Sunday, October 21, 2012

HTML5 and LDV Camper Van website

I watched an old video recently about HTML5, a presentation by Scott Davis posted on InfoQ, this inspired me to update our LDV campervan website.

When I redesigned the website a few months back I used HTML5 semantics  but the site never quite worked on Internet Explorer and at the time I didn't know how to get HTML5 video working - I had a few renderings on Flickr but didn't want to embed them using Flash.

I updated the XSLT and DTD to support the video tag with multiple video codecs and added a script to convert MP4 videos into Ogg Theora for Firefox support.

ffmpeg -i ${filename} -b 500k -minrate 500k -acodec libvorbis -vcodec libtheora ${output}

The bitrate varies depending on the size of the video and desired quality.

So I added my 3 renderings in both h264 (converted using Handbrake on Mac) and Ogg video to the website planning page. I also cleaned up the CSS stylesheet a little and styled the video similar to the photos elsewhere on the site.

I also decided to add a new "Where we've been" section using a google map and an iframe, again styled similar to the other photos and videos.

The XSLT used to generate the whole website no longer generates div elements if they do not contain anything (i.e. no images or videos) cleaning up the final markup.

I'll update the webpage building package (http://blog.bjw.me.uk/2012/09/website-building.html) I blogged about earlier to support the two new tags (video and map), the updated IE support and cleaner XSLT and CSS.

In the meantime here's the new LDV Camper van conversion planning page and here is where we've holidayed in our LDV.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Quitting My Job

For the first time in my 10 year career, I've handed in notice to quit!

For the last 2 years I've been working for ThinkAnalytics on a content recommendation engine project; a middleware service which provides TV and movie recommendations personalised to you based on your viewing habits. It has been very good fun and was my first real exposure to structured software change management and working with international customers! It has been a good opportunity for me to learn new libraries and development practises which otherwise I may have not.

But over the past few months I've been feeling it is time to move on and whilst visiting StackOverflow I spotted an advert for a developer position at a company I was interested in, but never realised had software developers! After an interview and trial I was offered a position which I happily accepted.

I accepted the new position on Thursday and wrote up a letter to hand in, in person, but unfortunately I couldn't see anyone face to face as they were all away. Having never quit a job before I was really nervous and I didn't want to wait over the weekend, so resorted to sending my notice by email attaching the letter I intended to hand in and putting a more personal reply in the message body. I didn't want to do it this way, but felt much better when I got a response; I then let my colleagues know and met my manager face to face the following Monday which went well. I found out he was on a flight so was a "nasty surprise" when he received the email after landing - not ideal. Somehow I still feel a little guilt for leaving them so soon.

Now to concentrate on "knowledge transfer" over the next few weeks!

I start my new position on the 1st November.