Archive: May 13th, 2015

The Many Faces of The Web

Instead of coming up with all these new tools and JavaScript frameworks, shouldn’t we try to emphasize the importance of learning the underlying fundamentals of the web? Teach those who are just stepping to this medium and starting their careers. By not making our stack more and more complex, but by telling about the best practices that should guide our work and the importance of basic things.

100 words 052

There was a Clearleft outing to Bletchley Park today. I can’t believe I hadn’t been before. It was nerdvana—crypto, history, and science combined in one very English location.

Alan Turing’s work at Station X is rightly lauded, but I can’t help feeling a bit uncomfortable with the way we make heroes of those who work in the shadows. After the war, England’s fictional hero was James Bond, the creation of former Bletchley worker Ian Fleming. And now we have GCHQ spying on its own citizens.

Righteousness in the past doesn’t earn a country a free pass for the future.

Seveneves

The next Neal Stephenson book sounds like it’s going to be great.

Small independent pieces, loosely joined

It was fascinating at Indie Web Camp Germany to see how much could be accomplished by taking some pre-existing small things and loosely joining them.

For example, there are already webmention and micropub plug-ins for quite a few CMSs. If you’re using Wordpress or Jekyll, you can get pretty far pretty quickly by making use of what people have already provided. And after that Indie Web Camp, you can add Drupal and Kirby to the list of CMSs with readily-available components.

I was somewhat surprised—and very pleased—that people made use of some little PHP snippets that I had posted as gists. I deliberately posted them as gists to show how minimal and barebones the code could be—no need for a whole project, or installers, or dockering the node to yeoman the gulp, or whatever it is the cool kids do these days.

This modular approach also worked well for interface elements. Glenn and Aaron worked on separate projects to create small JavaScript enhancements for posting interfaces. Assemble enough of these enhancements together and before you know it, you’ve got something approaching Medium.

By the end of the second day, I was amazed to see how much progress people had made. Like Johannes says:

I was pretty impressed by how much people got done. At the final demo session, everyone had something he or she had done to update their website – although I’m pretty sure that the end of this event will not be the end of their efforts to try and own their stuff online.

It was quite inspiring. In fact, I think I’ve been inspired to have an Indie Web Camp in Brighton. I’m thinking we could have it at the same time as Indie Web Camp Portland, which is on July 11th and 12th.

Save the dates.

Indie Web

Bastian sums up his experience of attending Indie Web Camp:

But this weekend brought a new motivational high that I didn’t expect to go that far. I attended the Indie Web Camp in Düsseldorf, Germany and I’m simply blown away.

On the last leg of the journey from Bletchley back to Brighton.

Alas, this leg is standing.

Lorenz.

Lorenz.

Please knit now.

Please knit now.

Valves.

Valves.

Enigma.

Enigma.

Cracking the code.

Cracking the code.

Reservoir nerds.

Reservoir nerds.

The bombe.

The bombe.

Standing before Colussus. This picture was taken with a miniaturised descendent of that machine.

Standing before Colossus.

This picture was taken with a miniaturised descendent of that machine.

Making a @Clearleft pilgrimage to Bletchley Park. It feels like we’re journeying to the enchanted valley of Imladris.