- My new book Developing with Web Standards is out now.
- Follow me on Twitter. I try to make my contributions more signal than noise, and Web Dev related.
- Working on tools like XRAY and MRI, to help web designers and developers be more productive.
- Working on the CSS 3 Sandbox - a set of tools for exploring CSS 3 properties
I'm a software engineer, speaker, writer, educator and surf lifesaver, with a long standing interest in CSS, web design and development. I'm also one of the founders and organizers of the web design and development conferences "Web Directions".
Read a short bio for some more.
I'm the co-founder of Web Directions. Our conferences began as grass root events focussing solely on web standards and accessibility, and have grown to be held in the US, Japan and Australia. From 2010 we'll also be running the legendary @media conference in London (2010 dates June 9 and 10).
Web Directions also organized GovHack, the first ever government supported hack day, in Canberra, Australia October 2009.
For the last 15 years, along with Maxine Sherrin, I've run Western Civilisation pty. ltd. (westciv), a software development company. We publish the successful, highly regarded Cascading Style Sheet development software Style Master, for both Mac OS X and Windows. We have also previously published Layout Master, a tool for developing CSS based HTML and XHTML page layouts, and Palimpsest, a sophisticated hypertext based knowledge management tool.
Style Master is the leading cross platform CSS developments software, with tens of thousands of users around the world. It's the oldest, and yet most frequently updated CSS development tool on either platform. Version 5 for the Mac OS was released in May 2009.
XRAY is a bookmarklet for Internet Explorer 6+, and Webkit and Mozilla based browsers (including Safari, Firefox, Camino or Mozilla). Use it to see the box model for any element on any web page.
MRI is a bookmarklet for Internet Explorer 6+, and Webkit and Mozilla based browsers (including Safari, Firefox, Camino or Mozilla). Use it to test and explore selectors.
Now freeware for Windows, Layout Master was our tool for developing HTML+CSS based page layouts for the web. Changes in the underlying software development environments we use, and the way in which best practice page layout is done (moving away from absolute positioning to float based layouts) made Layout Master less useful than it was when first developed, and yet prohibitively expensive to redevelop. Many of its best features have been incorporated into Style Master.
Developed in the early 1990s, Palimpsest was a Mac only application for developing complex knowledge bases that incorporated very rich hypertext (such as multidirectional linking, tagged links, like meta data, and meta data copy and paste.)
.Very enthusiastically received at the time, such a powerful application was probably too ambitious for a small development company, and the simplicity and networked nature of the Web (itself very much in its infancy when we began developing Style Master) pretty much annihilated all desktop hypertext applications (like Lotus SmarText) of which there were at the time quite a few.
The lesson from this? Don't try to work against the web. Work out where the stampede is going, and get yourself there.
Founded in 2008, with Maxine Sherrin, Scroll Magazine is a print and online journal for web professionals. Featuring in depth articles by leading web thinkers and practitioners, Scroll aims to go beyond the disposable sondbit culture of much of the writing about web design and development.
Edition 1 is available as a limited edition first printing, print on demand, and downloadable PDF, with articles available free online 3 months after publication.
Edition 2 is available as a limited edition first printing, and downloadable PDF, with articles available free online 3 months after publication.
In addition to publishing software, Westciv has published significantly online in the field of standards based web design and development, accessibility, CSS, HTML and related fields.
Developing with Web Standards
A companion to Jeffrey Zeldman's legendary "Designing with Web Standards", Developing with Web Standards, published November 2009 is a deep technical dive into HTML and XHTML (including HTML5), CSS (including CSS3), the DOM, SVG, Canvas, accessibility and much more. Huge, detailed and comprehensive, for first timers, and web professionals alike.
In 2004 I contributed a chapter to the late Nigel McFarlane's Firefox Hacks for O'Reilly Publishing.
In 2006, along with Maxine Sherrin, I inaugurated a prize in excellence in Australian web design in Nigel's memory, the McFarlane Prize.
The Complete CSS Guide
Now nearly a decade old, and frequently updated in those 9 or more years, "Everything you ever wanted to know about style" has widely been recognized for its central role in helping people learn about CSS. Dave Shea, founder of the CSS Zen Garden, calls it "the place to learn CSS". I originally wrote the first edition of the guide in 1997, in a week or two of intense work. It has been maintained and updated by myself and Maxine Sherrin.
Presently, it is probably viewed by well over a million people a year.
You can even get it for your iPod
Self paced training
Since 2000, westciv has published a series of self paced training courses, covering XHTML and HTML, CSS, color and graphics for the web, with a particular focus on issues such as standards based development, accessibility, and best practices more generally.
Over the last 10 years or so, I have written many articles, for online and print publications. Increasingly, I tend to publish articles on one of several blogs I run. This means I can bang out spur of the moment nonsense I then get to regret at leisure.
- A dao of web design for A List Apart. Published April 2000. In which I argue that the web is its own medium, and we must find its genius, not simply try to shoe horn it into the media of the past, like Television, radio or print. People still say very nice things about it.
- The Big Picture on Microformats for Digital Web Magazine. Published August 2006. Who's doing what with Microformats. An overview of tools, publishers, services and more using microformats in mid 2006.
- Add microformats magic to your site Vitamin Magazine, published August 2006. An introduction to microformats, and how to use them.
- Message to the messengers Published May 2004. Respect goes out to all those who helped make CSS the success that it is - many of whom you've never heard of.
- 5 Questions to ask your web team Also appeared in the online technology sections of the Age and Sydney Morning Herald Newspapers. 5 things all web site managers must know about the sites they are responsible for.
- Web pages aren't printed on paper. A forerunner to the Dao of Web Design - first published in 1999! How I gave up trying to "control" web pages and discovered adaptability.
- Webpatterns and Websemantics, published November 2005. Where will richer semantics for today's web come from?
- Semantics in the Wild, published November 2005. How do people really use semantics in the web development?
You can find more articles by me at westciv's learning section
News on Style Master, and all things CSS, with hopefully frequent tutorials and how-tos on advanced CSS.
Not quite my first blog (we had a short lived hand coded "blog" at westciv focussing on web standards design some time before), the first one I put a lot of effort into. My (now) wife said one day "you need a blog". I do everything she tells me, and so "dog or higher" was born. The name is a Simpsons quote I explain in a very early post. Dog or higher is somewhat in Hiatus.
As you might guess, Microformatique is a blog about microformats. I started this a few months back as an informal clearing house of ideas, events and so on, about microformats, to complement the more official channels.
I'm an invited blogger at the venerable Digital Web Magazine, where I do a regular roundup of news on microformats.
We publish web industry news, opinion, and conference updates.
I am asked often to speak at conferences, and do my best to say yes. Some of the events I have spoken at include
- South by Southwest interactive (SxSW) 2005 and 2006
- Web Directions '06 on Microformats - features podcast, slides and liveblogging transcript
- Open Publish 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008
- Open Standards 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007
- Port 80's Ideas 3 in Perth, April 2006. Features slides, podcast and transcript.
- Web Standards Group Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington, Brisbane.
- AGIMO, the Australian Government Information Management Office, on blogs, wikis and the conversation based web
- The Traveltech conference 2006, 2007 and 2008.
- The Australian Tourism Futures conference
- Multimedia Victoria
- Digital Media 2.0
Email me if you would be interested in my speaking at your conference or other event.
Upcoming speaking dates
Recent speaking dates
A project to develop a pattern language for web page and web site architecture, which I started in late 2005. While seemingly in hiatus, I continue to work on these concepts, and discuss them with anyone silly enough to listen. I'll be presenting on the concept at the IA Summit in Las Vegas in March of 2007.
Web Standards Project
I was very fortunate and honored to be asked to be an early member of the web standards project, and was a member of the "CSS Samurai".
A number of my presentations have been podcast includingWeb Directions 06 - Microformats Ideas 3 - Port 80 (where I somewhat disastrously experimented with audience participation - getting the audience to clap when I changed slides so that the podcasting audience could synchronize their slides to the podcast. Take it from me - doesn't work).
I'm sure there are others lurking out there
- Kazuhito Kidachi, from Mitsui Links, interviewed me during Web Directions 06, in early October 2006, and covered a wide range of subjects, including Style Master, web standards, and microformats. It's in English with Japanese subtitles, and has excellent production values.Part 1 is here, and part two, here
- Ten Questions for John Allsopp, Web Standards Group, November 2004
- I did a podcast interview with Cameron Reilly, on the podcast network, January 2007.
Though busy, I do sometimes find time to do some consulting, particularly with a focus on the convergence of technology and strategy, particularly in web design and development. If you are interested, please email me.
Photos I take of my exciting life you can find on Flickr
My identity at ClaimID