December 12th, 2004

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

WebCited

Awful name, nifty idea (IMO anyway). One I've had for, $god, 5 or so years now. Talking to Gavin Bell, who deserves a big shout out for his help on the AV side of the LPW, in the Union post-workshop inspired me to think about it again.

Basically the idea is that you go to a web site and type in the URL of another page. The WebCite cgi goes away and fetches it and then rewrites it so that every word is replaced with

    <div class="word" id="webcite_"[% id %]" onClick="highlight([% id %])">
        word
    </div>

or the moral equivalent, with each word having a different id (obviously).

When you click on two separate words they're highlighted in a different colour and then you can hit submit and it gives you another URL a la makeashorterlink.

When you plug this URL in again it would show the page with the relevant passage highlighted.

I can see a couple of problems -

* Local Store versus Retrieve Everytime

Local Store means more work on my part and potential copyright problems. Retrieve Everytime has the potential that the page might change thus creating gibberish.

Potentially I could do some sort of clever diff matching thing based on approximate distance into page and a text sequence. Maybe

* Highlight Colour

If I choose bright yellow as a highlight colour and the page is bright yellow then we're screwed.

I suppose I could potentially offer several different colours.

* URL encoding

Store all the details on the server or try and encode it all in the URL?

diesel, learning, evil, sweeti

London Perl Workshop - the aftermath

Amazingly the LPW didn't result in any deaths, maimings or other graphic unpleasantness.

I'm still in shock. Or hungover. Or in alcoholic renal failure.

Everything seemed to go smoothly and people seemed to have a good time. We got a turn out of about 250 I think including plenty of people who I'd never seen before and who were Perl beginners. Which is exactly what we wanted. Or I wanted anyway.

I'm a bit disapointed with my talk - I think it's definitely got potential but because it was only Etienne and me setting up the stage on Friday I didn't get home till midnight and didn't finish my slides till 3am.

So, tired and slightly wired, the first thing my bl**dy Mac does is get confused about the projector being turned off on it. A fingers-crossed reboot and a bit of poking and I was getting something on the wall which was good. Still it completely threw me off rhythmn and I went too fast through some bits, skipped other bits entirely and generally didn't do a very thorough job.

Still, I gesticulated wildly, cracked a few jokes and people seemed to be entertained. Well, they laughed anyway. At me or with me, doesn't really matter as long as they were happy.