The BBC's 15 Web Principles - 15 years later


Powerpoint slide announcing BBC 2.0.

Back in 2007 - an eternity in web years - the BBC published a document showing their 15 Web Principles. I thought I'd take a look at how they stack up today. And investigate whether the BBC is still living up to them. Here are the slides if you want to play along at home: […]

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How should user comments be marked up in HTML5?


The HTML5 Logo.

This is quite the epitome of yak-shaving! Suppose you have an article written in HTML. The basic layout might be something like: <body> <main> <article> The content of your article ... Pretty standard. Now suppose you let users add comments to the article. I have two questions: Where in the tree should they go? What […]

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Every search bar looks like a URL bar to users


Search results for https in Amazon's autocomplete. Includes links to ebay and other stores.

Computers would be so much better if they never had to deal with users, amirite?!!? I remember, years ago, working on a mobile web service which had a URl bar - so users could tap in bbc.co.uk on their T9 keypads - and a separate search bar. I thought that was pretty nifty. But it […]

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What's the point of Zip files?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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