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Teaching HTML, CSS & XML way back when.
My article on CSS Style Guides, published in the May 2001 issue of Web Techniques Magazine.
I’ve been teaching (X)HTML and CSS for over a decade now and I’ve never ever taught hacks. You know, those little bits of code that many designers use to make their pages look the same in multiple browsers. (Yes, IE is typically the problem in this situation.) Whenever asked I’ve explained that when you use a hack, at some time in the future the problem your "solving" with said hack is going to get fixed and then your hacked page is now broken. Don’t believe me? Check out this article from ars technica about the forthcoming IE8. Here’s just two bits:
Internet Explorer 8 is going to be the most standards-compliant IE yet, but it’s going about it in a way that has some people scratching their heads. With Internet Explorer 8, you have a choice in standards compliance modes. Sound oxymoronic? Shouldn’t there be one standards mode by default? Heck, shouldn’t the only mode be standards mode? Ah, idealism.
When IE8 eventually ships, it will have three rendering modes, two of which are the already familiar "quirks mode" and "(not so) standards mode." In an IE team blog entry, IE Platform Architect Chris Wilson revealed a third mode that can be invoked by developers:
- "Quirks mode" remains the same, and compatible with current content.
- "Standards mode" remains the same as IE7, and compatible with current content.
- If you (the page developer) really want the best standards support IE8 can give, you can get it by inserting a simple <meta> element.
This third mode will use a <meta> tag to specify that a page should use the behavior of a specific browser version. To get IE8 really-standard-this-time-we-mean-it behavior, a page will include an element like <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8" />. That says that a page should use IE8’s behavior—and should use it even in IE9, IE10, or any future version. The first two modes will continue to use the doctype switch to choose between them.
Clear as mud? I thought so. (Read the whole article and it’ll start to make sense, I promise.) Look, just don’t use markup or style hacks. If you feel you "must" in order to get your design to work, adjust your design so that you don’t have to use the hack. You’ll thank me in the long run.
To know more about why styles are disabled on this website visit the
Annual CSS Naked Day website for more information.
Sunday was the tenth anniversary of CSS. So, why isn’t your library’s Web site using it yet?
Tagged with: css
The Yorba Linda Public Library has lists of the “most recently checked-in items updated every hour” and “top 10 Most requested items from our catalog” on their homepage. Great features! (Now, if they’d just get rid of the table-based layout and not embed their CSS in the middle of the markup…)
Tagged with: css
Microsoft has released beta 1 of the Microsoft Expression Web Designer, the follow-up to FrontPage. I’ve installed and played with it a little bit and here’s my initial reactions:
The interface is nice and easily understood after about five minutes of poking around. I especially like the ability to split the screen between code and WYSIWYG editing.
With Microsoft’s “we write good clean code now” push, a validator is included in Expression. The validator does allow you to choose which level of “compatibility” you would like to test against.
The list of validation errors appears below. In this example, since I was validating against XHTML 1.0 Transitional, it did tell me that the legacy FrontPage Webbot in my code may cause problems. Bravo!
The menu-based CSS editing will take me a bit of getting used to since I’m comfortable writing CSS by hand. I can see this being very useful to someone new to CSS.
The new “Optimize HTML” feature seems useful but I’ve not played with it yet.
Expression’s “Preview in Browser” feature is flexible. It auto-detects which browsers are on your computer and you can set up different preview types including multiple browsers in a specific resolution.
Expression still works with servers that have the FrontPage extensions installed but it doesn’t seem to have a built in FTP and/or SFTP client allowing me to easily access sites on non-FrontPage servers. (I’ve got just one site I work on that is still on a FrontPage server.) I’m not planning on moving from HTML-Kit to Expression until I see what the actual cost will be (or maybe if I get it for free as part of some Office upgrade). Overall though, it does seem to be leaps and bounds ahead FrontPage and Microsoft deserves kudos for this product.
Two weeks ago I used my book XHTML & CSS Essentials for Library Web Design as a workshop text for the first time. As a result a few new typos were found. (Mostly as a result of copy/paste.) Corrections can be found in the errata section of the book’s Web page.
Tagged with: css
This past week in Iowa I presented “What Can U Plug Into a USB” six times in two locations. (PPT available soon, I left it on my laptop at home.) The photo shows all of the items I had with me to pass around. (The version in flickr contains notes naming everything for those interested.) For the attendees of the sessions I ran a contest to guess which of the items presented were fictitious. I don’t know who won yet, but I did promise to post the answer here…
There was only one fictitious device in my presentaion and that was the George Foreman iGrill. Yes, everything else I showed was real, believe it or not, including the lava lamp.
As soon as Michelle lets me know who won the copy of XHTML and CSS Essentials for Library Web Design I’ll post that information to the blog.
Also, I have scheduled a WebLive version of this presentation through BCR for the morning of Friday, September 29th, 2006. Watch the BCR site for registration information. (Everyone is welcome, but seats are limited so BCR members will receive priority registration.)
One other note for those that were wondering about my trip home: I did make it to the airport on time to check in for my flight but due to the VERY stormy weather, we didn’t end up taking off until 8:10pm. Pictures of the storm and all of the other pictures from the trip can be found in my flickr account.