Christian Heilmann

You are currently browsing the Christian Heilmann blog archives for October, 2008.

Archive for October, 2008

Rushing back to London to get some <head>

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

This is my last day in Bangalore, India and I am flying back tomorrow morning at 4am just to get back in time to London to attend the hosted part of the conference.

There are a lot of tickets left, so don’t be left out and come along to see several of the speakers give live talks (including Steph Troeth, Jeremy Keith, Ann McMeekin, Simon “Harry” Willison, Steve Webster and a very jetlagged and ruffled me).

There’ll also be a talk with Tim O’Reilly and general good networking opportunities.

Unsafe Search – playing with BOSS and YUI3

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

As I am giving some presentations on YUI3 and BOSS tomorrow I thought I give them a whirl and see what I can come up with. I remembered my esteemed colleague Neil Crosby joking about the idea of an “unsafe search” – take a search result and diff it with the safe search result (adult filters enabled) and you will only get the unsafe results.

Well, BOSS allows you to set filters on the data you get back, this was not too hard to do. I give you Unsafe Search

Explaining Developer Evangelism

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Ever since I got the fancy title of “Developer Evangelist”, people look at me cross-eyed and wonder what that is. The reactions reach from “oh so you don’t code any more” to “that’s marketing isn’t it?”. Both are wrong.

I see the job of an evangelist to validate your company and its products in the outside world. This means that you need to keep an eye on what your company is doing, give feedback and stop bad documentation and too complex systems from going live. In order to achieve this you get to know systems before they go out, play with them and write or help write their documentation. You also go out into the world, speak at conferences and go into companies for “brown bags” and find out how people use your employer’s products. The feedback you get from that helps you validate or defeat internal assumptions about “what every developer needs” and “how people use things”.

I am in Bangalore, India at the moment and was asked to train evangelists for the local market. A bit of a weird concept as you find evangelists internally – you do not train them to become one.

In a two hour session I was asked to outline what it means to be an evangelist and what to do and not to do. Here’s the outcome on slideshare:

[slideshare id=674444&doc=developerevangelism-1224563721992430-9&w=425]

AEGIS – Sun sponsors open source solutions tailored for accessibility

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Just got this via the webaim mailing list:

I am very pleased to share with you news about the AEGIS project, a 12.6m investment in accessibility, with the vast majority of it focused on open source solutions.
Rather than repeat here all that I have written about AEGIS already, I will instead invite you to read about it in my blog: or check out the AEGIS website at: I have worked in the field of accessibility for nearly 17 years, and on open source accessibility almost a dozen of those years. In that time, open source accessibility has become a deep and abiding passion.
I’m very proud that the techniques we have pioneered in the open source community have since been adopted by Apple with the Macintosh & VoiceOver, and are being adopted by Microsoft with UI Automation. These same techniques are enshrined in the report a 42 member committee delivered to the U.S. Access Board earlier this year (and which at this very moment being reviewed by them as they work on their refresh of the Section 508 accessibility standard). And these techniques are at the core of the AEGIS project. With AEGIS, over the next 3.5 years we will attempt to bring programmatic accessibility more fully to the web, and to the mobile world. With AEGIS we will also address a number of issues that still remain inaccessibility on the open desktop. And while we’re at it, we will bring a bunch of new and talented people into the open source accessibility community (you should start seeing them showing up on our mailing lists and wikis in the coming months). We will also fund a number of the experts who have already made tremendous open source accessibility contributions – to enable to them to continue and to do even more. I’m sure they will shortly make their voices heard on these lists and in the blogosphere. And we will explicitly fund a number of European disability organizations. These organizations and many dozens of their members will be providing their expert input on our work, and thoughtfully evaluating our prototypes, and perhaps adopting the solutions we come up with because they do a great job of meeting their needs. Oh, and we’ll also write a bunch of open source accessibility code.
This Sunday the 19th of October marks the 8th anniversary of the GNOME Accessibility Project. AEGIS helps bring a fantastic 8th year to a
close, and also serves to inaugurate the next 3.5 years!
Peter Korn
Accessibility Architect & Principal Engineer,
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

How cool is this! It is great to see that the open source world is going full steam with accessibility and now we need to make sure that what they do reaches the people that need what they built and doesn’t get lost in IT department red tape.

I’ll get in contact with Peter and see how we can collaborate

Those crazy swedes… Geek meet in Stockholm in December

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Both Robert Nyman and Isac Lagerblad just pinged, tweeted and mailed me about the Geek meet in Stockholm in December that I agreed to talk at.

It seems that within an hour all seats were sold out, so I am about to put on my warm boots and mittens and think hard about really writing the presentations I promised:

Shifting your site into the next gear

In this session Chris is showing how you can speed up your web sites, what issues to avoid, what of the information out there is really applicable to you and what little things you can change to get a great impact. As examples we’ll cover lazy loading and progressive enhancement that delivers faster and makes end users happy.

Playing with the web

In this session Chris is going to show tools and ideas that allow you to quickly prototype changes in web sites, get to information that is not offered publicly and re-hash that information into something useful. As examples we’ll be looking at creating a currency converter, translating and detecting language and show how we can change and distribute the change of a web site without touching the server.

Looking forward to coming back to Sweden in December!