The Great Demos2019-11-30
So I took on a programming challenge at work: To fix a good looking, well working GUI with interconnected dependencies for
advanced search options. For a specific part of the GUI, I used 11 hours in one day working at home to stamp out the code,
slowly making improvements until it was release ready for the first demo. I showed it beforehand to someone in authority who could
give a statement about the matter. She seemed to like it, and gave an OK.
However, during the follwing demo the time was somewhat limited, so none of the "beautiful" error handling was ever showed, they
just demoed the plain OK case walkthrough steps. the following weeks afterwards I got busy with other problems to solve, though some
rumours circulated that the part of the carefully tailored GUI area could become scrapped! I could not see any change requests
about it, so I thought it was just a stupid rumour.
Fast forward to the second demo. The GUI was indeed changed, and none of the hard work remained!
Now it's Saturday and I wonder why no one told me anything, maybe I would just not notice or be interested...? The most easy solution
to "handle" an employee I would think to be "You now, the users have completely changed their mind about the GUI detail,
and we need to back-paddle a bit...". At least I learned some new programming tricks, and enjoyed the day of concentrated coding,
but the project management around all this felt somehow unsound.
Some talk about HTML52019-09-21 It's hard to find the exact date when the new tags for HTML5 were introduced.
Shortly after 2010 there were mentioning of the various new principles and tags
that could be utilized by a HTML5 compliant browser. At the time there were
no browsers that could manage the full set of tags.
The DOCTYPE header was greatly simplified, and XHTML
(a more strict version of HTML) was essentially dropped. The frameworks and
HTML toolkit libraries previously used a complicated mix of DIVs and tables to
enable a higher level of HTML development, while at the same time hiding the
differencies of browser "quirks" underneath.
Now with HTML5 came a full range of built in tags that in one big swipe replaced a lot
of code lines, replacing all those lines with one simple standardized tag.
Usage of HTML5 tags had to wait until the various browser engine software caught up.
IE11 and older versions of the Internet Explorer have almost fully disappeared,
and the Microsoft Edge browser is soon to be replaced by a Chrome based version. We only
need to fear of a "chrome lockin" instead of an Internext Explorer lockin...
But HTML5 is not only about saving code lines or promoting usage of a single, less bug prone
tag that is the goal, it's also about creating semantic, "meaning" in the code. If you see
the tag <article> tag, you'll know that this block is meant to contain an
article. While using a <div> tag gives less guidance of what the purpose
of following code is.
The older frameworks and toolkit libraries produce mountains of <div>,
<span> and <p> code, often combined with an ID or class to (hopefully)
convey the purpose, like <div class="article">. Also the <table> tag and it's <tr>,
<td> were used to visually give layout structure on the web page.
CSS have also evolved and given the developer more powerful built in layout capabilities.
What's going on?2019-08-31
During the last weeks I have been exploring how to make the code behind this site more trackable, editable, testable...
A Python script to include html blocks is now called from an external Bash script, which makes some further
processing and also starts a web browser page for visual inspection.
I have also put some mandatory html blocks in files named as TEMPLATE_xxx. Overall even a huge HTML file can now be more
easily overviewed. My next step will now be to check validation of links and files present
in the code, later also package tools into a Python GUI interface.
This site is constantly under construction as an exercise of programming an tool for web publishing/management
and I expect the build up of some reasonable web content to take at least one/two years.
As stated earlier I quit using Wordpress because of the many "glitches" that I experienced with the
environment and its modules/plugins. Also I found the lack of freedom and precision highly disturbing,
especially when showing code and photos exactly as I wanted. By mostly having to do the underlining of the web
infrastructure myself (with the current exception of Bootstrap 4),
I feel that I get valuable experience as a bonus 😄 .
About the new site
At the bottom is the link to the "old" Wordpress site. Some articles were quite well written,
though sometimes in haste and also keep in mind that english isn't my primary language.
Previously I made the attempt to cover subjects in both swedish and english, but now
I feel it's more reasonable to focus on purely english content.
Possibly I might take a look back and reuse some articles, as sometimes good articles
over the course of time have become "buried" deep in the hierarchy of the site.
Maybe you might wonder sometimes "Nothing much is happening", looking at the site.
Under the surface and at the side of site I will be experimenting
with open source, own tools for maintaing the content.
Upon returning to my Wordpress controlled content, I was amazed by the slowness; it was
initally nice to get "help" to order the content but some gallery plugins were really
painstakeingly buggy, suddenly stopped working. I changed photo plugin, but same thing happened
after a while, the plugin suddenly couldn't find the third uploaded gallery...
I now have to handle more content "by hand".
One big advantage are that you then really have to consider the technical architecture and think
about tools to keep the site content in order. Using Wordpress leads to the developer getting
detouched from the basic web technologies and having to learn Wordpress specific details,
learn plugins that might at any moment become unsupported.
During the years past since I had much more regular contact with web technology, I have
forgotten much of the purely basic web coding. Nowadays, many good framworks and tools have
The web development
feels much more interesting now that you can expect similar look and behavior over the
common browsers. Microsoft are also finally giving up Internet Explorer as well as the Edge browser.
Only worry though is that Chrome have the dominant position. Firefox has greatly improved
concerning speed, previously it was very "mono threaded"... The plugins for Firefox are still
fantastic. No one wants a new web browser "monopoly", I think...