Category “Web”

That’s how I roll.

Monday, 25 May, 2009

Since this years I have have started seeking out more techie talks and lectures from conferences that I can find. With this in mind, last week I had the chance to go see two presentations give by some guys from the W3C.

Ivan Herman talked about the Semantic Web, which seems to be mainly about defining ways of adding meta-data to information on the web, in a way that a system can link otherwise abstract¬† information to other bits of information in a way they a person might do intuitively. I probably missed the point a bit, as the talk was very general and didn’t contain too many examples or specifics. I think¬† Ivan described it as something like “mash-ups on steroids” which sounded rather suitable. It isn’t something I have a real keen interest in at the moment, but a few ideas/projects I been playing around with lately tend towards that direction, so it will probably be something I’ll end up looking into in more detail in the future.

The second talk was by Mike Smith about HTML5 and a little bit about XHTML2. While I was expecting it to be a talk about new and shiny toys that developers will soon be able to play with, it ended up being more about the aims of the standards, and the difference between HTML5, XHTML2, and the relationship (or lack of) with their predecessor. While slightly disappointing that the talk wasn’t what I was expecting, I did find it rather interesting as he went through a bit of the history of the HTML standards and why things have ended up they way they are (“politics”), and why things won’t change a great deal going into the future (backwards compatibility).

While it would have been good to hear a bit more technical detail about the various technologies, they were still interesting talks giving the rather limited time they had, and I also managed to score myself a t-shirt (thanks to to Ivan, who couldn’t quite answer one of my questions).


Piwik – Now I’m stalking YOU!

Thursday, 23 April, 2009

The web stats stuff at my work is a bit of a mess at the moment, and as the gaffer tape is still (just) holding it together, I’ve been putting off reworking it. Knowing this is something that would good to get fixed up, one of the guys at work stumbled across Piwik and suggested I have a look at it.

Piwik is essentially an open source replacement for Google Analytics, with the added bonus that all data that is collected belongs to you, and not Google. The trade off is that you must have access to a MySQL database in order to record the stats.

I haven’t really played with with Google Analytics much before, because I’m not that fond if them collecting data on my behalf to use for their own means, so I can’t really compare the two. Don’t get me wrong, I think Google probably provide a very good service if you don’t have the means to collect your own data, but seeing as I do, Piwik is a much better choice for me.

I am still deciding if it will fit in with what is needed for the websites at work, but in the mean time I thought I would give it a go on a few of my personal websites. So far it seems rather nifty, and produces some nice looking charts and stats.

While it looks like a promising project, it is a little lacking in a few areas, like user and site management. It also relies heavily on Flash to display a lot of the charts. Seeing as the charts are not overly complex, it might be nice to see if they could be replaced by javascript equivalents (and make a Linux user like me a bit happy).

I’ll definately keep an eye on its progress, and might even get around to having a look through to code, to see if I can help to improve things.