Plip's Weblog

Phil Winstanley - British .NET chap based in Lancashire. Enjoys tea and tech. Working for Microsoft.

January 2007 - Posts

WebDD Agenda

It had to happen, we finally got it done! :-)

Dave has been working on the site and has put together the agenda page for WebDD.



WebDD needs you - Filming and Photography

We've had a set back which means we can't film the sessions using the Microsoft equipment on the day so we are wondering if a couple of people would kindly volunteer to film the sessions for us.

They would need to provide their on camera equipment but it would be really cool if anyone can help us out - if you can please drop Dave or I an e-mail to: or

Additionally if we have any Photographers who are attending we'd like you to also get in touch to help us out.



Grady Booch in Manchester

Tonight I attended the third annual "Turing Lecture" at Manchester University which was given by Grady Booch.

The session was about 'The promise, the limits, and the beauty of software' and proved to be a very interesting and thought provoking talk.

Grady discussed lot's of different issues we face as software people ranging from the physical aspects (chip speeds, head, speed of light) though to processes and methodologies in development.

Grady is a fantastic speaker and entertained a lecture theatre full of software professionals, one thing he said made me smile from ear to ear: -

"IBM had a near death experience in the 90's, Microsoft is going though a mid life crisis and Google is in desperate need of adult supervision"

I completly agree with that statement :-)

Check out Grady's blog, it's a good read.



Posted: Jan 22 2007, 10:28 PM by Plip | with no comments
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Something everyone should know about web services!

My friend Chris posted about something that's really cool with .NET web services I never knew!

Posted: Jan 19 2007, 04:41 PM by Plip | with 2 comment(s)
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Dutch accessibility law


A few examples will show you where Dutch government accessibility is heading. As of 1 September last year, every website built for a government agency is required by law to use:

  • valid HTML 4.01 or XHTML 1.0
  • CSS and semantic HTML and separation of structure and presentation
  • progressive enhancement
  • the W3C DOM (instead of the old Microsoft document.all)
  • meaningful values of class and id
  • meaningful alt attributes on all images


  • scripts that work on links should extend the basic link functionality (think accessible popups)
  • if a link makes no sense without a script, it shouldn't be in the HTML (but be generated by JavaScript)
  • use of forms or scripts as the only means of getting certain information is prohibited
  • removing the focus rectangle on links is prohibited
  • information offered in a closed format (think Word) should also be offered in an open format
  • the semantics of many HTML elements are explicitly defined
Posted: Jan 18 2007, 03:53 PM by Plip | with no comments
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Today God likes me

It's really windy today and about 15 mins ago I heared a "smashing" noise outside (and I don't mean Jim Bowen was outside doing Bullseye).

I live at number 31, and I'm the only person in the street who works from home, so there are no other cars in the car park ...

A load of tiles have come off the roof of the house next to my parkin space and have ALL missed my car (which is rather bloody good!).

My car surrounded by house tiles - completly unscathed!


So I'm going to try my luck later on the lottery ... I'm feeling lucky!

Manchester Geek Dinner - 24th January 2007

Well we're full up, if there's more demand we can always squeeze a few more in but you do need to put your name on the registration/wait list.

Should be a good night :-)

Posted: Jan 18 2007, 11:35 AM by Plip | with no comments
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WebDD Registration - Full

Did you forget to register for WebDD?

Have you left it too late?

Well tough titty, because it's full now :-)

We've not only hit capacity but we've oversubscribed slightly to allow for drop out (people always find reasons not to show up on the day, especially if they've not paid).

Anyway - WebDD, FULL :-)

Manchester Digital Shorts

As a developer it's rare that I'm involved directly with marketing or the kind of people that move within those sectors so it's always a nice suprise when I attend an event and discover things about non developer topics.

Tonight I attended the Manchester digital shorts - Insights from the digital sector event in which Ian Jindal of Internet Retailing magazine was presenting on 2007 and "what happened to Web 2.0".

To say I was dissapointed by the session would be a mild assesment.

Ian spent some time slagging off existing web sites including On being asked a question by a lady from Dabs (whom Ian was aware was in the room) "You talked about how our [Dabs] website is bad, can you give examples fo good sites?" he could not even give an example. If a speaker anywhere is going to make a point, they need to be damn sure that they can backup their point with proof, not just speculative conjecture.

Other topics Ian covered included "Customer Experience", which is what you and I know as User Experience or UX combined with the customers relationship with a business, why Web 2.0 didn't happen and how this year it will happen as well as making some predictions on what will happen in 2007 and 2008 in the online retail sector.

Like a chap [John Keys] from MDDA said though, the event is not about the session but rather about networking with other people within the sector locally, something which I need to do more of. I did get a chance to speak to a few people and made some interesting contacts, I even handed out a few business cards (get me).

I can't say it was worth the £25 I paid to attend the event, or that I learned anything, in fact after the event had finished I dashed across town to meet up with the guys from the NWRUG who were in a pub after they had all met up. I got more out of sitting with Dave Verwer and Micheal Josephson in an hour than I did in two hours at the event, plus I had a pint - a winning combination, good people, relaxed environment and beer.

Posted: Jan 17 2007, 11:17 PM by Plip | with no comments
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Mashup at your own risk

I have a site using the funky timeline javascript from the MIT.

SIMILE Timeline Documentation

The timeline is great, but tonight as I shipped a new build of my app to the server I was clicking ont he pages and noticed the timeline was broken, I'd not changed the code so this I wasn't expecting...

Basically what's happened is the server hosting all the Javascript has gone offline - not so good for idiots like me who have gone and just included the JS files remotely - my app is being crippled by this outage of someone else's server, that's not a position I should ever allow myself to get into.

So - if you do plan to use third party content inside your apps be they maps or timelines or even Flickr feeds, make sure you can rely on their stability or host all the content yourself because if you dont you'll get burnt like I have tonight.

It's a valuable lesson to learn.

This is even more interesting when I think about the YUI-EXT framework form Yahoo when they state one of the benefits is that it's centrally hosted so clients will only have to download it once, their servers may not go down but "" could be blocked on a firewall or there could be other routing issues.

Blergh - I feel so stupid for not having hosted the Timeline files myself - I now can't even get them from the server as that's on the same machine as the documentation and script files! :-(

That's a real benefit of Atlas and other such frameworks - your site generates the script out, it's not externally linked to - a massive benefit.

Edit - As I published this piece the site came back up and I greedily downloaded all the source code.

Posted: Jan 14 2007, 06:06 PM by Plip | with 2 comment(s)
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