Playing with emerging web technologies

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During the last week I’ve been playing with some of the emerging Web technologies that aim to make the Internet a more interesting place over the next few years.

I’ve just finished redesigning my ECS Web site with HTML5 and a little bit of clever CSS, partly to see what can be achieved in a modern browser and partly to see if I could build a really simple content management system (CMS) in PHP without using a database or a web-based front-end. I have redesigned my ECS site about once a year since I came to the University of Southampton in 2005, each time experimenting with layout, accessibility and other new things I’ve been learning about web design.

Earlier this year, I redeveloped the Hung Leng Kuen Kung Fu club‘s Web site with a lean towards search engine optimisation, accessibility and having a bit of fun with JavaScript on the home page.

I have applied some of the lessons learned on the kung fu club site to my own personal site and taken things a step further by using the more semantic tags of HTML5 and CSS2.1 tables to lay out the box model. Of course, the new site doesn’t work too well in older browsers but does very well in Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.6 and Chrome 4, falling back to slightly ugly, but usable in older versions of Internet Explorer.

I was tempted to go overboard on the styling, using as much fancy stuff as I could find in the latest versions of CSS, but ended up choosing the simplest layout I could come up with. I think there’s a lot to be said for minimalist design and elegant simplicity so I’ll keep the current, uncluttered style for the time being.

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