Exploring the Google Cloud Functions Environment

I’ve been having a great deal of fun recently playing with Google’s Firebase cloud service. In particular, the Google Cloud Functions are pretty amazing. Yes, I’m aware of AWS Lambda, and I’ve written code for it while working for Instructure, (which I assume is still being used in production today). However, Amazon’s Lambda is a huge pain to get working. Well actually, it’s more accurate to say that API gateway is the painful part. Firebase Functions, on the other hand, are a breeze.
Anyway, the whole idea with serverless functions is that you don’t have to worry about the machine. Just push your code, pick your CPU and memory requirements, and you’re good to go. However, in practice, it can often be handy to know a little more about the environment. For example, I wanted to know if the bzip2 command was available. Of course, that got me wondering what else might be available, or missing. So, I wrote a little scfuncon to give me this information.
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When a Site Just Isn’t Accessible.

When I come across a web site that isn’t accessible, I usually just leave. However, if I really want to access that site, I can often do so through the mobile interface, assuming it is available.

This work around isn’t perfect, as the mobile site almost never has all the content or features of the main site. However, limited access is better than no access at all.

The other, more serious problem I encounter when using this hack is caused by some sites that recognize that I’m using a browser on a PC. It is possible to fool the server, but it’s not easy.

The fact that this work around exists is of course no excuse for not making your main site accessible. However, if your main site is inaccessible, and you have a mobile version of your site, at the very least, don’t block it from being able to be viewed in Firefox or IE.

Remember also that a mobile site is no substitute for making your main site accessible, unless it simply isn’t feasible, you provide as much content and functionality as possible on the mobile site, and you place a prominant link directing users with accessibility needs to the alternate site.

Finally, just because a site works on a mobile device doesn’t mean that it is accessible, though the odds are much greater that it will be. Nevertheless, the standard web accessibility advice and guidelines still apply.

Welcome to the Blog

Thanks for stopping by. I apologize for all the rough edges. I’m still working on the site, so don’t be surprised if the look of things change a little over the next several days.

I started this blog primarily because I wanted to have a convenient place to post all of my accessibility tips and advice, so that’s primarily what you will be seeing in the coming months. I will also highlight other useful articles and services I come across, as well as post the occasional tutorial or how-to.

If you have any suggestions for the layout or content, please don’t hesitate to post them below.

Thank you again, and I hope you find something useful here.