Category Archives: computers

The invisible human world behind websites

In web design the colours and design of various elements are controlled by a programming language called CSS.  Colours can be represented by a variety of formats; hexadecimal (#bada55), red green blue alpha (rgba(102, 51, 153, 0.87);), hue saturation lightness (hsl(270, 50%, 40%)) or by names such as red, blue, lightcyan etc.

I wanted a purple so I start typing purple in my editor of choice [brackets] and  3 options appear; purple, mediumpurple and rebeccapurple…rebeccapurple?….  who is Rebecca?
A quick search brought the answer.  The following is from a communication from the people who standardise the internet w3.org.

… it is suggested to add the named color ‘rebeccapurple’, for value #663399, to CSS Color Level 4. This is a tribute to Eric Meyer’s daughter who recently passed away and a mark of support from all the Web community to Eric. I requested to ping Eric to be absolutely sure he is ok with this; he responded “he was honored by the gesture, and would love to accept it”.

Some implementors (Mozilla, Apple, Google and Microsoft) have already said they will implement and ship the new value.

Eric Meyer is one of the godfathers of the modern internet and has provided free education to people working in the field for decades. His daughter was only 6 years old when she died.  Purple was her favourite colour.

I find it incredibly touching and beautiful that hidden away in the code that builds the websites we view exist these testaments to our humanity.