Leaving the BBC, joining Nature Publishing Group

It’s true – I am leaving the BBC! As of June 2nd, I’ll be a front-end developer at Nature.

The last three years at the BBC have been good ones. I think the quality of the output and massive range of products that have come out of the development teams has just been amazing. It feels like everyone I have had the pleasure of working with at the Beeb has been smart, engaged and really got the web and wanted to make cool things.

I’m certainly sad to be leaving. I’ll of course be missing the Glow Super Friends a lot, in particular, but I feel that I’ve made brilliant friends and connections in various corners of the company and there are many I hope to continue seeing a lot of and will no doubt get to work with again in the future. I leave knowing I’m going to miss everyone to pieces, but London really isn’t that big – so they won’t get rid of me too easily, even if I do have to stalk Vesbar.

But ever onwards – the season called for a change of scenery and getting a look at a whole new ecosystem of challenges. I think working at Nature will be great and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I only hope they’re ready for my special brand of optimism.

Microformats, the BBC and friends

I recently had the job of letting the microformats community know that the BBC were having to drop hCalendar due to accessibility concerns surrounding the use of abbr and the date-time pattern.

My friend and colleague Jake Archibald published a summary of what’s happened so far, what the current alternative suggestions are and the BBC’s take on them. It’s a useful read if you want to catch-up and see where we are.

I think the best thing to come out of this is probably that we’re talking about actual alternatives again rather than just waiting for more evidence (which often feels like a get-out clause for inaction). Whether we’re doing that right though… well, we’ll see. I appreciate the apprehension that comes with changing something that’s already had some seal of “yep.. good to go.. use it!” – no one wants to get this “wrong” again. Equally though, I really do hope we can come to a compromise and “solve” the problem this time. Extending HTML 4 was ever going to be especially pretty, but bear with us (please don’t mention HTML 5 to me – it’s for your own good).

On lighter notes, here’s a couple interesting microformatty things:

And lastly, I wanted to mention that I should hopefully have details on the next London Microformats vEvent very soon.

Based on feedback from the last event we held during London Web Week, Drew and I are planning a “Getting Started” event, with back-to-basics semantics and microformats implementations.

The BBC needs you!

Are you a screen reader user, or know someone who is? Want to contribute to making the Beeb a more accessible place?

The BBC is looking for people to let them know what screen reader users hear when they visit the new Programmes pages, which just happen to contain the ever controversial abbreviation design pattern contained within the hCalendar microformat, or whether they expand and listen to title attributes and abbreviations at all.

Please pop on over to the BBC RadioLabs blog article and leave your feedback or get in touch if you would think you can help test!

New Things

Dear Readers,

I apologise for the downtime. This was due to an effort to create a more reliable experience for you. Packets were lost and words were exchanged between the server that shall not be repeated, but replacements have now been found and something like a normal service will now resume. Thank you for your patience.

Yours truely,


In other news, I have finished one job to start another in my absense. The brief version is as follows;

Having spent almost a year and a half at Volume and learning as much as I could and generally having a pretty good experience, I thought it was about time to move on. Kind of an odd time to do so in hindsight, because as I was leaving they were just picking up into a new phase and have a shedload of work (this is a good thing) and new clients. I’m sure they’ll do well.

Fortunately, the opportunity to do something new came my way and I can now be found loitering at the BBC as a client-side developer. I’ve been at the BBC a week so far, and am pleased! I can’t imagine I’ll blog anymore about that than I did the last job mind you, so this is just an “FYI”.

I was sad to leave DJ Pauly C who was the most active in making my stay at Volume enjoyable, but I’m sure he’ll forgive me in time.