How not to design a product

Derek Featherstone: CSS, Accessibility, and You

Here’s a free, hour-long talk that Derek Featherstone recently delivered at the CSS Developer Conference in New Orleans.

When most people think about accessibility, they think about HTML as the foundation for accessibility. It makes perfect sense — strong semantic HTML has a huge impact on a visually impaired person using a screen reader. But, what about people with other disabilities? The truth is, there are many more people with low-vision out there than there are blind. There are more fully-sighted keyboard users in the wild than there are non-sighted keyboard users. And there are a huge number of other disabilities that most people don’t even consider when they build their sites and applications. In order to provide the best of user experience to people of all abilities, we must move beyond “write great HTML and you’ll be accessible.” To do that, we use CSS. In this session, we’ll share with you some of the most significant accessibility challenges we face when it comes to the web today and share with you solutions for addressing those head on with the CSS you write. You’ll learn all about the issues, AND know what to do about them.

Watch the video >

Go Watch This Video Now: Java vs JavaScript Throwdown

David Leedy just produced a brilliant NotesIn9 video that all developers should go and watch now. Seriously, go and watch it.

More >

Video: Getting to Know Macaw’s Tools

Video: An Introduction to the Macaw Interface

Extending a Mobile App with IBM Codename: BlueMix

The Little MongoDB Book

The Little MongoDB book by Karl Seguin is free, and is and awesome resource for those new to MongoDB:


On GitHub >

On iTunes >

Negativity Sandwich: Accessibility and Building a web for everyone because sometimes it’s not all about us

Jenn Schiffer shares her thoughts on why accessibility is important. Students who have taken my HTML Fundamentals (CTEC 122) class at Clark College are taught web accessibility and why it’s important from day one of class.

I’m going to talk about accessibility. Not how to make your sites accessible, because there are plenty of resources (which I list some of below) but why it’s important. I feel like awareness is the issue with this subject and I have a big mouth so awareness is a space I can own.

More >

100 Days of BlueMix Training

Calling all Born on the Cloud, Entrepreneur and Mobile Developers: Come learn about IBM’s new cloud development platform, Codename: BlueMix. Here you will have the opportunity to deploy your application and have it running in a matter of hours!

As part of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Learn the fundamentals of building and deploying your application in the Cloud (JazzHub & BlueMix)
  • Work with BlueMix experts on how to use the product and migrate your application
  • Help shape BlueMix with your input and feedback

BlueMix is an open-standards, cloud-based platform for building, managing and running apps of all types (web, mobile, big data, new smart devices). Capabilities include Java, mobile backend development, application monitoring, as well as capabilities from ecosystem partners and open source — all through an as-a-service model in the cloud.

Enroll Now >

MongoDB and Python: A Simple Example

The code below demonstrates how to use Python to connect to a MongoDB database. I chose to use a cloud based instance of MongoDB provided free of charge by The script demonstrates how to:

  • Use the PyMongo library to connect to a Mongo database
  • Insert documents into a collection
  • Display all of the documents from the collection

I also used a local instance of MongoDB for testing. You will will need to use a Python package manager such as EasyInstall to install the PyMongo library.

Here is the Python code:

# Author: Bruce Elgort
# Date: March 18, 2014
# Purpose: To demonstrate how to use Python to
# 1) Connect to a MongoDB document collection
# 2) Insert a document
# 3) Display all of the documents in a collection

from pymongo import MongoClient

# connect to the MongoDB on MongoLab
# to learn more about MongoLab visit
# replace the "" in the line below with your MongoLab connection string
# you can also use a local MongoDB instance
connection = MongoClient("yourmongodbconnectionstring")

# connect to the students database and the ctec121 collection
db = connection.students.ctec121

# create a dictionary to hold student documents

# create dictionary
student_record = {}

# set flag variable
flag = True

# loop for data input
while (flag):
   # ask for input
   student_name,student_grade = input("Enter student name and grade: ").split(',')
   # place values in dictionary
   student_record = {'name':student_name,'grade':student_grade}
   # insert the record
   # should we continue?
   flag = input('Enter another record? ')
   if (flag[0].upper() == 'N'):
      flag = False

# find all documents
results = db.find()


# display documents from collection
for record in results:
# print out the document
print(record['name'] + ',',record['grade'])


# close the connection to MongoDB

If you have any questions please let me know.


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