This site has been running since 2004, believe it or not. It has been through a lot of changes on the way, including the latest which involved porting it to Dancer in 2013. You can check out my series of video blogs about the redesign process if you enjoy that sort of thing.
A combination of things really...
- I wanted to build a site that was as accessible as possible, and met the w3c standards for xhtml and css
- I wanted a place to keep my photos
- As an excuse to practice Perl’s CGI.pm, HTML Template and DBI modules. At the time that was pretty high tech and it still makes a decently maintainable and fairly efficient codebase. Since 2013, I’ve ported the code to Perl’s Dancer web framework. Which is great.
- As a place to store various solutions to tech problems I’ve come across
- I needed access to my do-list and email remotely. I don’t use it for that any more.
Web standards are a good thing® in my opinion. They mean that the content of the page is the same in any browser. They further mean that in any standards compliant browser, the page will look the same.
I’ve set out to make the site conform to the HTML5 spec and used CSS 3 for the presentational side. Because my newsfeeds page grabs its information from different places, it isn’t guaranteed to be standards compliant — it works most of the time though.
One of the things that I wanted to learn about with this project was accessibility. This means that people with visual or auditory impairments (and web spiders) can read the content of my pages as easily as anyone else, which seems only fair, really.
Pages on the site have been scanned using online tools to ensure
their compliance with the
w3c Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines for
There’s three levels of accessibility: A,AA, and AAA. Most of the public pages on this site should meet the AAA standard, exceptions include Real Ultimate Perl geeks where I felt the idoim justified breaking my accessibility policy.
I (finally) published a proper Privacy Statement for the site in early 2011. It is possible to use the site almost anonymously. I don’t log IPs but I do use third parties to scan IPs for spamminess and I get a copy of your IP if you send me email.
I’ve been extremely lucky to have access to some great editors and other tools when building this site
- vim is an updated and incredibly powerful version of vi, the classic unix text editor, and my constant companion
- I occasionally use the GNOME editor gedit for quick updates.
- The w3c provide comprehensive references on html and CSS, and a free HTML validator and CSS validator have proved invaluable.
- Bobby online’s accessibility checker helped me get my arse in gear over accessibility, but it’s no longer there :-(
- Firefox with the Firebug plugin and web developer toolbar is my browser setup of choice, but I often use Epiphany and the text-only Lynx during development.
- The admin interface and stuff are hosted on OX4, web hosting for Oxford activism. I make them with the "modern perl" framework, Catalyst.
Should be released on gitorious at some point soon. There are various downloads of some of the code though and if you want to use any of the code in it’s raw, undocumented state, please feel free to contact me. Some code is already available in writings.
I aim to keep the graphics to a minimum, except for places where that would be silly like the gallery. There used to be no graphics on the site at all! After the 2006 redesign a logo appeared for the first time on the site. In January 2007 I added lots of gradient fills. By 2011, there were web fonts to download, but the gradient fills had disappeared. The principle still holds that I avoid unnecessary graphics. I originally started writing my site when I had a 56k modem, so performance and a light page weight were important requirements.