About This Web Site

What is this site about?

Various ramblings on web development-related topics, focusing on areas such as web standards, accessibility, usability, xslt, css, javascript, etc.

Who am I? What do I do?

My name is Anup Shah. I have been doing software/web development since 1997/1998, and while even using CSS a fair bit back in 1999 I really got into web standards and proper CSS-based web development around mid-2003. For many years, I had done a lot of XSLT-based markup generation, finding it to be quite a natural fit to generate standards-compliant output in numerous situations. (One of the original reasons for starting this blog was to explain that better though my focus has since changed somewhat.)

I worked in the US for just under four years, eventually leading the web development for a dot com. It was really interesting stuff we were doing there; we developed what we called the XML API, around 2000. It was basically XML-based services before SOAP, REST and other things came out. We had implemented the ability to define pages/applications in terms of what the XML inputs and outputs would look like using some XML configuration files. These files were also converted (via XSLT) into middle tier and presentation tier code to process the data (interestingly, I thought that code would just be proxies and stub code — turned out it rarely needed modifying!)

Mid 2001, I moved back to London, and after a break, towards the end of 2001, I joined the company I am still at. At this company, as well as working on large scale projects (including some of the largest online retailers in the UK, even the world, helping to architect and write key aspects of those web sites), I delivered training courses on varied topics from web standards/accessibility, XSLT, to .NET/C# and introduction of ecommerce for non-technical people.

Since around 2007/2008, I shifted focus slightly to more back-office/business web applications, which, while using the same kind of technologies, required a far more complex, almost desktop-like, interaction. While using jQuery and XSLT with ASP.NET, the limitations and challenges of ASP.NET’s Post Back model with a very dynamic almost self-generating application became apparent quite quickly (before the really awesome ASP.NET MVC came out). Fortunately at that time, I came across something that rekindled my enthusiasm! Ext.NET – a powerful ASP.NET-based UI toolkit that generates Ext JS. This made some of our complex business applications much easier to write and maintain while vastly improving the user experience. Around that time, a number of personal challenges also came up so without any spare time, blogging on this site just fizzled away.

I hope that it is now possible to occasionally post a bit more here.

What’s with the site’s name?

The name of the site, “one naught”, came from my wife! If ever we talk about web development related things, there comes a point where it gets too technical or boring, and she lets me know by using a hand puppet gesture and saying “one naught, one naught, one naught!”

Other notes

I have actually been meaning to start this blog for over two or three years, but never had enough spare time. (Actually I still don’t, but figured I’d have even less in the future, so started this anyway.)

After attending a number of excellent @media conferences, I kept getting the urge to start blogging, as my work colleagues and I were doing many things these conferences were talking about. The @media07 conference finally gave me enough of a push to start this!