Hot on the heels of surviving South By SouthWest, I survived a night drinking with Stuart Langridge.
So, over seven (or was it eight?) pints of real ale, we conversed. The topics included:
Why you can’t float table cells and rows around a page. I remember doing some tests years ago with absolutely positioning table cells, but if you float an element, it disregards the display:block rule that you need to use to remove its inherent “tableness”
Other people have expressed surprise that I had never been to SxSW before (last year I had the chance to go to India so went there instead) and it was with some trepidation that I went to bring the good news about Opera, HTML5 and give the Texas ladies the chance of some hot lovin'.
I very much liked Austin - or "Steve" as I like to call it - and it's become my new favourite American city; I used to like San Francisco but against Steve, it feels a bit like Brighton - too self-consciously cool to be relaxing.
I didn't see many talks as I had to be a boothbunny, but (to be brutally honest) I wasn't terribly impressed with those I did make it to. The panel format seemed a bit like paying to watch at a circlejerk, with everyone agreeing and congratulating each other, although I was impressed with some. The parties were not my thing either; I'm decades past queuing for an hour for a chance to shout at people you want to talk to (bah humbug get off my lawn). The free drinks in the lobby of my hotel every evening was far more conducive to chatting, sharing a laptop and doing the things I like to do with interesting people.
Fortunately, the "interactive workshop" I presented (which was actually a traditional presentation; there's no workshop potential with 400+ people in a room) was on Sunday so I had a couple of days to relax afterwards. (Slides are available for your downloading pleasure). It was a full house, with some great feedback ("Bruce Lawson is like an open-source Steve Jobs") - thanks all! Special thanks to Martin Kliehm for inviting me to take part in the 3 hour extravaganza he curated.
One of the highlights was talking to real customers on the booth. Many challenged our "fastest browser" claim, and went away pleasantly surprised when they found their own sites rendering so speedily. It was also great to blow the "Opera has a bad UI" bullshit out of the water.
The other highlight was meeting so many people that I know on the Web, but rarely meet in real life—people like the unrepentant hardliner, John Foliot, baby-eating Matt May and lovely people who I'd never actually met before, like Allan Kent (on-line friend since 2003), Jared Smith of WebAim and the best-dressed lady in Web, Nimbupani.
That nice Dan Oliver from .net magazine did an interview with me:
I got to eat a burger (Whataburger!) for breakfast, hang in the Media Temple VIP room, wear a Mexican wrestling mask and a glittery camisole. There are a few photos, fewer memories and, apart from liver made of paté and terminal jetlag, I survived my first South By SouthWest.
As I sit here in Austin, Texas munching a breakfast of bafflingly-termed foodstuffs like “eggs medium over-easy”, “white omlette” and incorrectly-pronounced tomatoes, I thought I’d update you on a few HTML5 tidbits.
I’m a lurking member of two W3C subgroups that work on the accessibility of video and canvas. We recently had two internal votes. The first was on what type of captioning format should be supported, and asked us to choose between the .srt format (a plain text file with time markers and text) or the W3C standard DXFP which, although minging, allows markup. (.srt seems to me to be as limited alt text on an image; it can’t contain markup or styling information). I voted for DFXP because, at its most basic it doesn’t need to be more complex than plain .srt, but has the potential for extensibility when browser implementations become more sophisticated. (My vote was a personal opinion and not an official Opera vote, by the way.)
The second vote that’s taking place is about extensions to canvas. There are two main proposals, one is for a new attribute called adom (for “accessibility DOM”) that constructs a “shadow DOM” for assistive technologies can hook into – and which the author must ensure is in sync with the visual rendering. I’m uncomfortable with this proposal for reasons that I’m not quite able to articulate at the moment (but its author is at South By Southwest so I hope to be able to catch up with him for a chat).
The proposal that I like is to extend canvas is “Improve image maps, don’t use @adom” which I favour because it uses familiar markup and reuses ideas from (and browser implementations of) HTML4. (Disclosure: the proposal was made by Chaals, Head of Standards at Opera, but that’s not why I prefer it.)
Anyway, gotta go and shower my pits before booth-bunnying the Opera South By Southwest booth. It’s in row 300 of exhibition room 4. Why not stop by a chat, especially if you’re a gorgeous Web Standards babe, or have a black coffee for me? Alternatively, I’m first speaker at an HTML5 extravaganza on Sunday from 2 to 6 pm.
Yikes. I remember when I used to blog at least once a week. I blame twitter. And the boss, for making me do some work.
Anyway, if you’re headed over to South By Southwest next week, and fancy learning about HTML5 on Sunday afternoon, please pop along for a three hour workshop with me and some lovely friends from the world of accessibility, Mozilla and Microsoft in Ballroom F (this is a rom change to one double the capacity of the origianal venue – gulp!).
The running order is
HTML5: Tales from the Development Trenches
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Me ‘n’ Martin Kliehm. An overview of how HTML5 came to be, why we need it, what it can do: new structural elements, intelligent forms, scriptable images with <canvas> and a brief introduction to <video>.
Wow, That’s Cool… Fun With HTML5 Video
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Chris Blizzard (Mozilla), Michael Dale
5:00 PM – 5.30 PM
John Foliot (Unrepentant hardliner and lovely bloke), Cynthia Shelley (Microsoft)
I ain’t never been to South By Southwest but everyone done told me that it’s awesome to the max (I’m a-larnin’ to speak American – yee har!). I don’t know much about Texas; is it the law that you must wear a JR Ewing stetson?
If you can’t make the talks, hopefully I’ll see you at the Opera booth and get a chance to love you up like the gorgeous canoodlebot that everyone tells me you are.