Making Time More Accessible

by @edent | # # # | 4 comments | Read ~1,455 times.
Dev tools showing the HTML code behind the BBC news site.

There’s an HTML element called <time>. It is a semantic element. That means robots can read and understand it. For example, if my code says: <p> The concert is <time datetime=”2020-12-24″>tomorrow</time> </p> Then the computer knows the specific date I’m talking about. A browser could offer to add the event to your calendar, or a…

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How and why to use Lynx – the faster web browser

by @edent | # # # # # | 9 comments | Read ~14,393 times.
HTML elements rendered in different colours.

Lynx is a text based browser. You think the people who browse without JavaScript are weird? Lynx doesn’t even do images or CSS! It downloads HTML and renders it at blazing fast speed. If you ever wondered just how slow modern web development has made the web – Lynx will show you the meaning of…

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Coping with HEIC in the browser

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~213 times.

Apple’s HEIC format is… annoying. At the moment, Apple’s products are the only mainstream cameras which use it. Forums are littered with people trying to upload HEIC files to web services and failing. So, here are four quick tips for dealing with this formal. Display in browser Absolutely no browser supports HEIC. Not even Apple’s…

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Please stop using CDNs for external Javascript libraries

by @edent | # # | 32 comments | Read ~41,799 times.
The HTML5 Logo.

I want to discuss a (minor) antipattern that I think is (slightly) harmful. Lots of websites use large Javascript libraries. They often include them by using a 3rd party Content Delivery Network like so: <script src=”https://cdn.example.com/js/library-v1.2.3.js”></script> There are, supposedly, a couple of advantages to doing things this way. Users may already have the JS library…

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Goodbye avatars .io – hello unavatar!

by @edent | # # # | 1 comment | Read ~790 times.
A smiling pixel art face.

Given a social media user’s username, how do you get a picture of their avatar? I always used avatars.io – but sadly that service has bitten the dust. So I’ve switched to unavatar. It’s dead easy to use. https://unavatar.now.sh/twitter/edent will return @edent’s avatar. You can use GitHub, Facebook, Gravatar, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube, SoundCloud, and a…

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Building a physical <blink> tag!

by @edent | # # # # | 27 comments | Read ~3,414 times.

This is the latest of my many terrible lockdown-induced ideas. I’m saving money on commuting. So I’m spending it on tech-crap I really don’t need. I bought a new laptop sticker. Anyway, enough waffle, here’s the end result: This uses 2-frame lenticular printing. History No browser supports the <blink> element any more. It used to…

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Building an “On This Day” site for your Twitter Account

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments | Read ~128 times.
Several columns of Tweets. Each one from a previous year.

I wanted to see what I was Tweeting on this exact day last year. And all the years before. So I built a website! It’s a disgusting hack, and I’m truly sorry for unleashing it on you. Using the API You can’t. The Twitter search API only goes back 7 days. This whole idea would…

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Stop adding email tracking links to phone numbers!

by @edent | # # # # | 6 comments | Read ~8,870 times.
Gmail showing the tel URl scheme of a link with extra tracking information in it.

My Chinese takeaway delivery was late. Very late. I flipped open the confirmation email sent by Just-Eat to double-check I had all the details correct. At the bottom was a “click to call” link. Hurrah! I clicked dial, and this is what filled my screen: An absurdly long phone number. Bemused, I went to inspect…

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The future of the web, isn’t the web

by @edent | # # # # | 10 comments | Read ~5,190 times.
A fist emerges from a computer screen and punches the user.

My friends, and former employers, at the Government Digital Service have written a spectacularly good blog post “Making GOV.UK more than a website“. In it, they describe how adding Schema.org markup to their website has allowed search engines to extract semantic content and display it to a user. For example, the “Learn to drive” page…

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Limitations of HTML’s title element

by @edent | # # # # | 9 comments | Read ~258 times.
The raw HTML displays in the tab.

How much do you know about the humble <title> tag? It has been there since the earliest HTML specification. The 1995 spec says: There may only be one title in any document. It should identify the content of the document in a fairly wide context. It may not contain anchors, paragraph marks, or highlighting. Remarkably…

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