Christian Heilmann

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Archive for September, 2008

Interview about Scripting Enabled with BBC Backstage

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

At dconstruct this year, Ian Forrester and Rain Ashford of the BBC backstage interviewed several unsuspecting victims about all kind of things buzzing in the internet scene these days. By a stroke of luck, Bill Thompson was out and about to interview me about my upcoming conference on the 19th and 20th of September in London, England: Scripting Enabled

Here’s the video:

I thank everyone involved for the chance to tell people about the event and I am looking forward to seeing you there!

UK government browser guidance in dire need of upgrading

Monday, September 8th, 2008

One thing web developers who do not work in large corporations or with the public sector or education often forget is that there’s a lot of red-tape and checkbox ticking to be done before you even start a line of code. This get worse once there has been a decision made or a guideline in place, as replacing or upgrading those slips far down the list of need-to-do’s.

The web is a large and confusing place and the fact that you just cannot control or demand the setup your visitors use to come to your site and consume what is there can be frustrating. To me, it is what the web is about and I love the challenge of the unknown. Official sites, however, do not revel in unknowns and challenges and try to help webmasters to release quickly by cutting down on things to support.

Last friday, the UK government’s Central Office of Information (COI) published a public consultation on browser standards for public sector websites which misses the mark of good advice by quite a bit.

Bruce Lawson checked the guidelines in detail and responded to them on the WaSP blog

I agree with all that is said there, and humbly point the COI to the graded browser support my employer applies to steer the wild web into easier supportable channels.

There’s a comment form on the bottom of the page on the guidance site that gives you a chance to react to this. It might not mean much, but let’s not forget that if we can have an impact on the public service, it’ll mean a lot more web sites out there that do the right thing. These are the areas we should concentrate on – if your blog doesn’t render properly that is much less of an issue than you not being able to pay a parking ticket or sign up your kids for school.

So, are you are going to BarCamp?

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

One of the most asked questions at dconstruct last week was if I am coming to the Brighton Barcamp. I wasn’t coming, and there is a reason.

When I helped organizing the first London BarCamp and the Hong Kong BarCamp, one of our main drivers was to organize events that get developers out of the woodwork that normally do not show up at events – as they cannot afford going due to lack of support from their companies.

Another big difference of BarCamps to other events is that everyone going should be giving a presentation. Therefore they are a great opportunity for people who know a lot of things but normally don’t get offers to give presentations, or even for those who don’t feel comfortable giving talks to get their first experience.

Both of these (in connection with my quite full schedule this year) make me take a low key approach to me going to BarCamps in areas that already had a BarCamp or I’ve already been. I am helping to organize and support BarCamps behind the scenes and raise funding, but I consider that with tickets being limited and going very fast it would be unfair to keep interested people outside as I am hogging a ticket.

I will go to BarCamps I haven’t been at or just try to pop by from time to time but in general I am not going. This is not because I am not interested – on the contrary – I am just of the opinion that the “scene” is small enough as it is – time to learn about some “new blood” and follow the presentations online and through friends.