Gilbert and Sullivan do Web Design

June 22, 2006

Topics: Personal, Web Development.

Okay, let’s be honest here. Not every day is necessarily spent being productive. Today, for example, I’ve spent a significant chunk of my time doing something which was fun, but not necessarily describable as work. I wrote an alternate lyrics version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "I am the very model of a modern Major-General", from Pirates of Penzance. Don’t know it? Shame on you.

And here’s the meat of the meal. Apologies to W.S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan.


Sung to a tune by Sir Arthur Sullivan, Lyrics adapted from those of W.S. Gilbert

I am the very model of a modern Web Developer,
with principles accessible and standards by Sir Berners-Lee,
I quote the works of Zeldman and I always read A-List-Apart
from code to content, culture, design, process, user sciences

I’m very well acquainted, too, with scripting problematical,
I understand most coding, both the virtual and the actual,
With hyperscripts pre-processing I’m almost quite fanatical,
With use of query languages and structures programmatical.

I’m very good with IE6 which sometimes floats it’s divs not right,
And fixing widths which break apart is something I will always fight:
In short, with standards on the web accessible or usable,
I am the very model of a modern web developer.

I know our ancient history, from Arpanet through Internet;
I’m familiar with the ways to use extended ascii character sets,
I know to take precautions or to plead with Mitnick to protect
or else the risk from hackers will be quite severe with my defects.

I can recognize Verdana from Helvetica or Arial
And choose the best selection for a web site hierarchical,
Then when needed I’ll employ techniques to substitute my headers all
with styles I’ll replace the text with compressed versions graphical

I’ll give a miss to JavaScript when my site becomes available
Since I never know the user’s agent and the site must be palatable

In short, with standards on the web accessible or usable,
I am the very model of a modern web developer.

In fact, when I know what is meant by “search engine” or “directory”,
When I can tell at sight a text link ad from generosity,
When I note the new activity in search results and Googlery,

And when I know precisely what is meant by web security,

When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern searchery,
When I know more of searching than my mother with her knittery,
In short, when I have found a means to calculate web strategy,
I am the very model of a modern searcher’s pedigree.

For my web designer knowledge, though I’m plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
Yet still, with standards on the web accessible or usable,
I am the very model of a modern web developer.

For the uninitiated, the Major General song (with the original lyrics) is outlining the extensive education received by this British military man, and towards the end, making note of the fact that he is in fact rather lacking in actual military knowledge.