Posts Tagged ‘opensource’

The trouble with HTML and CSS skills

15th November 2012

When talking to recruitment agents, I very often hear that having “just” HTML and CSS skills is no big deal as everyone is good at those. That’s probably because they hear and read so many times from web developers that they are really good at them. So, they think those skills are not very valuable.

But the truth is, while many developers say they have good HTML and CSS skills, most of them really haven’t. The problem is that the languages themselves are very easy (so, they might not be really lying as such). But applying them to real world projects isn’t easy at all. You could also say it’s the distinction between “CSS, the language” and “CSS, the skill”.
If it was easy, why is the quality of at least 90% of the web so crap? While working with other developers I have found that the vast majority (at least about 90%) of them are overestimating their HTML and CSS skills by far.

During the over 10 years of working in this business, I have worked with roughly 100 other web developers. And out of those only five were good enough in HTML and CSS so that I would rate them 4 or 5 (out of 5).

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The Story behind DokuWiki’s new Template

20th October 2012

DokuWiki finally has a new default template (aka skin or theme) since its latest release (2012-10-13 “Adora Belle”). It has been active on dokuwiki.org for a few months now and I’m happy that the general opinion of it seems to be “awesome”. ūüôā

That template has a long and interesting story to tell, especially about processes in the OpenSource community and the lack of designers therein. Even professional web developers will probably be surprised at how much effort actually went into making it.
So, here is its story:
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In search of a good CMS

21st October 2011

I just spent a few days trying to get an overview of all the different CMS out there nowadays.
I restricted my search to free OpenSource PHP CMS. Those are still hundreds, but at least that rules out some like ExpressionEngine, CushyCMS (not free) and Plone, dotCMS, Alfresco, Umbraco, Radiant (not PHP) and DokuWiki, WordPress, Serendipity (not a CMS). (I was surprised that, according to several sources, WordPress is the most popular CMS by far! Although I can see how you can include it in your definition of a CMS, I only wanted to concentrate on those which were meant to be used as one.)

  1. I had a look at about¬†100¬†different CMS at¬†opensourceCMS.com. (Their demo for each CMS listed there is a pretty cool feature that let’s you at least see one of the most important parts of a CMS at once: the admin interface.) Then I did a bit of research, i.e. googling what others use and like and don’t like and tried a few others which were not listed at opensourceCMS.com.
    A few really popular CMS failed already at that stage:¬†Joomla!,¬†TYPO3,¬†CMS Made Simple,¬†XOOPS,¬†e107¬†and¬†SilverStripe. (I.e. their admin interface failed to convince me, I haven’t had a look beyond that at that point).
  2. In the end I ended up with 18 different CMS I installed and tested more thoroughly.
  3. I will go into detail about 7 of them below…

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The Annotated Casanova Synopsis Wiki

3rd January 2011

One of my most favourite books ever is the Memoirs of Giacomo Casanova.
A few years ago I read the version on Gutenberg.org which unfortunately has no annotations whatsoever. The lack of annotations is a real drawback, especially as they should explain facts which were known at his time and the contemporary reader has no idea about or provide more background information on some people or translate his various Latin and other quotations.
Therefore, I planned to either buy an annotated version or search for the missing information myself. (And in the end I did both.)

But while researching all the missing bits myself, why not share it and collaborate with others who would help researching? Sounds already like a wiki, eh?
And then I read about and was fascinated by the history of the different editions and translations of the memoirs. The early editions are old enough to be in the Public Domain, so it’s easy to use them in the wiki as a basis for the annotations. So, why not present the most popular editions (French, English, German) side by side?

Well, that’s exactly what I did … I’m proud to present:
Paralis.org – The Annotated Casanova Synopsis Wiki

It’s a long way from being finished, but it’s a good start. Now I only need to keep it alive and search for collaborators.

CSS Playing Cards

23rd August 2010

Some days ago a friend of mine told me that he would be interested in using pure CSS playing cards for a personal project. A few people have tried CSS playing cards before. But I wasn’t satisfied with any of our findings, as ideally they should be semantic, accessible and scalable, they shouldn’t use more markup than necessary and should be pleasing to the eye. So, I was up for the challenge and created them myself …
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