Simon's articles

  1. The Mozilla Developer Center

    The Mozilla Developer Center (affectionately known as Devmo) is one of web development’s best kept secrets. The site describes itself as a Mozilla project dedicated to providing documentation, education, and community for developers of all types. What that means is extensive articles and tutorials on a wide range of important techniques – Ajax, CSS, SVG […]

  2. Cross-browser event handling

    One of the most important aspects of modern unobtrusive DHTML is dealing with events. An event occurs whenever the user interacts with the page in some way – by clicking a link, moving their mouse or typing on the keyboard for example. JavaScript programmers write code to respond to those events, and attach them to […]

  3. Usability and accessibility with Ajax

    The Ajax express train rumbles on, threatening to crush anything in its path. Recent discussion has turned to those critical elements of good web development, usability and accessibility. Accessibility is a major issue with Ajax, mainly because anything that relies on JavaScript to function is inaccessible pretty much by default. There are two solutions: either […]

  4. JavaScript and domain specific languages

    I recently stumbled across a group of interesting JavaScript projects by Steve Yen: JavaScript Templates, TrimQuery and TrimSpreadsheet. The first is a JavaScript templating engine, similar to PHP’s Smarty. I was initially unconvinced by the wisdom of client-side templates, but Steve has a well considered blog entry in which he defends the idea in light […]

  5. Fun with Google Maps

    Google Maps launched a couple of weeks ago, and is another dramatic victory for dynamic web applications. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out (IE/Windows or Firefox/Mozilla only at the moment, but Safari support is “coming soon”). It’s a really impressive piece of work, with the main “wow” factor coming from the […]

  6. Internet Explorer 7

    It seems that the endless stream of security problems combined with Firefox’s growing market share have finally had an effect: Bill Gates has announced plans for IE 7. There aren’t that many details yet but it seems the focus will be improved security and better protection from phishing; there’s no news at all on better […]

  7. 2005: The year of the DOM

    Jeffrey Zeldman popularised the concept of the “three legged stool” approach to web design in his book, Designing with Web Standards. The three legged stool consists of XHTML for content and structure, CSS for presentation and JavaScript and the DOM for “behaviour”. CSS and XHTML have had an excellent couple of years in 2003 and […]

  8. Auto complete comes of age

    Google Suggest, the latest bag of tricks from Google Labs, is a perfect example of how modern web applications are breaking out of the mold and becoming more interactive. It uses XMLHttpRequest to run queries against Google as yout type, proving an auto-complete box with the most likely results. As you might expect from Google, […]

  9. The Web-Smart palette

    Anyone who has been designing for the web for more than a year or so ago is likely to have heard of the browser-safe palette, a set of 216 colours recommended for use on the web as they represented the intersection between the 256 colours supported by both Windows and Mac computers in the late […]

  10. Blank alt attributes

    Roger Johansson has a published a short discussion of the alt and title attributes for images. One point he mentions that I think deserves emphasis is the importance of the blank alt attribute. When checking a page’s accessibility, many people attempt to add a descriptive alt attribute to every image on a page. This really […]