Sussex Dinner

Wednesday night I made another trip to Brighton to attend the latest Sussex Geek Dinner. Attendance was good, although not full – it seems quite a few people (a third?) didn’t turn up for one reason or another – a little annoying considering the numbers are limited to thirty and spaces went pretty quickly.

The speaker was Glenn Jones (right), a developer and Creative Developer of Magdex Ltd. in Brighton, which “delivers websites and web based applications for the publishing and recruitment sectors”

The subject was (for the most part) Microformats, an attempt by various people and organisations to construct a psuedo-standard by building a condensed form of various existing standards to insert directly into web pages.

The idea is interesting – many developers find building around existing standards tedious and with little visible benefit. With microformats, developers can use classes for semantic markup (classes are often thought of entirely in the context of CSS, but they are also non-presentational markup).

Once implemented in the page, they are available for readers to pick and offer the user ‘value-add’ options based on the contents of the page. For example, if a calendar event is embedded in the page, the user can add that event to their own calendar. There are a couple of decent readers for Firefox: Tails and Operator.

Glenn spoke broadly about microformats and gave a good rundown of the various sites already using Microformats, as well as speaking about good practice for URL construction.

The event was helped by the organisation of a radio-mike (courtesy of Joh), although Glenn didn’t seem to like using it. Unfortunately the last event suffered from really poor acoustics so a mike of some kind would be useful – perhaps a hands-free mike next time?

As ever, thanks to Simon for organising a great event and I look forward to the next one.

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