Dev8D 2012 has come and gone this week. The event’s so intense that I tend to forget each day what I did the previous day, so this post will try and order my thoughts a bit and make sure I remember what happened.

Day 1

In Alex Bilbie’s packed HTML5 talk, I finally understood that you really can start using HTML5 now. html5shiv adds support for new block elements like <section> and <article> to old versions of IE, which means you can semantically mark up a page’s structure without having to resort to a million <div> elements.

In the Unix and Vim surgery I learnt that using lines selected visually in Vim can be reselected by typing gv which I’ll be using a lot.

I was planning to enter the Jorum API challenge. Jorum is a repository for open educational resources, and I thought it would be a cool idea to try and implement a Moodle repository plugin to pull in resources from Jorum. However, the Jorum API needs some serious re-engineering to make it useful – it just returns too much data. You need to be able to search for keywords within a collection, request details of an item within the results, and request individual files within that item. Currently, trying to do this gives you all sorts of data pertaining to an object’s parents, children and siblings, to the extent that you can’t even work out what needs to be thrown away to end up with just what you wanted. Until a better API is available, I won’t be looking at it any further.

During the Afternoon I had a chat with the Moodle developers from the University of Sussex. They showed me Google Docs Viewer which lets you embed any PDF or MS Office file in a web page, even without a Google Docs account. This would have seriously cool applications if used in conjunction with Moodle resources, as it could be used to allow a lot of files that currently require office software to view to be viewable right in the Moodle page. There’s a bit of work to do making this work securely, but I think it’s feasible.