Using Modernizr to redirect old browsers

Browser support is always a contentious issue amongst developers with some claiming that support for all currently used browsers should be within the grasp of a solid artisan (at a cost) while others state users clinging to older browsers should be denied access to modern sites in the interests of rapid development and modern feature support.

This debate is not going to be settled any time soon and even as IE6 slides gracefully into obscurity the next round of "Old Browsers" are just waiting around the corner to frustrate web developers around the world.

One thing is certain, browser sniffing (inspecting the user agent string) is a bad idea and instead we should be using feature detection to make our sites progressively degrade as we work our way down the generations.

Which is, on the face of it, a superb plan until you look at using one of the fronted frameworks that simply doesn't support older browsers. Foundation 5, for example, is strictly IE9+ and while I could spend a tedious amount of time tweaking it to degrade neatly what if I wanted to simply detect the users on older systems and neatly redirect them but do so without resorting to UA sniffing?

The Five Million Pound Plan (or an affordable recipe for a startup hub)

Here's the situation. You're a small (but perfectly formed) location with some great plans to build up your digital presence in a world filled with micro hubs, macro hubs and tech centers of all shapes and sizes. You have the budget, you have government buy in (kinda) but you lack one very important ingredient: you're short on skilled man power.

The common initial reaction to this scenario is to start community training initiatives, to engage with education from primary school up and to encourage as many people as possible to get "skilled up" in digital. But this is a long term strategy. The earliest you'll see fruition is 12 months after commencement and it will be years before you start to hit the numbers you need. Plus you'll have had to maintain the attractiveness of your location throughout this long wait to ensure that your newly skilled locals don't up sticks and head off in search of a land were the streets are paved with £££ and 101010!

What if there were a quicker way to ensure an almost immediate influx of skills and digital aware thought leaders? Enter the Half a Million Pound Plan.

Full Stack or Jack?

I've billed myself as a Full Stack web developer for about 5 years now. Originally this was to make clear my abilities and know-how covered the full range of web development, from front-end markup, advanced CSS and JavaScript on the client, through to the server side technologies, web & database servers and even the OS hosting the system. In short I was capable in all areas needed to build solid web solutions.

But increasingly, the layers of web development are separating and I have to question: Should I still be Full Stack? Do developers trying to keep abreast of all these rapidly changing technologies simply risk becoming the oft maligned "Jack of All Trades"?

HackJsy - An insider's perspective

I'd never organised a hackathon before. Hell I'd only ever been to one in the past so it smacks of insanity that Matt, Andy, Sonia, myself and a bunch of others thought we could pull one out of the bag based on little more than a whole ton of enthusiasm and some first principles. But after a few meetings, the production of countless lists and some pretty rapid iteration we ended up with a plan that seemed like it would work and sent out the invite list... then we waited.

Mobile, car, TV, tablet or wearable? They're all just cloud interfaces!

With an Apple hardware announcement due in a little over 3 hours, technology pundits the world over are trying to firm up the final odds on an announcement of the iWatch or similar Apple wearable. All the rumours seem to point that way but at the same time the real impact of a watch based (and sized) device has not really been explored. What would an iWatch mean to you as an iPhone toting citizen of the on-line world?

Happy Blogiversary

Apparently a Blogiversary is a thing now, along with a Twittiversary and Facebookiversary and a host of other slightly meaningless events linked to on-line activities.

While it may seem like the height of banality to celebrate the existence of something as self serving as a personal blog (certainly one that has been a varied in content and tone as this) I'm quietly pleased to think that this website has been in existence in one form or another since 2003! You have to take my word for it at the moment as the long overdue archiving and tidy up process is ongoing but the first post to this site which has moved domains a few times and platforms and hosts countless times was on August 18th, 2003 when I was 23 years old.

Open Jersey - Data Structures for Open Access & Silo Busting

As promised in the introduction to this series on Open Data in Jersey, this post is going to focus on two very specific and rather large problems facing the roll out of any open data project. Specifically:

How do we structure data for public access and how can we abstract or combine existing silos of data?

Star vs RT - two features, at least three uses and a much needed enhancement

I have a semi automated Twitter stream these days. A queue of 4 items per day (Monday - Friday) are automatically posted by the excellent Buffer platform and for the most part this system works brilliantly. It means I can focus on sourcing and curating useful and hopefully interesting content to share with my followers without needing to worry about flooding their time lines.

It's not perfect. I frequently get replies to tweets that have been in the pipeline for over a week since I read the original post and decided to add it which leads to a certain measure of re-reading to remember what the heck a given item was actually about. But this is a pretty rare occurrence nowadays since I make sure I carefully read all content before scheduling and try not to let my Buffer get more than a week ahead.

Open Jersey - Challenges and Solutions for Open Data in our Island Community

(Update: Part 2 is now online!)

The Island of Jersey is now 24 months into its journey towards becoming a world recognised, centre of digital excellence. Some of the local programmes are starting to take shape with Digital Jersey opening their co-working space in a week and with local groups rallying around the residual energy from the (un)conference that took place earlier in April.

That said, there is one area where Jersey is lagging behind most jurisdictions - open access to data. And comments made across a range of recent events & meet-ups have made it clear that access to this vast pool of resources is very much in demand from the community and would act as a catalyst for the advancement of local technical solutions when positioned alongside other initiatives such as eGovernment and the soon to be "live" Freedom of Information law.

Can we please STOP telling people coding is easy!

There's a growing trend as governments and well-meaning organisations clue in to the massive skills gap that has been allowed to grow in IT education across the UK and around the world. The trend is the proposition that learning to code is "simple" and "easy". In some instances this fashion has led to extremes with some providers offering you the opportunity to "learn to code in a day" or a week, month or year.

I'll be frank, this is starting to piss me off.