Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The EU Directive 2009/136/EC virus

All sites in europe are now affected by a brand new virus known by its technical name "EU Directive 2009/136/EC".  Or more commonly known als the "Allow this site to use cookies" popup.

We want to place our cookies.
It's annoying. At least I think it is annoying. All sites ask me the same thing, over and over, in an autistic repetition that reminds of Dr. Christian Szell in Marathon Man. 
Is it save?
Is it save?
Is it save? 

Do you allow our cookies? Do you know our cookies? Do you love our cookies? Do you want our cookies?
They will enrich your experience!

No! It is not save. Yes it is save.

And we are all like little cyber versions of Dustin Hofmann. We don't know if it is save! We haven't got the slightest idea if we want this website to place its cookies! We most of the time don't care. We simply want to browse, browse, browse.....
I don't know about you, but as long as my virusscanners don't warn me for a site, I always click 'Ok' or 'Agree'.

Stupid solution
So there is a law. Ok, we have to deal with that.
A law is a law is a law is a law, as the poem goes. 
And for all purposes and intentions, it is a good law. The web is a dangerous place to be, spammers and vendors trying to analyze our inner thoughts and our deepest intentions, to make us buy their stuff, or for them to steal stuff from us.

But whoever thought up the solution to place the responsibility for compliance by all website owners? Not that that is a unreasonable choice, but what a waste of time!
Now hordes of developers and siteowners have to read the law, understand its implications, and try to design a way to comply. And the method of compliance is not a simple extraction proces, the law does not define specifications for compliance. You build something and hope you comply. Or better, you read a lot of discussions about how others are doing this, do a lot of copy paste, implement this and think you comply. Different solutions for all different implementations.
But all this development time would be time better spent trying to solve global warming, world hunger, read Wittgenstein or watch quiz-programs on tv. (If anyone still does that nowadays)

The good solution: An EU App
This one always agrees.
So, is there a better way to implement this law?
Yes, of course there is.
The EU should provide a browser App, along with the law itself,  that makes it possible for every user to easily see the cookies used on a site, to easily find info about the cookies used, and to easily allow or block these cookies, and remember this for ever and ever.
The App should be included in every new browser version, and in all minor upgrades.
Interface and interaction should be the same for all browsers.
When the EU should have funded development of this App, that would have been community money well spent because the distributed and parallel development of solutions for all specific cases is a waste of creative energy and time.
Time that should have been spent adding value to the web instead of compliance.

EU Directive 2009/136/EC

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


So, I will start a blog about my company.  

The reasons and objectives of this blog will be explained later.
Honestly:  Because I haven't got the faintest Idea of these objectives at the moment. 

The main motivation is that my work sometimes seems like sitting at the bottom of a very deep pit, working the machinery of a whole and exciting world above me. I work in the engine room of the web, and a simple blog is something on a deck of one of the cruisers.

This is what we do: We build software for the web that most of the time does not work, break down, crash, makes me wanna scream and tear my hair out. And then one of my clients calls me and I am totally confident that it will all work out. Yes, no problem, deadline will be adhered to, problems will be solved, mountains climbed, countries conquered. 
And in the end it always does work out. I solve the puzzle, or we solve the puzzle to be precise.

I build whole stories made of spaghetti-like modules that all knit together something that works. We xml, soap, php, parse, sql like these are verbs instead of nouns.  Whole days long, behind the little screens, sitting in awkward positions drinking coffee, talking jibberish and using google as a shoulder to cry on. Or as an older and wiser friend, but one who most of the time does not pay enough attention to my specific problems, or the exact context of my specific problems.

The web is a slippery environment: There are the different browsers, Operation systems, changing API's, services, dll's, changing scripting versions, preferred protocols et cetera.
Whatever works today may not work tomorrow. It sometimes feels like when you measure the height of a mountain wearing a blue hat, the height will differ from when you measure it wearing a red hat. Or it appears to be no mountain at all, but a valley, or a monkey, or the way an old man can look at girls passing by.....