Instant Textile, mk2

Back in November, Tiago Silveira updated the JavaScript Textile implementation that powers my Textile Greasemonkey script, but I just hadn’t got around to rolling in his changes, so he’s done the sensible thing, and rolled his own. Good work!

On my desktop at home I have a completely rewritten version that has a nicer UI (html and rendered preview) and rewritten rendering engine which I wrote a year ago, and hadn’t released. I should probably drop my rendering engine in favour of Tiago’s, fold in my UI stuff and release.

Word 2007 as your CMS editor

Word 2007 will support ‘blogging’.

What this means in the real world is that it is an Atom Publishing Protocol client.

Joe Friend’s latest post on the topic (Word Blog HTML Quality) states that We will hand off valid XHTML for each post and Clean HTML is more important than visual fidelity.

This means that if your Content Management System supports the Atom API, editors should be able to use Word to edit content.

Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, but, given that Word is the first or second most used tool for writing text in the business world (the other being Outlook) this seems extremely positive to me.

Blogging from University

When I blog about things at work, it’s normally stuff that’s already been done. Completed tasks. In the past, as it were. This is some discussion about things that haven’t been decided, and reflects only my thoughts, and I’m not terribly important, so don’t read any more into this than you would the mumbling drunk at the bus-stop.

We’re looking into rolling out some kind of blogging at work. One blog per student, one blog per member of staff, one group blog per module in a degree, one group blog per department, one group blog per some-people-who-want-a-group-blog and so on. That kind of thing.

As far as I can tell, there are two primary candidates: WordPress MU and Roller. WordPress MU is the software behind and most people have heard of it. Roller is the open source blog server that drives Sun Microsystem’s employee blogging site, [and] IBM DeveloperWorks blogs.

Some important attributes:

  • WordPress MU is PHP
  • Roller is Java
  • WordPress MU does not appear to support LDAP
  • Roller supports LDAP via Acegi
  • WordPress MU has good community support and a lot of plugins and themes (via WordPress and
  • Roller looks like a more solid codebase, but has a smaller community and far fewer plugins and themes

I think it would be easy for us to look at the WordPress community and choose it because of that over other alternatives, which we hadn’t given a chance. It would be interesting to know why exactly Warwick chose to implement their own blogging infrastructure as opposed to working with the Roller team, since it appears to be similar in a number of ways.

I’m also biased; we’re a Java shop and I’d hate to see us rule out a Java option if it would be better in the long run, but I’m wary of selecting it just because it is Java. It’s a tough choice to make, and at the moment time is precious so a full evaluation is unlikely, or “for the future”. Any thoughts are warmly welcomed.

Mouse gestures for real on the Nintendo DS browser

I love using the Optimoz mouse gestures extension for Firefox: hold down the right-mouse button and drag left or right to move backwards or forwards in your browsing history. There are also other motions for other actions, but back and forward are about 99% of my usage.

This is also built into Opera as standard.

Well, as you can see in this screenshot of the DS Browser, it supports the same thing! Hold down the left should button and drag the stylus left or right across the screen to go back or forward. Excellent! I’m really pleased to see that the browser will make use of the touchscreen even for basic things like navigation. I don’t remember my Sony Clié supporting anything like this and it really will make such a difference to the overall usability and experience of using the web on a small device.

Opera web browser on the Nintendo Wii

Along with all the other news coming out at E3 2006, Opera have announced that their web browser will run on the Nintendo Wii.

This follows the announcement in February that Opera will also be released for the Nintendo DS. There are photos of it in action on IGN.

This is interesting from a rendering point of view – most people are concerned about how web sites will look as resolutions increase, not decrease, for example see Dave Hyatt’s (lead engineer on Apple Safari) post on High DPI Web Sites. Remembering that the Wii does not support high-definition TV, Opera will have to render websites onto traditional telly screens which have 525 lines on NTSC, 576 visible lines on PAL and around 625 lines in SECAM (there are other variables, but I think this is close enough).

My home PC is connected to my TV, but it’s only really possible to use things like web browsers when I change the resolution down to 640×480, but you find that almost no web sites are designed with that in mind and so they’re much harder to use. Typical mobile clients have things like CSS disabling or the server sends a mobile-specific version based on, for example, the User-Agent string. It’ll be interesting to see if Opera use their small-screen rendering technique on the Wii or whether it just renders straight to screen as per normal.

In the last 12 months Opera have really been picking up speed in getting their software onto all kinds of devices (except, notably, into Nokia phones, which use a version of KHTML, which also powers Safari). This is great for Opera, but it does mean that lowly web developers like me need to be more aware of this powerful little browser which I think most people I know thought was on its way out.

University of Bath hCalendar usage

After a bit of discussion with a chap at work, individual items featured at the University of Bath’s What’s On now sport hCalendar in their markup.

For example: Daytime T’ai Chi Beginners’ Class for the over 50’s.

Individual events can now be added to your Google Calendar using this Greasemonkey script from Elias Torres or exported into the tool of your choice using the Tails Export Firefox extension.

For what it’s worth, we spent vastly longer talking about doing it (an hour?) than actually doing it (minutes).

I’d also like to take this moment to curse, yet again, the imbecilic designer who put a “suspend computer” button directly above the “Escape” key on my keyboard.