A CSS Mnemonic

June 30th, 2008

One of the things that used to annoy me about working with CSS, is that I had a mental block about margin and padding. I could never recall which was which, because the two terms mean pretty much the same thing; an arbitrary space around text. Frankly I think the creators of CSS should have used have called them inner-margin and outer-margin, or inner-padding and outer-padding. I'm sure there is a good reason for using the terms margin and padding (I'm guessing its from typesetting nomenclature), but to me they feel arbitrary and may have well have been called bob and jane.

Fortunately I came up with a mnemonic that made it click. Just remember the phrase 'padded cell'. In a padded cell, the padding goes on the inside. So there you have it, you'll never again forget that the box model is text -> padding -> border -> margin.


Pretty as Pie

June 29th, 2008

I've just spend a couple of hours dusting off an old project of mine, that involved generating pretty 3D pie charts by combining Mako templates with the Povray scene description language. I improved the image quality by enabling radiosity, and the end result is quite appealing (see below).


Now I'm thinking that there may be some people out there who would be prepared to pay to generate such images for websites or for print, and it wouldn't be too hard to extend the idea to other forms of chart, such as bar graphs. So, dear lazyweb, is there a big enough market in such a thing to warrant sinking my valuable spare time into?


New Postmarkup on the block

June 24th, 2008

I've released version 1.1.0 of Postmarkup. The main improvements are that it generates cleaner html, that doesn't include invisible div sections, and that it should also generate XHTML that validates (previous versionsĀ  could put block tags inside inline tags for some bbcode).

The basic interface is the same, so it should be a drop in replacement for most people. TheĀ  base class for tags has changed (but not significantly), so if you have any custom tags, it will require a little work to get them functional again. See postmarkup.py for example tags.

I actually quite like bbcode as a light-weight markup. Possibly I'm rationalising, as I've spent a couple of days polishing it when I should be job-hunting! Its great for its original purpose, of letting forum users format text, but it could be used as a more friendly alternative to XML. It's also higher level than (X)HTML in that a tag can generate intelligent content rather that simply applying a style.

Now I have to find some other project to keep me entertained before I re-join the rat race!


BBCode Ajax test server

June 23rd, 2008

Since I have some time on my hands, I've been doing a little work on Postmarkup - my BBCode module. I've made some significant improvements to the design which fixes a few issues and makes it easier to create new tags. To test it, I hacked together a simple web-app using CherryPy, which allows you to edit bbcode in the browser and see the resulting html update live -- with a little Ajax magic.

Postmarkup test server

Please give it a try, and let me know if you can break it.

In building this, I've created a very rudimentary web service. I'm wondering if there is any practical use for such a thing...


My CV / Resume

June 19th, 2008

It seems it is a good time to be a Python developer, after my last post I received a number of good leads. All before I had finished my CV.


Looking for a Python Role In London

June 16th, 2008

Its seems I'm on the job-market again.

I'm a software developer with over 10 years experience. I'm looking for a role working with Python, which has been the focus of my career for the last 18 months. Prior to that I worked with a mixture of C/C++ and Python. Ideally I'm looking for something in web development as I enjoy working with HTML / CSS and Javascript, but I'm open to other fields that may interest me. I have experience working with Turbogears and Django, as well as many other Python modules and technology.

I enjoy developing software outside of a work environment, and have created several games, applications, web sites, and open source Python modules. My blog is probably the best place to find out more about my spare time projects, see my Python articles for more information.

I'm also an author, having written a book about game development with Python. So I like to think I am a good communicator.

I'd like a full-time position, but I would consider contract work. I'm based in London, so anything in central London would be ideal. Please get in touch if you have a suitable role or would like to know more. I'm available for immediate start.

my email

Mobile: 07722 531972

No recruiters please. And by no recruiters, I mean no recruiters.

Update: I have updated my CV (willmcgugancv.pdf)
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