The Cloudworks API - rationale and lessons

A few weeks ago I blogged the forthcoming Cloudworks application programming interface and published a document for review. Today, I thought I would explain some of the decisions behind the design of the API and share some of the lessons we're learning. We'll also touch on Javascript widgets and possible next steps. And, we'll try not to "sell" REST or get into a holy war!

Cloudworks logo

Application Programming Interface for Cloudworks

For the past few weeks we have been designing an Application programming interface (API) for Cloudworks, to enable anyone to build their own programs using the Cloudworks data. We have a draft API document that explains the conventions, error handling and each individual call to the API. We would like your feedback on all details of the interface, and we'll work them in to the code as it evolves.

Cloudworks API - wordle

Embed a Scratch applet in HTML5

For the past year I've been following the progress of HTML5 with interest. And recently I've become interested in MIT's Scratch. So naturally I've been test embedding Scratch using it's Java applet in HTML5. The only article I've found so far on embedding Scratch in HTML5 contains a number of errors and invalid markup, so I'm setting the record straight.

First, the situation in HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 – <object> is the preferred element, with <applet> deprecated. So, <applet> is valid in HTML 4 Loose (XHTML 1.0 Transitional), but not HTML 4 Strict.

Drum Kit 2.0, by technoguy

Example embed for HTML 4.01:

<applet codebase="http://scratch.mit.edu/static/misc/" archive="ScratchApplet.jar"                                                           
        code="ScratchApplet" height="387" width="482">                                                                                                             
   <param name="project" value="../../static/projects/technoguyx/355353.sb" >
   Your browser needs Java to view projects.                                                                                      
</applet>

Sometimes I s-start to stutter

A week ago today I stood up and talked about my personal experiences as a person who stammers, and the valuable work of The British Stammering Association. The occasion was the weekly Monday evening meal of the Rotary Club of Leighton-Linslade, to which I had been invited as guest speaker. The Club made me very welcome, and proved to be a good audience for my talk, laughing in the right places and asking some pertinent questions ("What's the difference between a stammer and a stutter?" Answer: none, woops I meant to mention that in the talk!)

Accessibility pattern 1: use buttons for Javascript actions, not images

The is the first in a series of what I'm terming accessibility patterns and anti-patterns - one per post (feel free to argue that it's an idiom!) Here is an example:

Bad

  <img onclick="displayURL()" title="Display URL" ../>

Good

  <input type="image" alt="Display page URL - popup window"
        onclick="displayURL()" src=".." title=".." />