Christian Heilmann

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Archive for January, 2006

Form data preview with DOM

Monday, January 30th, 2006

I got asked to set this up as a proof of concept for an upcoming project, and it might be helpful to you guys, too:

Previewing collated form data with DOMscripting

The code is a bit wooly at the moment and I will clean it up and explain a bit more if I get the time.
In the meantime, just give it a swirl.

Google code analysis and another nifty Firefox extension

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Google have released some statistics on web pages they have analysed:

In December 2005 we did an analysis of a sample of slightly over a billion documents, extracting information about popular class names, elements, attributes, and related metadata. The results we found are available below. We hope this is of use!

I would very much say so, so have a read about Google code webstats

Another Firefox extension I hadn’t known of earlier is Firebug which put together the best of JS console and the DOM inspector and even shows you your XMLhttpRequest data!

Help stress-testing a DOMscripting helper library / object

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Following a thread on the evolt list about reading the next sibling element of a current element and making sure it really is an element and not a text node (line break), I decided to add a small helper object to my upcoming JavaScript book that takes care of some of these issues.

Give it a try: DOMhelp

My questions now are:

  • Is that something that really can help save beginners frustration
    about different browsers and DOM oddities?
  • Is it pretty bullet proof?
  • can you think of other methods that should be in there?

I promise to add a greeting, should you come up with something I
forgot or find out I did wrong. I don’t get many free copies though…


I am aware that there are a lot of libraries already out there, but
most of them are just too massive to use in a beginner book.

Brave New Product World – what can I do with Smartmedia Cards?

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

I am the proud owner of a FujiFilm F401 digital camera which takes good pictures, is small and handy to carry around and gave me a lot of joy in the last 3 years.

I had to send it in Christmas 2004, as the main chip got buggered and got it replaced on warranty. so that was fine.

Now all the buttons on the back seem to have shifted in functionality – the zoom in button is now turn on Macro, and there is no way to choose the different flash modes.

I googled a bit about the issue and it seems that the internals are scrambled by a leaking battery. I contacted Fuji and will see tomorrow how much it’ll cost me to fix this £150 camera.

I also wanted to plan for the worst case scenario and checked what I can replace the camera with – and re-use all the SmartMedia cards I bought over the years, and realised that it seems impossible to find a camera that does support SmartMedia any longer…

What is this? Do we have to buy accessories for every item we buy these days anew? Is there no chance to re-use what you already have?
It seems that when you buy products now they are already worthless when you get them – as the reselling prices are that low that it is not worth the effort of postage and packaging.

I spend a lot of money on products – if I get quality, but I really cannot be bothered to buy things just for the sake of following a new trend and not see any support for older products…

My watch is a Mondaine which was designed in 1943 and not changed since, my vacuum cleaner is a Henry which proved to be indestructable in many an UK office in the last 50 years, why does all the digital stuff you buy these days have to be flimsy and break in a year?

Now here is my question:

  • Is there a newer camera at an affordable price that still supports SmartMedia cards or will I have to ditch the lot when Fuji tells me it is going to be £££ to fix it?

First impressions of Visual Studio 2005

Friday, January 20th, 2006

I just attended a Microsoft partner course “Whats New in Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 for Existing Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Developers”, mucking about for three days with the new VS.

Here are my first impressions, which might have to be taken in with a pinch of salt, as I haven’t used the full product in a project yet (the one I am currently involved in uses Java Spring) and I haven’t played around with all the options it has. Furthermore, I am a purist and keyboard shortcut junkie when it comes to IDEs (chant ‘Weirdo’ now).

First of all: Microsoft kept their promise – ASP.NET 2.0 and VS 2005 does not muck around with our code as much. Sadly enough it offers the developer many options to do so instead. (more…)