Blog Archives

Web programming

From Greg Brockman on Twitter: Web programming is the science of coming up with increasingly complicated ways of concatenating strings.

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Gutenberg + Readability

Here’s a very simple idea: Use Project Gutenberg for content and Readability for style. Project Gutenberg has a large collection of public domain books in digital form. The books are available in several formats, none of which are ideal for

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Posted in Typography

Styling HTML for mobile devices

Yesterday I thought about adding a style sheet for mobile devices to some static HTML pages. How hard could it be? CSS has a media type. Just set the media to handheld,  specify a style sheet for mobile browsers, and

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Complexity of HTML and LaTeX

Sometime around 1994, my office mate introduced me to HTML by saying it was 10 times simpler than LaTeX. At the time I thought he was right. Now I’m not so sure. Maybe he was right in 1994 when the

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Posted in Typography

The good parts

I’ve written before about how I liked Douglas Crockford’s book JavaScript: The Good Parts and how I wish someone would write the corresponding book for R. I just found out this week that O’Reilly has published three more books along

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Sharps and flats in HTML

Apparently there’s no HTML entity for the flat symbol, ♭. In my previous post, I just spelled out B-flat because I thought that was safer; it’s possible not everyone would have the fonts installed to display B♭ correctly. So how

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Google Reader and HTML lists

Yesterday I wrote a post about how to start numbering a list in HTML at some point other than 1. Mark Reid and Thomas Guest pointed out that my example did not show up correctly in Google Reader. Here’s how

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Starting number for HTML lists

I recently found out how to make an HTML list start numbering somewhere other than at 1. This is handy when you have a list interrupted by some text and want to continue the original numbering without starting over. I’ve

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Posted in Computing

Faint praise for Expression Web

I really like Expression Web, when it doesn’t crash. It generates standard-compliant XHTML, it’s pleasant to use, etc. But I’ve had it crash many times. It crashes when I have too many files open, or when I edit too big

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Syntax coloring for code samples in HTML

Syntax coloring makes it much easier to read source code, especially when you become accustomed to a particular color scheme. For example, I’m used to the default color scheme in Visual Studio: comments are green, keywords are blue, string literals

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RDFa

Phil Windley had a recent interview with Elias Torres and Ben Adida on RDFa. This is an emerging standard for adding semantic information to HTML documents. The “a” in RDFa stands for attributes. Rather than creating new documents, RDFa allows

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Posted in Computing

HTML parsing landmines

Phil Haack explains why parsing HTML isn’t as easy as it sounds in The Landmine of Parsing HTML and Stripping HTML comments. Update: Phil Haack’s follow-up post.

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Manipulating the clipboard with PowerShell

The PowerShell Community Extensions contain a couple handy cmdlets for working with the Windows clipboard: Get-Clipboard and Out-Clipboard. One way to use these cmdlets is to copy some text to the clipboard, munge it, and paste it somewhere else. This

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Comparing Google and Yahoo automatic translation

I played around with Google’s translator a little after adding some notranslate directives as discussed in my previous post. Google did honor my requests to mark some sections as literal text to not be translated. Google’s translator was also able

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Giving hints to automatic translators

One problem with machine translation is that machines don’t know when to stop translating. For example Yahoo’s Babel Fish translator translates my last name “Cook” literally to “Cocinero” in Spanish and “Cuisinier” in French. Today Google announced a way to

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