What's the point of Zip files?

by @edent | # # # | 4 comments | Read ~200 times.
Zip file icon.

My laptop ran out of space yesterday. Why? Useless ZIP files! I needed to download a Windows Virtual Machine in order to upgrade the firmware on a device (long story). The official Windows 10 VM is 20GB TWENTY GIGA-FUCKING-BYTES!!! It downloaded reasonably quickly - yay fibre! But I had to wait almost as long to…

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The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML

by @edent | # # # # | 46 comments | Read ~57,038 times.
The HTML5 Logo.

I've told this story at conferences - but due to the general situation I thought I'd retell it here. A few years ago I was doing policy research in a housing benefits office in London. They are singularly unlovely places. The walls are brightened up with posters offering helpful services for people fleeing domestic violence.…

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I know how many microphones and cameras you have

by @edent | # # # # # | 8 comments | Read ~315 times.
Web browser asking for permission to access microphones. On the page, the number of microphones is displayed.

A curious little data leak, but one I struggle to care about. Perhaps useful for a bit of fingerprinting? Websites can access your system's camera and microphone. That's how modern video conferencing works in the browser. In an effort to retain user privacy, the browser asks the user for permission to use the camera and…

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How and why to use Lynx - the faster web browser

by @edent | # # # # # | 9 comments | Read ~14,590 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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Adding Web Monetization to your site using Coil

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~183 times.
A tiny lego Storm Trooper eats a chocolate coin.

Recently, my blog was featured on Coil's list of monetised content. I'd like to take a little time to explain what Web Monetisation is, how to get set up with it, and what my thoughts are. Quickstart Stick this line in the <head> of your HTML page. <meta name="monetization" content="$ilp.uphold.com/ieELEKD7epqw"> That's it. You should replace…

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Semantic Dates in Wagtail Blog Posts

by @edent | # # #
The HTML5 Logo.

(Written because I couldn't find an easy guide online.) Here's the code (formatted for readability): <time datetime="{{page.first_published_at|date:"c"}}"> {{page.first_published_at|date:"j F Y"}} </time> You can also use last_published_at if it is a page which has been updated. WHY?!??! Semantics. HTML5 contains the <time> element. The contents of it show up as normal running text, but the metadata…

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One Avatar To Rule Them All

by @edent | # # # | 7 comments | Read ~199 times.
A photo of Terence wearing a hat. He look gorgeous!

Someone took a nice photo of me recently. I'd like to use it as my avatar photo everywhere to present a consistent image. This is not easy to do. I've had to manually change it on a dozen different Slacks, a bunch of social networks, a few forums, all my email accounts, and I'm still…

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Should panoramic images be part of the HTML5 specification?

by @edent | # # # # | 9 comments | Read ~129 times.
360 view of the inside of the concert hall.

Noodling thoughts. The humble <img> element is one of the oldest parts of HTML. It allows you to put a static image in a document. Later revisions allowed for animated images - like GIFs. And the <map> element made parts of the image clickable. But what about interactive images? Like panoramas and photospeheres? Here's a…

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The future of the web, isn't the web

by @edent | # # # # | 10 comments | Read ~5,206 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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Introducing the new HTML element - welcome <clippy>!

by @edent | # # # # | 14 comments | Read ~46,755 times.

Hello! It looks like you're writing a blog post - would you like help with that? chuckles Me and my colleagues at Microsoft have decided that the world needs more Clippy - the adorable animated paperclip. To help with that, we're bringing a new feature to Edge 6.0. Web Developers can now use <clippy> to…

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