Dundee Web Standards - Fleet Collective and Browser Warfare

12 May 2011

A couple of nights ago I want to a Dundee Web Standards event. The events are organised by Chris Leckie and has been running since around October 2010. I've attended once before to see Chris Mills of Opera give a talk on HTML 5 so this was only my second time at a DWS event which is held once a month at Braes, Perth Road, Dundee.

The Fleet Collective

Most of us will have heard of TechHub (and variations) and have an idea about what it is; it's a place where you can rent a desk(s), use office facilities and because there will be other like-minded people about the atmosphere will hopefully inspiring and creative. There will also be the opportunity to network and potentially collaborate on projects and potentially reach larger clients that you would on your own.

Whilst TechHub is obviously concentrating on "tech" the Fleet Collective are actively looking for a wider range of individuals to take up residence or hire a desk for the day. It has been founded by a guy going by the name of Sooper Double D and a partner (I didn't catch her name) who have drawn inspiration from a number of similar ventures in places such as the Netherlands (I didn't take a note of the names - sorry). The Fleet Collective will be based in what looks like a fantastic old building, which is presently under renovation, right in the centre of Dundee.

I've lived near Dundee for just over a year now and can clearly see that it has a massive potential to have a fantastic tech community (maybe it does already and I've just not been out enough). Whilst the government and the council have focused on the games industry in recently years, mainly due to the presence and apparent success of Real-Time Worlds, I would hope that this is going to change to be a focus on Dundee as a technology community. The demise of Real-Time Worlds may end up being a blessing in disguise as there will no longer be one big company dominating the scene and all tech communities, from all industries (game, web, manufacturing, healthcare, finance) now have an opportunity to work together. Combine this with the Fleet Collectives aim of trying mix all types of creative focus (print, art, tech) I really think this is a fantastic opportunity and a great initiative.

For more information check out The Fleet Collective website (under construction), the Fleet Collective Facebook page and @fleetcollective on Twitter.

Browser Warfare

I've been working with browser technologies since I was at University, my final year project was a JavaScript intensive project (IMHO it was actually rubbish, but a good learning experience), and my first job was at Caplin Systems as a Software Engineer building APIs and web frameworks using JavaScript. During this time the runtime environment for all the JavaScript APIs and apps was of course the web browser, so I was very interested to hear what Chris Leckie's talk on browser warfare would cover.

Chris spoke about browser fragmentation - how different browsers behave in different ways give the same code (HTML, JavaScript, CSS). The way each browser may render pages differently. From layout to even font rendering on Windows and Mac, each web browser really can be a different animal. Chris explained his opinion that it was up to us to try and make sure our apps and websites look the same in all browsers and that sometimes it can just be a matter of checking our own code first before blaming the browser.

And, of course, we covered the dreaded beast that is IE6.

What I really liked about Chris' talk is that he wasn't really there to answer all the questions. He gave his talk to encourage discussion and it definitely worked. The discussion session afterwards went on for quite some time covering why IE6 got into the situation it was, what we can do to encourage the death of IE6, whether it's clients who specify the browsers their app or website must run or if it's the dev or design companies and are any of the current crop of browsers going to increase the fragmentation.

After all that there was a chance to have a chat with others there and it certainly seems that web design, web development and manufacturing companies are represented at the event. I don't know if any games companies were though?


Dundee Web Standards seems to be going from strength to strength and next month a Microsoft Developer Evangelist will be giving a talk on IE10. Keep an eye on the @DundeeWebStands (pesky Twitters screen name limit) and the Dundee Web Standards Facebook page for the announcement.

The Highland Fling

It's also worth mentioning that there is a full day tech event coming up in Edinburgh called The Highland Fling which has some really good speakers going to it.