presenting “Confessions of a mad scientist: my HTML 5 experiments” on Saturday at 4pm in Birimingham (meet at 2pm for beers).

Also on the bill is Stuart Langridge on JavaScript and another old friend, Matt Machell, discussing ARIA. It’s free, so see you there? (More details)