I needn’t have been too scared. The first talk was on CoffeeScript which seemed to me quite intriguing as it (seems to) encourage you to continue thinking of JS as JS (rather than turning it into Java or some such horror) but smooths away some of the syntactical gotchas that get on my moobs. (See Mike Davis’ write-up.) However, I’m a great believer in not cheating until you know the rules properly, so I’ll be delaying CoffeeScript until I’m more confident in my JS.
The second talk was Phil Hawksworth “Excessive Enhancement – Are we taking proper care of the Web?”, which wittily harangued developers to ensure there is proper semantics underneath the JS shizzle and CSS bling – a subject dear to my heart recently. (And he even quoted me, which is nice!)
The talk on Cloud9 IDE by Rik Arends was a bit of a product pitch, but interesting. I wonder if it works across all browsers?
Glenn Jones’ “Beyond the Page” talk discussed – and demoed – techniques and emerging standards/ idioms to make Web sites less separated from other apps. We saw Drag and Drop, Web Intents etc. Some evil hackery, too!
Brendan Dawes always scrubs up nice and today was no exception. Although he’s a quivering Flash-lovin’ aesthete (albeit with a Northern accent), he had the techy crowd warming to him and then in stitches with a stream-of-consciousness talk about creativity, new interfaces and expensive pencils.
Last on was Marcin Wichary from Google, who talked of Google Doodles. Who knews that they user-test them? It was a fascinating talk and the good news is that he’ll be blogging about them in the future.
FullFrontal was a super day. The after party had lavish quantities of free grog. The venue was quirky and fun, with free coffee all day. Each talk was handpicked – in fact, everything about the event was curated by Remy and Julie. I’ll be going next year (although not staying in the Travelodge, Preston Road, which was a dump, and nothing to do with the event).
Yay! The first, the original, the sexiest, the motherflippin’ brownest book on HTML5, Introducing HTML5 is out in second edition!
It’s bigger, baby – having swollen from 223 pages to a tumescent 295 pages – for less than the cover price of the original. Apart from a photo of the snogtabulous uberhunks™ that are its authors on the front cover, and the inner colour changing from orange to blue, what are the highlights?
Errors are corrected and it’s all re-read and updated
It’s been fully re-edited, re-proofed and re-indexed
Bruce has changed his mind about the <nav> element and now advises you don’t use it bloody everywhere
The multimedia chapter has added information on <track>, getUserMedia, webRTC
Even more detail about how to get more out of geolocation
More storage methods and techniques, including the new IndexedDB storage API
We now have full examples on how to use Server Sent Events
Updated detail on offline applications, gotchas and debugging tips
A full new chapter on polyfills, what they are, how they work and how to use them
A few weeks ago, I replaced <time> with <data>. We got feedback from many people saying that there were use cases that <data> didn’t handle, and requesting <time> be left in the spec. It turns out what people were asking for was not quite the old <time> element, it was more like a variant of <data> that was specifically for <time>. (The old <time> was specified as doing locale-specific rendering, had a more or less useless API, and only supported a small set of data and time syntaxes.) Tantek made a proposal for how to handle these use cases, which I intend to add to the spec ("the <time> element is dead, long live the <time> element").
Some products are made that are rarely seen in the nation that produces them. One of these seems to be American democracy. Successive American governments have been exporting democracy, even to places that appear not to want it, but are reluctant to allow their own people to partake of this delicacy.
“We very much want to see the human rights of the people protected, including right to assemble, right to express themselves” – Hillary Clinton on the Arab Spring.
Meanwhile, Oakland, USA:
“You can’t have a real dialogue when parts of the peaceful opposition are in jail…mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens ” – Barack Obama about Bahrain.
When we were clearing my deceased Grandmother‘s house for sale, we found a four-volume set of books that I had loved as a child, called The World of the Children by Stuart Miall (1903-1977). They were designed for children to read with parents, and covered subjects as diverse as a death in the family, algebra, how to measure the speed of light, how electric lights work and foreign travel.
They were originally published in 1948 (although these are a 1952 reprint) and show just what a different country the past was.
In one chapter, a small boy and girl swim naked together, allowing Marjorie, the girl, to ask her mother why boys and girls are made differently. (The precise physical nature of the differences is never discussed.)
Mother sums up the differences:
The big strong man enjoys being a big strong man, and the pretty girl who has won a husband and a home and lots of babies finds that there is plenty of work to do to keep all her treasures sweet and nice. God is very fair, darling.
Something that hasn’t changed – and which surprised me – is the chapter on “We have to decide whether a stranger is nice or nasty”. I can recall being told never to talk to strangers when I was at school in the early 1970s, but was never told why. Although old people and right-wingers would have you believe that pre-immigration and pre-sexual revolution, everyone was lovely and polite and everyone left their doors unlocked all the time, it appears that’s not the case.
The book is rooted in the colonial era, even though by this time the colonies were beginning to dwindle. The author, Stuart Miall, tries to be an enlightened imperialist:
The people of India are dark, almost black, but many have fine distinguished-looking faces and many are exceedingly clever.
(Notice the word “but”.)
On the Middle East, Miall writes
It is probable that if they were allowed to grow up together in friendship, little Arab children and little Jewish children would most surely make a happy as well as a holy land of poor, stricken Palestine, but the tribal beliefs of Arabs and Jews have not the virtues of Christian values, which exhort men to brotherly love and peace.
We are shown pictures of the industrious “dark-skinned natives” of India and “dusky children of Jamaica”:
He slips a little when discussing Gracie “a dark little half-caste girl, with a rather fine little face”:
Where white people live side-by-side with native people of a different colour, it sometimes happens that white man takes a black or brown or yellow woman for his wife. Then the children are called half-caste…Gracie looked as though she might be intelligent like her father, though having the dark skin of her mother. The life of a half-caste is usually a very sad one, because neither the white people nor the black people really care for him.
Here Miall seems to be sympathetic to the apartheid system, which began in South Africa in 1948, the same year the book was published.
What’s shocking is how mainstream such racism seems to be in 1940s England. Take, for example, the page of common words for teaching children to read and write: “an, as, at, be, big, collar, daughter, fat, fish” and so on, until we get to N: “neck, niece, nigger”.
This book was printed a mere 14 years before I was born. Amazing.