Web and IT

openSUSE 10.3 (Linux) Goes Gold

Quite excited about this! openSUSE 10.3 is ready to go, having had the goldmaster release announcement made yesterday. It is not supposed to be available for public download until 4th October, but for those who know where to look downloading has begun.

Need Some Office Software? (going cheap)

When it comes to office productivity software (word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs) lots of people only know about Microsoft® Office - Word, Excel and PowerPoint (or perhaps the useless Microsoft® Works that came bundled with their PC).

Well, if that's you, I'm glad to be able to inform you that there is a growing number of 'office' suites, that not only provide a good alternative to Microsoft® Office but are also absolutely free!

In the last few days there has been a new release of the increasingly popular OpenOffice software (version 2.3), as well a an announcement from IBM, making the Lotus Symphony office software available for free download!

JavaScript function to check an email address conforms to RFC822

A number of times I have been frustrated with simplistic verification of email addresses, not so much because they are incomplete, but because they actually get it wrong.

I did at one stage make a serious attempt understanding and implementing the perl regular expression for checking emails (in accordance with the internet specification RFC822) that is found in the Perl Cookbook, however after reading Cal Henderson's excellent write-up on Parsing Email Adresses in PHP, I realise why it wasn't a helpful place to start (it incorporates more than just the address spec).

So with Cal's advice there is no excuse for web developers to continue to guess at what an email address should be, just do it to the spec (RFC822)!

The original is in PHP, and others have rewritten it for Ruby, and Python...

Here is my contribution, a JavaScript version:

openSUSE 10.2 Linux Has Been Released!

Well, the day has come, and just like they said openSUSE 10.2 has been released.

One of the primary FTP mirrors for downloading SUSE has been GWDG, which I have usually found has the files ready for download before anywhere else. So even though the official openSUSE website has not yet made mention of the release, you can download the ISO images here.

So like many other enthusiastic openSUSE users, I have my bittorrent client fired up and busy downloading this new improved release. So while I am quite busy with work at the moment, as soon as I get a break I will have the DVD ready to test out :)

Watch this space and I'll post a note on how things go and what I think.

Website Accessibility Making the News

While the BBC headline might sound quite depressing: 'Most websites' failing disabled, I found the news quite encouraging - not because of the sorry state of most websites, but because high profile news items like this can help to raise awareness of this important issue.

While the article suggests 97% of leading websites don't even meet minimum levels of accessibility, I do think it has played the numbers up a bit. Firstly, setting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as the 'minimum standards', one would expect a pedantic interpretation of these guidelines to exclude most sites - even if many of the sites have made significant efforts towards accessibility.

Back Online!

What an exciting day, just had broadband connected at our new address.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying to survive using (horror of horrors) dial-up! It was even more painful than what I had expected. Not having broadband internet felt about the same as not having running water.

Perhaps it did me good to share the plight of those still using dial-up. It did reinforce in my mind the importance of light-weight website design.

No Koala! Drupal Theme Available

As per my announcement on drupal.org I have made an adaption of my site theme available...

The No Koala! theme is a simple but elegant single-column phptemplate theme for the Drupal content management system. It's goal is to focus on accessibility and usability, and should be suitable for a blog or other simple websites.

Contributing Theme to Drupal

A number of people have inquired about the Drupal theme used on this site and the CSS drop-down menus, asking if I would contribute it as downloadable theme on the Drupal site.

Well, I did say I was open to the idea, and since there has been a fair bit of interest I have set myself to make a few adjustments so it will be ready to commit to CVS.

As it will not have my koala logo, I have decided to call the theme 'No Koala!'. You can check it out here: http://nokoala.rosskendall.com.

Should have it in CVS later this evening (UK time).

Could IE7 push developers to use web standards?

Now that Internet Explorer 7 is finally released, the concerns that have been building will start to become a reality. Many websites will find they do not format properly with IE7, and others may have more serious problems with functionality.

As a Linux and Mozilla Firefox user, I am certainly no fan of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, in fact I actively recommend Firefox to any Windows user.

Drupal 4.7.4 Update

Drupal LogoAn update for the Drupal content management system has just been released. This is only a minor update, however since it includes some security fixes, all Drupal installations should be upgraded to this latest version. Further details can be found here on the Drupal website http://drupal.org/drupal-4.7.4.

Being a good developer, I have undertaken to upgrade my sites to the latest version. This site has now been successfully upgraded with only a few minutes downtime, and no problems were experienced. Thanks to those involved in coding the fixes and packaging the release.

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